Sony PlayStation executive Shawn Layden suggested that the company will come up with a solution to the growing cross-play controversy, which escalated after Nintendo Switch players of Fortnite were unable to use their Epic accounts if their PlayStation accounts were already linked. This is a more direct response from Sony’s PlayStation division, which irked several of their customers for barely acknowledging the issue when it arose during the Switch release of Fortnite. No specific solution or timeline was proposed, but Layden wants players to know that Sony is apparently listening to concerns.
Sony understandingly has not disclosed the business reasons on why they restrict any sort of cross-play or even cross-progression between their own console and their competitors, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. Last week, however, a former Sony Online Entertainment executive candidly chalked up Sony’s consumer unfriendly policy to money. To summarize, Sony would not like the idea of Fortnite, Rocket League, and Minecraft players purchasing content on an Xbox and using it on a PlayStation – without a cut of the profit, that is.
Layden’s statement, given to Eurogamer during an interview, isn’t so much of a promise, but it is a tiny step into destroying the wall that is keeping PlayStation 4 users from playing with their Xbox One and Nintendo Switch brethren, or at the very least, the restrictions imposed on Epic accounts linked to PlayStation Network. When asked about the issue at hand, Layden offered the following:
“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.”
Cynical gamers will likely believe that no helpful solution is on the way, and Sony could very well ignore the issue until they believe most Fortnite fans have forgotten about it. But from a more optimistic point of view, Fortnite’s status as possibly the most popular video game at the moment may help to finally move the needle when it comes to cross-play and cross-progression. It certainly hasn’t helped Sony that Nintendo and Microsoft teamed up on a Minecraft advertisement bragging about their ability for cross-play.
Layden mentioned that whatever this solution is will also have to make sense business-wise for Sony, so the company might not be expected to make that many concessions. Players are mainly looking for two things: to play with their Xbox One and Nintendo Switch friends on their PlayStation 4, and for their bought and earned items to be usable between the different systems they own. Such a solution from Sony may only include one of the two. Whatever step Sony takes next, it will be sure to set a precedent for future multi-platform games to come.
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