Sony has been catching heat from players and industry peers alike for its lack of support for cross-platform play with other consoles for some time now. The dissatisfaction spiked yet again following Fortnite’s launch on Nintendo Switch last week when it was revealed that PS4 Fortnite players’ Epic accounts were locked to the system, preventing them from being used on other platforms.
Sony responded to the deluge of complaints by touting the popularity of their console and stating that “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.”
Absent from their statement was a reason for their decision to not play nice with its console brethren, but former Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley offered some insight into the company’s decision. Unsurprisingly, it all boils down to money. “btw when I 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,” said Smedley via Twitter.
Smedley’s comments serve as validation for many players’ feelings that Sony’s financial success during the current console generation is motivating the decision, but some believe that having the issue effect a game with as large a player base as Fortnite could end up forcing Sony to reverse course. “Fortnite is absolutely massive and it’s only going to get bigger – it’s about to come to Android – so Sony has got to start thinking about its closed-garden ecosystem,” GamesRadar+ associate editor Samantha Loveridge told the BBC. Smedley echoed that sentiment, encouraging fans that “if we keep the pressure up this problem goes away.”
The controversy also elicited public responses from executives from both of Sony’s rivals, Xbox and Nintendo. “What competitors do is their decision to make. We believe being both developer-forward and fan-forward is in the best interest of the game,” Nintendo of America head Reggie Fils-Aime told IGN. “Nice to see cross play and progression across Nintendo Switch and Xbox. I know many have a Switch. See you in the [bus],” said Xbox vice president Mike Ybarra via Twitter.