The recent backlash against Sony for blocking players who tried to play Fortnite Battle Royale on multiple platforms (including the PlayStation 4) from accessing their Epic accounts is so hot you need to wear oven mitts when scrolling through Twitter or Reddit.
The silver lining to this controversy is that it’s once again opened the conversation about cross-platform play between Sony’s console and its two main competitors, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. More specifically, it brings up a probing question: Why is Sony so against cross-platform play with the other two consoles, especially in games like Rocket League and Fortnite, whose publishers have given the okay to bring the three consoles together?
The former president of Sony Online Entertainment, John Smedley, recently weighed in on the issue on Twitter, saying that when he “was at Sony, the stated reason internally for this was money. They didn’t like someone buying something on an Xbox and it being used on a PlayStation. Simple as that. Dumb reason, but there it is.”
In other words, it sounds like Sony is concerned that players would go elsewhere for their multiplatform titles or, at the very least, consumers would be less concerned with staying on the same console as their friends.
PlayStation global sales and marketing head Jim Ryan’s previous comments on cross-play covered a wide range of excuses, from commercial reasons to the notion that, with games like Minecraft that have younger player bases, Sony must protect the children from the evil Xbox One and Switch users. However, as Sony pointed out in its non-response to the recent Fortnite controversy, PlayStation 4 players can already party up with PC and mobile players in that particular game, so it’s obviously not that concerned with protecting the children if it’s exposing them to PC players. (Just kidding, PC players. Sort of.)
The cruel irony is that we know that cross-play between Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is possible in Fortnite Battle Royale. Back in September 2017, a “configuration issue” let players on both consoles play together. Epic Games quickly “fixed” this issue, even though Xbox boss Phil Spencer later stated he wished that the developer would have kept it on. Even Epic’s CEO thinks that cross-play between all consoles is inevitable; it’s just a matter of Sony giving in to player demand.
Source: VG 24/7