Over the last year or so, Sony has repeatedly come under fire for failing to allow cross-platform play (cross-play) on PS4. While players on other consoles such as the Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch have been able to play alongside and against each other, PS4 players have been limited to playing among themselves or with PC players only.
It seems that the backlash and the demands from fans have gotten the platform holder to change its mind, though, as today the company announced that PS4 would be getting cross-play in a limited capacity. Writing on the PlayStation Blog, Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO John Kodera explains that "SIE has identified a path toward supporting cross-platform features for select third party content."
The first game to get cross-play support is Fortnite. Beginning today, Fortnite players can take part in the cross-play open beta which will allow "cross platform gameplay, progression and commerce across PlayStation 4, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, and Mac operating systems." It will also allow Sony to conduct "thorough testing" of the feature, says Kodera.
Fortnite seems like a smart choice for testing out cross-play. Not only does the game have more than 100 million players and therefore plenty of people to take part in the open beta test, but it has also been at the center of some of cross-play debate. When Fortnite launched on Nintendo Switch earlier this year, fans were outraged that their Epic Games accounts wouldn't work on the Switch if they had been used on PS4. This, along with the lack of cross-play between the two consoles, gave rise to some very strong words from players.
And although this is a big win for proponents of the feature it's important to stress that the floodgates haven't opened fully just yet. Kodera also notes that the enabling of cross-play represents a "major policy change" for the company and SIE is "now in the planning process across the organization to support this change." As such, there are additional details to be worked out regarding the Fortnite cross-play beta and cross-play in other games.
Several game developers are rearing to go on this feature, including Rocket League developer Psyonix and The Elder Scrolls developer Bethesda, both of which have publicly supported cross-play and have called for Sony to change its stance. However, there are still some steps to be taken before these devs can formally enable PS4 cross-play so fans will have to wait it out until then.
Source: PlayStation Blog