Having resisted for so long, Sony is finally giving in and allowing cross-play on the PS4 “for select third party content”, meaning PlayStation 4 owners will soon get to play the same game against people on competing consoles.
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In a blog post, Sony say:
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.
That path begins today, with an open beta for Fortnite that’ll let PS4 players go up against people on the Xbox One, Switch, PC, Mac and mobile.
In perhaps an admission as to why this has taken so long, when the competition has allowed it for ages, Sony adds that “This represents a major policy change for SIE”, and say there’ll be more information on “other titles going forward” when “we have more details to share”.
It would make sense that it’s been a policy challenge rather than a technical one, since cross-play between PS4 and Xbox One was accidentally turned on last year before being quickly disabled.
Update - 12:06 PM: We’ve reached out to major third-parties to see if their games will start incorporating PS4 into their cross-play offerings. Psyonix, makers of Rocket League, currently allow cross-play between Xbox One, Switch and PC. They sound into it but say we should ask Sony about this. Their statement, from studio vice president Jeremy Dunham: “We are really happy for the PlayStation and Fortnite communities and think that this is a great step forward. We know that Rocket League players and our own community want to know what this means for them as well, but we don’t have any updates at the moment. In the meantime, we recommend reaching out to PlayStation directly for any further comment.”
We’ve asked Sony and will keep readers posted about any cross-console multiplayer news that we hear.
Update - 2:19 PM: Asked about possible cross-console play for Rocket League a host of other games, a Sony rep told Kotaku: “...we have no plans to announce at this point, but our goal remains to take a more open stance with cross-platform support that’s aligned with our mission to deliver the best consumer experience.”
And here’s an Activision-Blizzard rep, replying to questions about any plans for Destiny and Black Ops cross-platform play with PlayStation (and presumably our Overwatch and Diablo inquiries, which were posed to Blizzard PR, as well): “We’ve had a great experience with cross-play for Hearthstone on other platforms and have witnessed how compelling it can be for our community. There’s still a lot of work to do on both our side and the platform side to understand whether cross-play might be integrated into our other games, so we’ll be watching the upcoming test and will assess what the potential impact of this feature would be for our players and our games.”
Take Two had nothing to share at this time regarding its 2K games. Same with Microsoft re: Minecraft. Here’s a rep for Microsoft: “We would love to bring players on PlayStation 4 into our Minecraft ecosystem as well, but have nothing further to share at this time.””