Much to the displeasure of its fans, Sony is well-known for its adamant blocking of cross-platform features, with the latest victim being Fortnite: Battle Royale on the Nintendo Switch. A former developer has now spoken out about the decision, stating it’s, unsurprisingly, all about money.
Sony’s controversial decision to lock its platform down has met the headlines multiple times in the past, most notably when Epic Games “accidentally” switched on cross-play for players of Fortnite: Battle Royale on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. While fans had previously believed that Sony’s aversion to cross-platform practice was due to technical limitations, the company went on record to state it was more about logistics.
Jim Ryan, head of PlayStation global sales and marketing, told Eurogamer back in 2017 that Sony first had to conduct a “a commercial discussion between ourselves and other stakeholders,” as well as consider the repercussions of allowing its younger user base to be exposed to communities out of its control.
Fortnite once again revived the debate with its launch on the Nintendo Switch, post-E3. Players who had previously used their account on a PlayStation 4 were prevented from transferring their account over to the Switch, forced to create a new account if they wished to continue.
John Smedley, former head of Planetside 2 and Daybreak Games, has since elaborated on the “dumb reason” as to why Sony is adamant on locking things down tightly in a now-deleted tweet. “The stated reason internally for this was money. They didn’t like someone buying something on Xbox and it being used on a PlayStation. Simple as that.”
When someone buys cosmetics in a game they’re playing on console, the manufacturer, or rather the company that maintains the online services, gets a 30 percent cut of the revenue. Sony prevents players from system hopping in order to avoid Xbox and Nintendo seeing added revenue from the purchase of cosmetics before players run the game on PlayStation 4.
if we keep the pressure up this problem goes away. https://t.co/jUjB2Qv2hj
— John Smedley (@j_smedley) June 18, 2018
Given that Sony has stated it is “always open to hearing what the PlayStation community is interested in to enhance their gaming experience,” Smedley encourages players to continue pressuring Sony about the potential policy change.
KitGuru Says: At the very least, the broader player base provided by people on multiple platforms would help drive the sales of more games on its console, therefore balancing the loss of cosmetics to some degree. Given how much profit cosmetics generate, however, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Would you like to see Sony more open to cross-platform play?