One of the hot topics of the year has been cross-platform play. Not because the topic is all that new or some revolutionary thing to take place in gaming, but because of the reasons as to why it's not a thing. Well, Epic Games made a slight booboo when it came to the latest update to Fortnite that allowed for cross-play between PS4 and Xbox One owners... albeit, briefly.
The news spread all over social media services, including having several threads on Reddit where gamers posted screenshots and stories of having interacted with other players from other consoles while playing Fortnite.
However, Epic Games informed Polygon that it was all a mistake; the cross-platform play between Xbox One and PS4 platforms was a mistake.
In a statement sent to Polygon, a representative for the company stated the following...
We had a configuration issue and it has now been corrected.
The amazing thing about it is that Fortnite is running on the Unreal Engine 4, which affords for cross-platform compatibility right out of the box, just like split-screen functionality. The developers have to remove code for split-screen play and cross-platform compatibility, which is what ended up happening after the issue was brought to Epic's attention.
Head honcho of the Xbox brand, Phil Spencer, was slightly disappointed at the turn of events, noting on Twitter that he would have preferred if Epic had kept the mode in.
The thing is, Microsoft may be advocating for cross-platform play, and Nintendo may have given a head-nod to allow cross-platform play as well, but the big hold-up isn't the hardware, the software, the technology, or the developers. The hold is Sony.
Developers such as Psyonix have come out publicly stating that cross-play is already built in and ready for games like Rocket League, but Sony has not given the studio the green light in enabling the mode. The exact same thing just happened recently with Fortnite, only this time the game's cross-platform configuration was left on as Epic continues to fix the game up during the early access phase of development.
This isn't too surprising from Sony, though. Given that the electronics giant is now the market leader the world around, it can flex its muscles with these kind of restrictions. Microsoft did the same thing during seventh gen when it was leading in the U.S., behind the Wii, denying cross-platform compatibility save for between a few Xbox 360 and PC games.
Now that the shoe is on the other foot, a lot of gamers are peeved at the political posturing happening within gaming. Nevertheless, this doesn't completely rule out cross-platform play. Sony, at some point in the future, might alter the policies and finally allow developers like Epic to turn on the feature for games like Fortnite.