A portion of a 125 million userbase are going to want a real answer
When I talked about the problem with Sony not backing down with cross-play last year with Minecraft(when even Apple and Nintendo were on board), most people laughed it off — “why would Sony work with their arch rival Microsoft and benefit them?” they said. Well, they can’t really laugh off this other bigger cross-play problem.
That game of course is Fortnite, which just launched on Switch. Forniteis the most popular streaming title right now, hosts 125 million players, and nabbed two million of that audience alone on Switch in 24 hours. Switch players can currently connect with every version of the game — except PS4, because of Sony’s cross-play holdup.
But that’s not the worst issue. The one that’s currently making headlines is the account connectivity problem that’s basically screwing tons of Switch players out of items they’ve paid for and their account progress if they want to play on that particular platform. As was discovered shortly after launch, if you ever registered an Epic account and linked it to your PS4, you cannot link it to your Switch. All your stuff is still present on PS4, but can’t be used on Switch — so you’ll have to start all over on Nintendo’s system with a new account even if you have nearly a year’s worth of progress. It’s an abhorrent roadblock that far exceeds cross-play politics, and Sony’s response to it was incredibly tone deaf.
Speaking to the BBC, a Sony rep stated:
We’re always open to hearing what the PlayStation community is interested in to enhance their gaming experience. With more than 80 million monthly active users on PlayStation Network, we’ve built a huge community of gamers who can play together on Fortnite and all online titles. We also offer Fortnite cross-play support with PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices, expanding the opportunity for Fortnite fans on PS4 to play with even more gamers on other platforms. We have nothing further to add beyond this at this point.
Something tells me that when a large portion of the 125 million players come knocking at your door, you’ll need to think of something to add. To make matters even worse, Epic Games “accidentally” enabled FortnitePS4/Xbox One cross-play with the flip of a switch one day and it took people a full day to even notice. The developers of Rocket Leaguehave also claimed that it would only take them “one line of code” or a simple flip of a switch to get cross-play working between PS4 and Xbox One. Epic and Microsoft actively want it to happenwith Fortnite.
As I’ve said this past week this has gone far beyond a grudge or a pissing match between Xbox and PlayStation. People are getting locked out of their stuff on a platform that uses the slogan “this is for the players.” Sony is imminently going to crack 100 million PS4s sold. They’re already on top. Now is the time to break bread and prevent irreparable damage to their brand before people start thinking of the PS4 as the platform you don’t want to link any (lucrative) accounts to.