It’s finally happening. Sony is cracking open the door of cross-play with rival consoles with a Fortnite open beta. A blog post reads in part:
Following a comprehensive evaluation process, SIE has identified a path toward supporting cross-platform features for select third-party content. We recognize that PS4 players have been eagerly awaiting an update, and we appreciate the community’s continued patience as we have navigated through this issue to find a solution.
Fortnite will be the first starting today. You’ll be able to play and buy cosmetics across PlayStation 4, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, and Mac operating systems according to Sony.
While cross-play between consoles and PC has been a thing for a while, cross-play between PS4 and Xbox One hasn’t. And it wasn’t a technical limitation either. Crossplay between the two consoles was “accidentally” activated on Fortnite last year before being quickly deactivated.
Sony goes on to talk about the evolving gaming landscape and their decision to adopt crossplay between other consoles.
Today, the communities around some games have evolved to the point where cross-platform experiences add significant value to players. In recognition of this, we have completed a thorough analysis of the business mechanics required to ensure that the PlayStation experience for our users remains intact today, and in the future, as we look to open up the platform.
Fortnite is only the beginning. Sony also mentions they will update the PlayStation community about what this policy change “means for other titles going forward.” Rocket League would be an obvious game to take advantage of Sony’s new stance on cross-play.
Best case scenario, cross-play comes to almost every game. Which has a couple of big implications. The obvious is community-based. Games that might otherwise have low populations would instantly get a big bump. Great for your more niche games.
There’s also eSports to consider. Publishers are always looking for ways to take tap into the growing market. With cross-play, publishers could open up tournaments across consoles – at least for the online portion.
The walls between consoles are crashing down, and it’s the players who will benefit the most.