Fornite cross-play between consoles and PC, Mac, and mobile is coming soon, but PlayStation 4 owners won’t be able to play against Xbox One gamers. Epic Games revealed this weekend that Xbox One players will be able to play Fortnite with PC, Mac, and mobile players, but not PS4 players; similarly, PS4 owners will be able to play against all platforms except Xbox. In a new statement to Kotaku, Microsoft is directing the blame squarely towards Sony.
“We’ve worked closely with Nintendo to allow cross-network play between Xbox One and Switch and our offer to do the same with PlayStation players still holds,” says a Microsoft spokesperson. “For any other questions regarding Fortnite cross-network play between Xbox and PlayStation, please reach out to Epic or Sony directly.” The Verge has reached out to both Sony and Epic Games, but neither company has yet to respond.
Microsoft’s new statement follows a Twitter thread over the weekend, where it’s clear both Microsoft and Epic Games want to enable cross-play between PS4 and Xbox One in Fortnite:
So why isn’t Sony getting involved? Sony has previously blocked cross-play between PS4 and Xbox One for both Rocket League and Minecraft, despite Microsoft and Nintendo both supporting it across Xbox One, PC, and Switch. Sony’s excuse for blocking PlayStation and Xbox cross-platform play last year blamed “exposing what in many cases are children to external influences we have no ability to manage or look after.”
It’s hard to say, without Sony commenting directly, exactly why the company isn’t enabling cross-play for Fortnite, though. Back in 2011, Microsoft was in a dominant position in US console sales, and the company refused to enable cross-play and blamed not being able to control the experience. “Because we can’t guarantee this level of quality, or control the player experience on other consoles or gaming networks, we currently do not open our network to games that allow this cross-over capability,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Kotaku at the time.
Sony’s previous excuse about having to protect kids doesn’t hold up now that it’s enabling cross-play between the PS4 and millions of PC and mobile gamers. The real reason, of course, is that Sony doesn’t have a good reason to enable cross-play between the PS4 and Xbox One. In fact, doing so might harm its business. The PS4 is outselling the Xbox One, and enabling cross-play means friend groups won’t necessarily have to choose between consoles if both can play games against each other.
On the flip side, Sony’s PlayStation 4 ads always state “for the players,” and blocking cross-play isn’t exactly adhering to that message. Still, opening the PS4 up to playing against PC, Mac, and mobile players is a good first step, and hopefully one day the barriers to console cross-play gaming will collapse once and for all.