Who would’ve guessed with all the multi-platform titles currently out right now that it took Fortnite for people to finally be fed up with the lack of cross-play.
Cross-play amongst platforms for non-exclusive titles should be a no-brainer. With the advancements in gaming and technology, we have become more connected than ever before and it was only a matter of time before cross-play became a standard feature in gaming. But it hasn’t. In fact, cross-platforming is just in its infancy and where it does exist, it’s generally limited to PC and the respective console. This is asinine, as it limits the experience of who you can play with depending on the platform they play on.
People have preferences, some people want to play on their PS4, while others the Xbox One, Switch, or even their PC. These console developers should not limit who their audience can play with because of “branding” issues. For Sony, they are already a global leader, with more console and software sales than their competitors. There will always be exclusives and features that will help maintain or gain a competitive advantage. Is there a negative in collaborating with other developers?
The answer is no. This stymies creativity and can create a divide in their established fan base. If cross-platforming exists between consoles and PC’s, then what are the barriers regarding console to console. Besides ego, not many. Sony recently touted their sales and numbers regarding how many people make up their community, but this was a failed attempt at masking their insecurity. This is more damaging to their brand especially so close to the next generation.
You can expect a lot of unnecessary backtracking by Sony as they look to quell the tension that isn’t necessarily their fault. How many titles really support cross-platform play? It’s really a discussion that has surfaced recently because of the rising popularity of online-only titles. While the community voiced their displeasure, the resistance was small. Once people tried to login to Fortnite on their Switch and discovered that their accounts were locked because it was linked to their Sony account was when the community truly became upset. Sony was forced to respond and their response brought about more questions than answers.
In the coming weeks and months, I expect Sony to make significant changes to their stance on cross-play. Social media has played an important role in forcing Sony’s response as the #BlameSony hashtag can be found everywhere. Cross-platforming is going to quickly become a new trend and let’s be honest, we are all the better for it. Who doesn’t want to see certain console icons like Master Chief or Mario appear in the same game.
I just find it funny that it took Fortnite of all games to actually get people upset. It’s a free-to-play title, I thought people would be more upset about Call of Duty or Battlefield, full-priced titles that feature heavy multiplayer components. But nope, at the end of the day, what brings gamers together might be a free-to-play title. This is a discussion that needs to be had and it shouldn’t away anytime soon. Sony shouldn’t shy away from it, embrace what’s coming and accept that as long as you differentiate your brand with quality exclusives then opening your doors to your rivals won’t be as damaging as you thought. It could help your public image and reinforce that you truly are all about the gamers.