Why Sony Is Changing Its Mind About Cross-Play

Characters duke it out in Fortnite.

It's taken Sony quite a long time to come around to the idea of cross-platform play but, according to SIE Worldwide Studios Chariman Shawn Layden, getting here has been quite an involved process. With more games getting cross-platform play on other consoles, Layden said the heat was on to finally make an announcement for PlayStation 4. Still, he admits there was a lot of work to do just to get to this point.

This is something that has been taking up about 65 percent of my Twitter feed over the last few months. Now, enabling cross-play isn't as simple as flipping a switch and there you go. It's a very multidimensional attribute or feature.

This news comes to us from the latest PlayStation Blogcast (via Gamespot), where Shawn Layden spoke with the crew about the process of bringing cross-platform play to PlayStation, and why it has taken so long. According to Layden, there are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to letting players enjoy their games with players on other consoles, adding that it isn't as easy as flipping a switch. That contradicts what the team at Psyonix said a couple of years ago. The team behind Rocket League stated that they had done a lot of the work behind the scenes already, saying that a green light from Sony was the only thing preventing them from making it so Xbox One and PlayStation 4 gamers could hit the pitch together.

I take this to mean that Layden wasn't talking strictly about the development side of thing. Sure, you've got to make sure things like messaging and the like work between different platforms, but there's also the financial side of things to consider. If you set up your Epic account to play Fortnite on the Switch, for instance, and then you pop onto your PS4 to continue playing and buy some in-game skins, does Nintendo or Sony get a cut of those funds?

It's also worth noting that folks have been able to play games like Minecraft, Fortnite and Rocket League across the Xbox One, Switch, Mobile and PC for a while now and. But if they figured out how to make this kind of online gaming work, it's hard to imagine what the hold-up has been for Sony on the technical side of things.

While Fortnite is the test run for Sony, Layden goes on to say that more games (but not Fallout 76, sadly) could get cross-platform play in the future if everything goes well.

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. 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.

Outside of the three games we've already mentioned, what other games would you like to see finally get cross-play across multiple consoles? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Ryan Winslett

Staff Writer for CinemaBlend.