After much outrage, Fortnite is finally getting PS4 crossplay across Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, iOS, Android, Windows PC, and Mac. Sony announced the news on the official PlayStation blog. What this means is PS4 Fortnite players can finally play Fortnite with those on the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One. Previously, Fortnite PS4 crossplay was limited to PC, Android, and iOS. In fact less than a month ago, Sony CEO Kenchiro Yoshida stated that Fortnite PS4 crossplay won’t exist due to PlayStation being the superior platform.
However it seems that Sony is anticipating issues regarding Fortnite PS4 crossplay. Reason being, it’s being termed as an ‘extended beta’.
The first step will be an open beta beginning today for Fortnite that will allow for cross platform gameplay, progression and commerce across PlayStation 4, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, and Mac operating systems,” wrote John Kodera, President and Global CEO, Sony Interactive Entertainment.
“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.”
This is a remarkable turn of events considering that Sony’s stance on the matter has been far from receptive.
At IFA 2018, Sony CEO Kenchiro Yoshida explained why the PS4 won’t be getting Fortnite cross-platform play with the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One any time soon. Cross-platform play means those playing Fortnite on PS4, Xbox One, PC, iOS and even Android could play against and with each other, regardless of platform. He believes that the PS4 has the best user experience and that should not be compromised by other consoles. His statement comes after a period of hostility from sections of the gaming community due to the absence of Fortnite cross-platform play between PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch versions of the game.
“On cross-platform, our way of thinking is always that PlayStation is the best place to play. Fortnite, I believe, partnered with PlayStation 4 is the best experience for users, that’s our belief,” he said according to Independent.
In addition to this, he added that PC, iOS, and Android Fortnite cross-platform play exists with the PS4 version of the game as it results in a better user experience.
“But actually, we already opened some games as cross-platform with PC and some others, so we decide based on what is the best user experience. That is our way of thinking for cross-platform,” he said.
Back in June, PlayStation boss Shawn Layden suggested that Sony was looking for was to incorporate cross-platform play.
At the Gamelab conference in Spain, he was asked if Fortnite PS4 crossplay would be a reality.
“We’re hearing it. We’re looking at a lot of the possibilities. You can imagine that the circumstances around that affect a lot more than just one game. I’m confident we’ll get to a solution which will be understood and accepted by our gaming community, while at the same time supporting our business,” Layden said to Eurogamer.
Furthermore, an internal report suggesting crossplay was on the way was leaked. In addition to this, it may also bring the option to let users change their PSN ID names, and even bring the previously rumoured PS Now download function to the PS4 as well. According to the report acquired by gaming blog The Loot Gaming, all of these features could make it to the PS4 by the end of the fiscal year citing flagging console sales as a reason for this.
“Sony is listening. An internal report has indicated that by the end of this fiscal year, April 2019, console crossplay will come to PS4. There are two reasons behind it. One is that console sales are going to decline; despite PS4’s continuing success, we are nearing the end of the generation. Crossplay is expected to be the norm going forward. By activating it now, Sony has nothing to lose. The PS4 software line up will continue to introduce new buyers to the ecosystem and crossplay will be used as a mechanism to keep them rather than as a reason for people to leave,” writes The Loot Gaming’s Adam Llewellyn.
Nonetheless, there’s no clarity on whether user progress and items like skins would carry over from the PS4 to other platforms. Hopefully this is the case as well.