Through Fortnite, console cross-play between Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo is finally possible. SIE Worldwide Studios chairman Shawn Layden has provided additional background on why Sony changed its mind in regards to console cross-play, and has also revealed PlayStation 4’s future with cross-play after Fortnite.
In episode 308 of PlayStation Blogcast, Layden says that despite Sony’s public stance against console cross-play, the company has apparently been considering it for a while. “This is something that has been taking up about 65% of my Twitter feed over the last few months,” Layden said. “Now, enabling cross-play isn’t as simple as flipping a switch and there you go. It’s a very multidimensional attribute or feature.”
According to Layden, Sony has taken so long to reveal console cross-play because it wanted to make sure the feature would even be feasible. The company has been checking to make sure the infrastructure for customer support and in-game messaging would work with other systems, as well as getting the okay from partners. “It’s taken us longer than I would have wanted,” Layden admits. But he adds that he thinks it worked out for the best to announce Sony’s new stance on console cross-play and the start of the Fortnite cross-play beta at the same time.
Layden ended the discussion by reiterating that Sony is approaching the concept of console cross-play as a beta. “Right now, we’re in a beta test program, and when you beta test something you try to reduce the number of variables in the equation.” Layden said. “So right now, Fortnite is beta testing for cross-play. I think that, certainly, once we can prove that this is holding together sturdy and well, I would anticipate seeing other games in this service over time.”
There are most likely other factors at play, but it sounds like Sony is looking to see how console cross-play works out with Microsoft and Nintendo based on how well the feature works with Fortnite. This might hint that Sony hasn’t completely shifted its stance on console cross-play at this moment, and doesn’t want to commit to devoting resources for more cross-play titles, like Minecraft and Rocket League, until it’s positive that doing so would be a step in the right direction.
Fortnite is available for PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, Android, and iOS. The battle royale portion of the game recently introduced plenty of big changes in Season 6.