Besides differences in networking technology, there has always been one thing holding us back from having true crossplay across all three major console gaming platforms: legal liability. If a Nintendo player threatens a Sony player online, there’s not a lot Sony can do to stop it. At least, not right now.
But that might be about to change. All three major players in home consoles, including Sony, Xbox, and Nintendo, have agreed to a new set of rules that will make gaming safer for everyone and might one day lead to true crossplay.
“All players deserve to have fantastic social gaming experiences in settings where respect and safety are mutual,” wrote Xbox vice president Dave McCarthy in a message announcing the new partnership. “At Xbox, we are aligned with both Nintendo, on behalf of the community of Nintendo Switch players, and PlayStation in our belief that protecting players online requires a multidisciplinary approach – one that combines the benefits of advanced technology, a supportive community, and skilled human oversight.”
McCarthy explains that this new trilateral partnership is built on three principles: Prevention, Partnership, and Responsibility. Prevention means ensuring players and parents can control their gaming experience with easy-to-use safety features like chat filters to “thwart improper conduct and content before a player is subject to harm.” The partnership means that all three major publishers will team up with industry regulators, law enforcement, and trade organizations to help make rules and enforce them, notifying local law enforcement whenever they believe “a player is at risk of imminent harm.”
Responsibility is Nintendo, Xbox, and Sony’s commitment to making it easy to report violations and for all three to take enforcement actions, “including restricting players from using our services for misconduct.” This sentence sure makes it sound like getting banned on one platform could result in a ban on all three.
This new partnership is certainly welcome news, especially given how some gamers throw out death threats like it’s not a deeply disturbing action. Just ask CD Projekt Red on that one.
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