The console wars have notoriously been brutal throughout history. Ever since “Genesis does what Nintendon’t”, competing console companies have worked hard to ensure that they’re staying on top of their rivals. Since the sixth generation of console gaming, the two biggest competitors in their field have been Sony and Microsoft; although Nintendo has remained relevant throughout, the Japanese giant isn’t really competing on the same level as the two titans mentioned above.
Even though Sony and Microsoft have been competing for many years (despite Microsoft’s recent moves away from direct competition), that same sense of eternal battle doesn’t necessarily apply to the gamers themselves. While many fans of both PlayStation and Xbox like to argue bitterly in comments sections and on forums, others simply want to play games with one another despite their differences in platform. The question, then, becomes thus: can PS4 and Xbox play together?
The answer is somewhat complicated. In short, the answer to “can PS4 and Xbox play together” is “it depends”. Some games support total crossplay between the platforms, meaning that no matter which platform you’re on, you’ll be able to buddy up with players from other platforms and play games with them with no impediments whatsoever. The situation for others is a little more complicated; some only partially support crossplay, while others are completely incompatible with the feature.
The good news is that many of the most popular multiplayer games right now fully support crossplay. Games such as Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, Fortnite, and Minecraft allow you to partner up and play with whoever you like, no matter what platform they’re on. Other games such as Smite, Spellbreak, and DiRT 5 also support crossplay between platforms, so if you’re on PS4 and you’ve got a buddy on Xbox with whom you want to play, you can do that.
Other games have more limited crossplay support. Some of these titles are not actually being released on Xbox, which means that PS4 naturally won’t be able to enjoy crossplay with Xbox players on those titles. Games such as Aliens: Fireteam Elite, War Thunder, and Watch Dogs Legion (the latter of which will be getting full crossplay support later in 2021) also don’t support PS4 and Xbox crossplay, so you’ll only be able to play with those on the same platform as you, as well as PC.
There’s also a small handful of games that support crossplay on other platforms, but don’t support it on PS4. If you’re playing Ark: Survival Evolved, Next Up Hero, or Sniper Elite V2 Remastered on PS4, you won’t be able to play them with other players on different platforms, even as they’re enjoying the benefits of cross-platform multiplayer. It’s unfair, but them’s the breaks. You can see a full list of all the games that support PS4 crossplay (or don’t) right here (thanks, PSU).
Part of the reason that Sony might not like to answer the question “can PS4 and Xbox play together” is simply because the company is notorious for not wanting to implement crossplay into many of its games. For a long time, Sony didn’t play ball when it came to crossplay, and the reason appears to be financial. In 2018, Sony finally broke on this issue, but only if developers agreed to pay a certain amount in compensation based on how much a game earned on other platforms versus on PlayStation.
That means that if you want to play a game with your buddies and it’s not available via crossplay on PlayStation, you’ve likely got Sony to blame. Other companies such as Microsoft and Nintendo are eager to allow their gamers to play with PlayStation fans, but Sony still seems recalcitrant. Happily, the situation is changing; Sony is supporting crossplay on more and more games, meaning that the chances are if you want to play a game crossplay with your friends, you’ll be able to.
Given that Sony is going to be supporting the PS5 far more than it will be focusing on PS4 in the future, you can expect the list of PS4 games that support crossplay with Xbox to remain relatively stagnant. The list of PS5 games that support it, however, is only going to grow exponentially. Expect the PS5 to be the place to go if you want to play games with your buddies on other platforms, including Xbox (and, of course, Nintendo Switch and PC).
Sony has nothing to lose and everything to gain when it allows gamers to crossplay with one another (in our opinions, at least). Here’s hoping that the PlayStation titan keeps its focus on helping gamers come together and play with one another rather than keeping them at arm’s length if they happen to play on Xbox. We know we’re all about the PS4 here, but let’s face it – any initiative that lets more people play games together has to be good, right? Here’s to crossplay!