The REAL Reason Sony Caved On PS4 Cross-Platform Play

Nintendo, PlayStation, Xbox and PC, together at last!

Fortnite Cross Platform
Epic Games

On September 26th, Sony announced they will be enabling cross-platform play, progression, and commerce for Fortnite players across all consoles, including the Xbox One. This is in response to mounting pressure following the June 12th release of the Nintendo Switch version of Fortnite that allowed cross-platform play with the Xbox One - something Nintendo and Microsoft teamed up to promote. This added further frustration for PlayStation owners, who wanted to know why it wasn't happening for them.

There are a few of reasons that Sony have publicly made about the lack of cross-platform play on the PlayStation 4. Their stance on the possibility of it being introduced has been varied, however, making statements that appeared to reject the concept altogether, where others sound open to it.

Fortnite Battle Royale
Epic Games

Last year, Sony said they would not be allowing players of Minecraft on PlayStation 4 to cross with users on other consoles, citing the inability to guarantee the safe experience of all users, especially considering the young installation base of that game. Xbox division boss, Phil Spencer rejected this statement, suggesting it was an unhealthy comment to be making for all involved, also saying that Microsoft was happy to see other consolers succeed alongside them through cross-platform gaming.

In the summer of last year, Jim Ryan, head of marketing and global sales commented, ‘We’ve done it in the past. We’re always open to conversations with any developer or publisher who wants to talk about it. Unfortunately it’s a commercial discussion between ourselves and other stakeholders’. This is certainly more hopeful than the previous statement, but the concerns here surround the financial aspects of introducing cross-platform action, as opposed to the safety reasoning given earlier.

At the end of August, at the IFA technology show in Berlin, Sony gave a new reason, concerning the quality of gaming on PlayStation. According to the Press Association, Sony chief executive Kenichiro Yoshia claimed, “On cross-platform, our way of thinking is always that PlayStation is the best place to play. Fortnite, I believe, partnered with PlayStation 4 is the best experience for users, that’s our belief”.

Outside of the statements made by Sony, there is another key reason why they hadn’t introduced it just yet. Sony is currently the most popular console to play on. By the end of 2017, Microsoft had sold around 30 million consoles, whereas Sony had sold roughly 73 million (although Microsoft had claimed these statistics were inaccurate).

From a financial standpoint ,Sony were winning and did not need to introduce cross-platform play to attract new players.

Rocket League
Psyonix

Sony has been triumphant in 2018 as well, with the successful launch of two huge PlayStation exclusives, God of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man. It’s genuinely quite surprising that they have given in to pressure and enabled it in Fortnite. Sony claim that they now understand some game communities see the cross-platform experience as adding ‘significant value’.

Hopefully, this major change is policy will see the introduction of cross-platform play to other games, the first of which should probably be Rocket League.

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