Fortnite is one of the biggest games in the world right now, so Switch owners were understandably excited to download it when it launched yesterday. However, some players ran into an ugly roadblock. It turns out that Fortnite accounts associated with the PS4 won’t work on the Switch. This isn’t the fault of Nintendo or Epic (the Fortnite developer). You can blame Sony’s increasingly aggravating opposition to cross-platform play.
The Switch version of Fortnite has all the same features as the version on PC and other consoles. However, the visuals have been stripped down to run smoother on the Switch’s Tegra X1 chip. It looks more like the iPhone version of the game than the one you can play on consoles and computers. Still, it’s the full Fortnite experience with proper controls on a device you can play anywhere.
Fortnite on the Switch can talk to the versions on PC and Xbox, but not the PS4 edition. In fact, you can’t even log in with a PS4 account. One of the cool things about Fortnight is you can log in with a single Epic account on all platforms to share progress (even on mobile). However, you can only play on the PS4 if you started there — Sony doesn’t let the data out to other platforms.
Trying to log into the Switch edition of Fortnite with an account tied to the PS4 produces an error. It’s a little vague, but it explains that Epic support can’t do anything to help. It doesn’t name Sony specifically, but we know that’s who’s behind the block.
Not allowing me to sign-in to Fortnite Switch with my Epic account because it's linked to PS4 is tone deaf and points more to fear than market dominance.
It does the opposite of what you want — it makes me think about moving to Xbox for Fortnite. pic.twitter.com/D9xqv9aWdF
— Greg Miller (@GameOverGreggy) June 12, 2018
You can almost understand Sony wanting to block cross-platform access with the Xbox. That device is a direct competitor to the PlayStation 4, and Sony is currently in the lead. Why would it want to help players switch to a Microsoft system to play one of the most popular games? The Switch rarely has the same titles as the more powerful consoles, and its portability offers a very different gaming experience. It’s believable that someone would want to play the prettier version of Fortnite on PS4 at home and play the Switch version on the go.
Let’s not forget that Fortnite is free-to-play. Some gamers dropped a lot of money on in-game content for the PlayStation version of the game, and it’s all locked down on Sony’s platform — they can’t access it on the Switch or any other version of the game. If you’ve never played Fortnite, you really shouldn’t start on the PS4.