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Former Sony exec: Money is likely holding back ‘Fortnite’ crossplay

Fortnite – Battle Royale Announce Trailer | PS4

Epic Games’ Fortnite offers crossplay support on all platforms, allowing console, mobile, and PC players to compete against each other instead of keeping communities separate, but it isn’t quite as open as many players would like. Sony currently blocks crossplay on PlayStation 4 with Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, and according to a former executive at the company, this is only due to money.

Speaking on Twitter, former Sony Online Entertainment (now Daybreak Game Company) president John Smedley said that during his time at Sony, the “stated reason internally” for disabling crossplay in PlayStation 4 games was because the company didn’t want to lose out on console sales.

“They didn’t like someone buying something on an Xbox and it being used on a PlayStation,” Smedley said. “Simple as that. Dumb reason, but there it is.”

The recent renewal of controversy surrounding this issue began when the Nintendo Switch version of Fortnite released during E3 2018. Players who had previously loaded up the game on their PlayStation 4 were alerted that their current Epic Games account was incompatible, and they were forced to make a new one in order to play on the Switch. This issue isn’t seen on the PC, Mac, iOS, or even the Xbox One, and Xbox chief Phil Spencer has criticized Sony for its stance in the past. Even Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé chimed in, stressing that Nintendo supports crossplay but Sony’s decision is out of his hands.

Perhaps the greatest strides toward platform-ambiguous online play has come from Minecraft. The game’s “Bedrock Engine” was revealed during E3 2017 and allows Xbox One, PC, Switch, iOS, Apple TV, Kindle Fire, Gear VR, and Oculus Rift players to join each other online. The PlayStation 4 is left out of the fun, and when we asked Mojang about this last year, we were told that it was Sony that was keeping the platform from other players.

Fortnite is currently available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch, and iOS. An Android version will arrive later this summer, and we’re sure there are still a few people holding out for a PlayStation Vita port.

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Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
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