In a recent interview with Game Informer, the chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios said that the company was “open for business” when it comes to cross-play between PlayStation 4 and other consoles. The makers of games like Smite and Wargroove say that’s not the case.
“People keep saying, ‘Why doesn’t Sony allow more people to have it,’” Sony’s Shawn Layden told Game Informer. “All it takes is for publishers and developers who wish to permission it. As ever, just work with your PlayStation account manager, and they will walk you through the steps that we’ve learned through our partnership with Epic on how this works. I don’t believe right now there is any gating factor on that. I think they’re open to make proposals, because the Fortnite thing worked pretty well.”
Finn Brice, the CEO of Chucklefish, which developed and published the recent Advance Wars-inspired hit Wargroove, took issue with Layden’s characterization in a thread about the interview on the gaming forum ResetEra.
“We made many requests for crossplay (both through our account manager and directly with higher ups) all the way up until release month,” Brice wrote. “We were told in no uncertain terms that it was not going to happen.”
Wargroove is currently available, with cross-play, on Switch, Xbox One, and PC. The game is slated to launch later this year on PlayStation 4. Brice added that while it might be more complicated from a policy standpoint on PlayStation’s part, for Chucklefish, implementing cross-play is as easy as flipping a switch, something people have speculated about ever since Fortnite maker Epic Games accidentally enabled cross-play between Xbox One and PS4 back in September of 2017. That was a full year before Sony announced it would allow cross-play for Fortnite on PS4 as part of a new beta program.
“Just wanted to provide some balance on the issue and say that it certainly isn’t a question of developers having not contacted their account managers or having dropped the ball,” Brice wrote. “We were told no.”
Wargroove isn’t the only game in this situation. Stewart Chisam, the CEO of Hi-Rez Studios, makers of Smite, Paladins, and Realm Royale, tweeted at Sony last Friday about the issue. Cross-play for Smite was enabled earlier today on everything but PS4. “It’s time to stop playing favorites and tear down the crossplay/progression wall for everyone,” he wrote. “We have Smite, Paladins, Realm Royale ready to go when you are.”
So far, Fortnite and Rocket League are the only games with cross-play on PS4. Sony did not immediately respond to a request for comment explaining what the current process is for getting cross-play approved on PS4.
Minecraft, owned by Microsoft, is another obvious candidate for cross-play with PS4, something Microsoft has said in the past it would love to see happen. However, since PlayStation’s cross-play beta began, there hasn’t been any news that it’s any closer to happening. Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.
Despite Layden’s recent remarks, it remains unclear when PS4’s cross-play library will grow beyond two games—or if indeed it is actually possible for developers to simply “walk through the steps” to make it happen.