Sony appears to finally be ending its longstanding holdout against allowing cross-play compatibly with other gaming consoles.
This morning, President and Global CEO of Sony Interactive entertainment, John Kodera, stated in a blog post that a cross-play beta will launch today, using Fortnite as the first game to support cross-play compatibility for the PlayStation 4.
“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”, Kodera wrote. “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.”
There are still many unknowns as to the details of the PlayStation 4’s cross-play functionality, as well as how the Fortnite beta will work. But, according to Kodera’s post, Sony “will update the community once [they] have more details to share, including more specifics regarding the beta timeframe, and what this means for other titles going forward.”
The long-overdue news comes just months after Nintendo’s announcement that the company would be committed to providing cross-platform play for Switch games, not to mention the light-hearted trolling of Sony that took place between Nintendo and Microsoft when Minecraft became cross-play compatible. With Fortnite’s joining in on the action as well, it was really only a matter of time before Sony joined in on cross-platform play.
One would hope that it was the voice and desire of the gaming community that led to Sony’s decision to allow cross-play. However, Kodera’s blog post comes off as pretty business-centric in terms the company’s decision-making process.
“For 24 years, we have strived to deliver the best gaming experience to our fans by providing a uniquely PlayStation perspective. Today, the communities around some games have evolved to the point where cross-platform experiences add significant value to players. In recognition of this, we have completed a thorough analysis of the business mechanics required to ensure that the PlayStation experience for our users remains intact today, and in the future, as we look to open up the platform.”
Ultimately, this is exciting news for gamers, especially for those wanting to play online with their friends who own different consoles. Starting off with Fortnite – a game that has already been successful in its cross-play functionality – is the right first move for Sony. It will be interesting to hear what other games might be in works for cross-play compatibility on the PlayStation 4.