For the past few years, console gamers have repeatedly raised the question of when Sony and Microsoft would collectively enable cross-play between their consoles. Microsoft has demonstrated various degrees of willingness to go along with the idea, but Sony has remained obstinately opposed. The pitch of these demands began to rise earlier this year as mega-hits like Fortnite began to dominate the industry and consoles like the Switch announced the game would launch there (and be cross-play compatible) as well. Through it all, Sony has remained stubbornly committed to the PS4 as its own platform.
John Kodera, President and Global CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, has written the following blog post:
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.
The company is beginning an open beta that will allow for cross-play between PS4, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Windows, and Mac. Kodera notes that the steps taken to enable this cross-play represent “a major policy change for SIE,” which is certainly true. The company has launched an open beta starting Wednesday, Sept. 26 for the cross-play feature and intends to take the capability live at some point in the undetermined future.
The post scarcely indicates that Sony is throwing in the towel on platform restrictions. Only “selected” third-party content will ever be available for cross-play, and there’s no information in the blog post about how to sign up for this Fortnite beta. But Sony’s willingness to take even this step forward towards a future in which being on different console platforms is no barrier to playing together is a good move for gaming. It’s a good move for gamers. And it puts Sony on the side of helping people extract more value from their peripherals rather than attempting to maximize profits with unreasonable demands.
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