Earlier this week, Sony finally jumped on board with the idea of cross-platform play, making Fortnite: Battle Royale the first game in history to be interchangeably playable across all three major console distributors. It seems that fans aren’t the only ones unhappy with how long it took Sony to push the feature on PS4, as PlayStation Worldwide Studios boss Shawn Layden addresses why in the firm’s latest podcast.
Previously, reasons for Sony’s apprehension to embrace cross-platform play were steeped in the company believing that PlayStation 4 was definitively the best place to play, while ex-Sony executive John Smedley blamed the firm’s iron grip on microtransaction profits. Layden has since elaborated that while the company knows that this is a highly sought feature, “enabling cross-play isn’t just about flipping a switch. It’s a very multi-dimensional kind of attribute or feature.
In the case of Fortnite: Battle Royale, however, this is distinctly wrong. Developer Epic Games accidentally flipped that exact switch at the end of 2017, enabling cross-platform play between PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. What Layden means is that it is less of a technological issue and more logistics with Sony wanting to “deliver that in the best way possible.”
“So we had to look at it from a technical point of view, we have to work with our partners from a business point of view, we have to make sure that if we enable this, do we have the right customer service support, do we have the right messaging out there, do we have all these different things that you have to get in line. It’s rather ordinal – they have to go in a certain order to get them all set up,” said Layden.
Although Layden states that it’s taken Sony “longer than even I would have wanted,” he admits that “it took as long as it was going to take to get it ready and get it done.” Fortunately, once discussion had ended, Fortnite’s fully-fledged cross-platform play feature hit beta on PlayStation 4 at the same time as the announcement.
KitGuru Says: It might not be as easy for other games that haven’t made cross-platform play a centre feature from the beginning of development, but it is interesting to speculate what will follow in Fortnite’s footsteps now that Sony is open. What games would you like to see get cross-platform play?