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Microsoft: Sony's comments about Minecraft safety "not healthy for anyone"

Xbox boss Phil Spencer responds to Sony's reasoning for not following Nintendo into cross-platform play

Xbox boss Phil Spencer has responded to Sony's concerns that cross-platform play with Minecraft would present a safety risk to PlayStation owners, telling Giant Bomb that Jim Ryan's comments "[don't] seem healthy for anyone.

In a livestreamed interview yesterday, Spencer discussed the way competition between companies like Sony and Microsoft seems to dominate every E3. Spencer acknowledged that competition plays a role in decision making at Xbox, but that he also wants to make platform decisions "that are good for this industry."

Spencer offered backwards compatibility and cross-platform play as examples of that, and focused on the launch of Minecraft for Switch. "It's not a win lose," he told Giant Bomb founder Jeff Gerstmann. "We can do just fine with other people's consoles succeeding.

"I don't know why that has to become the dialogue. That doesn't seem healthy for anyone"

Phil Spencer

"We're shipping Minecraft on the Switch with Nintendo, and it's great. That's a win-win partnership."

At its E3 press conference, Xbox announced an update for Minecraft that will unify users across PC, console, mobile and VR. The one absentee was PlayStation 4, which will also be absent from cross-platform for Rocket League when it launches on Nintendo Switch later this year.

When asked by Eurogamer about Sony's plans for Minecraft, PlayStation's global marketing boss Jim Ryan said: "We have a contract with the people who go online with us, that we look after them and they are within the PlayStation curated universe. Exposing what in many cases are children to external influences we have no ability to manage or look after, it's something we have to think about very carefully."

When Gerstmann asked about Ryan's comments, Spencer offered to "jump on another grenade" and tackle the issue head on.

"The fact that somebody would make an assertion that somehow we're not keeping Minecraft players safe I found - not only from a Microsoft perspective, but from a game industry perspective - I don't know why that has to become the dialogue," he said. "That doesn't seem healthy for anyone.

"We can always do better with everything we do, but I feel great about our relationship with Minecraft," he continued. "I just really found the whole discussion around safety in our game, and that somehow we wouldn't take that as a top priority... Frankly, through the parental controls on Xbox Live and everything we've done, we've shown that's very important to us as a platform."

Spencer concluded by reiterating that "the door is open" and the goal remains to unify the Minecraft audience. "We would never put Minecraft in a place where we felt like we weren't keeping our players safe," he said.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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