After a prolonged standoff with disappointed Fortnite players, Sony has finally reversed course on cross-play. In a blog post penned by SIE CEO and President John Kodera, Sony announced it would begin supporting cross-play with other platforms for select third-party games. Fortnite will be the first PS4 game to feature full cross-play support. An open beta for the feature kicks off today, September 26.
In explaining Sony’s new approach, Kodera wrote: “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.”
As to why Sony is framing this addition as a “beta,” Kodera explained: “We see the beta as an opportunity to conduct thorough testing that ensures cross-platform play is best on PlayStation, while being mindful about the user experience from both a technical and social perspective.”
It’s nice to see Sony get on board with cross-play, even though it has taken some time for the company to get to this point. On numerous occasions over the past few months, Sony has suggested that PlayStation 4 didn’t need cross-platform play. Considering that Fortnite, the most popular game in the world, has supported cross-play across Xbox One, Switch, PC, and mobile devices for months now, Sony’s previous stance on the matter didn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Kodera acknowledged how times have changed. “Today, the communities around some games have evolved to the point where cross-platform experiences add significant value to players.” Indeed, adding the PlayStation community into the overall Fortnite player pool will add a large swath of new players into the mix.
It’s unclear what other games Sony will include in the new program. One notable possibility is Rocket League. Right now, Rocket League on PS4 supports cross-play with PC but not Xbox One and Switch. Meanwhile, Switch and Xbox One users can play Rocket League together.
Sony promised to provide updates moving forward about its cross-play initiative, so hopefully we’ll start to see more PS4 cross-play support in the near future.