Minecraft, Rocket League, Paladins, and Fortnite. There are a few reasons that these games have hit the mainstream, non-gaming news, from their staggering popularity across the gaming spectrum to their availability across platforms. They're also paving the way to a more collaborative future for gaming, particularly in casual multiplayer, as each game features cross-play in some form.
Unfortunately, the other reason these games are on people's minds today is because PlayStation players don't get the same deal as Xbox and Nintendo Switch owners. Sony has quietly, stubbornly resisted any sort of cross-play between the games on their console and their major home console competitors. With the Nintendo Switch port of Fortnite immediately launching with Xbox account compatibility, the world is starting to take notice that the PlayStation players are getting locked out of a cross-platform community.
Fortnite for Switch landed an hour after its announcement.
The most significant detail that is starting to irritate PlayStation players is that, should they own the game on the Switch and the PlayStation, they cannot transfer their account over to the Switch version of the game — which means they can't bring across any of their progression or cosmetics. They have to start from scratch. With the integration of the Xbox account into the Switch version of the game, however, long-time Xbox players can take all of their hard-earned Fortnite cosmetics over to the Nintendo device.
With players starting to see Sony's stance as holding players "hostage", and with very little clarification as to why Sony continues to stick to their position, PlayStation executives are finally starting to feel the pressure. After all, Rocket League, Paladins, and Minecraft got their cross-play some time after their popularity peak, whereas Fortnite is the biggest game in the world right now — Epic has recently revealed that the player count has grown to 125 million players in its first year. The Nintendo Switch version was only released on Tuesday, but has already seen 2 million downloads according to a Polygon interview with Reggie Fils-Aime, president and chief operating officer of Nintendo of America.
Fortnite is huge enough to attract high profile marketing deals with unique cosmetics... which players want to access from any device.
Although they couldn't get an interview, the BBC did reach out to Sony for a comment and received the below response from an un-named Sony spokeswoman. She highlighted that the game is cross-compatible with mobile devices and PC, but refused to be drawn on console cross-play.
We're always open to hearing what the PlayStation community is interested in to enhance their gaming experience.The fact that PlayStation 4 players have had cross-platform access on mobile devices is somewhat of a salve, but it also suggests that there is no technical reason for PlayStation players to be locked out of console cross-play. In fact, a botched patch release from Epic briefly allowed PlayStation and Xbox players to meet nine months ago, as spotted by an eagle-eyed Redditor.
With... more than 80 million monthly active users on PlayStation Network, we've built a huge community of gamers who can play together on Fortnite and all online titles.
We also offer Fortnite cross-play support with PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices, expanding the opportunity for Fortnite fans on PS4 to play with even more gamers on other platforms.
If Sony decide to clarify their stance on Fortnite crossplay, we will be sure to share it with you.