Despite specifically promising that Share Play would work across the board, Sony confirmed to GameSpot today that publishers can completely disable Share Play for any release. Advanced Warfare is the first notable release to completely disable this feature, but it appears that last year’s Call of Duty: Ghosts has suffered the same fate. This decision completely undermines Share Play, and highlights Sony’s inability to corral unwieldy publishers.
This isn’t the first time Sony has allowed publishers to ride roughshod over its customers. Despite the fact that PS3 games traditionally don’t use region coding, Sony didn’t bat an eye when Atlus decided to region-lock Persona 4 Arena in 2012. Just last year, Sony talked a big game about how consumer-friendly the PS4 is, but the Tokyo-based company refused to take a stand against online passes.
It’s clear now that Sony lacks the fortitude to force publishers to play ball, and its customers suffer because of it. Say what you will about Microsoft, but Redmond doesn’t hesitate to make demands from developers and publishers alike. Take one look at Microsoft’s move towards mandatory achievements and demos on the Xbox 360, and you’ll see why it’s beneficial to ask more from the publishers. Microsoft is certainly not perfect, but it would have been nice if Sony had taken note of the Xbox 360’s finer points.
The fact that Activision jumped at the opportunity to lock down Call of Duty isn’t particularly surprising, but it bodes very poorly for big releases going forward. Will EA, Ubisoft, and 2K follow Activision’s lead here? To that point, I don’t know why Sony even bothered to add this feature at all if the executive team wasn’t going to stand behind it. Wouldn’t the in-house resources have been better spent by implementing a proper suspend mode, or bug-testing the latest firmware update? It’s simply infuriating to see how quickly Sony will sacrifice the PS4’s user experience for a company like Activision.