Microsoft’s XBox and Nintendo’s Switch allow third-party games to engage in multiplayer with those using rival consoles, as well as the PC. Until a few hours ago, Sony did not. The issue had caused some grief before, but it didn’t come to a head until Fortnite began appearing on home systems.
Fortnite players were in for a rude surprise the day they logged in on Switch, then went back to PS4 only to find their login information was invalid. Not only was Sony forbidding cross-platform play, it was restricting any account that was ever used on a PS4 to JUST the PS4. You could make an account on Switch, but if you ever accessed it on a PS4, Sony would yank it out of your hands and claim it as theirs.
This didn’t go over well. Social media burned with complaints; all the popular gaming news websites strongly criticized Sony — who refused to back down. Even when other third parties implied they might skip the PS4 altogether over its lack of cross-platform, Sony stood its ground. Until today, when the surprise announcement came from Japan: PS4 was blinking first, and Fortnite would get its crossplay.
It’s a testament to how powerful Epic Games has become in just one year. Nintendo Switch Online doesn’t apply to Fortnite, nor are you forced to use the “voice chat app” to communicate. Nintendo has a history of demanding its own way, but they cleared a path for Fortnite quickly, recognizing its value (and producing a Fortnite-themed bundle just in time for the holidays). Sony, by contrast, unreasonably demanded the world change instead — and paid the price.
When pressed by the press as to which other games could allow cross-platform play in the future, Sony clammed up, but this time the response wasn’t “never.” Also, any Fortnite account that inadvertently latched itself to Playstation 4 is now free to use on Switch and XBox.