It took a lot of yelling but fans and the press have finally gotten Sony to comment on the lack of cross-play between the PS4 version of Fortnite and Switch and Xbox versions, which have had no problem teaming up with each other to let players play together.
But the resulting statement is utter PR nonsense, and totally misses the most important point of this controversy, the fact that any Fortnite account that is or has ever been linked to PS4 is now “tainted,” and cannot ever be played on Xbox or Switch. Here’s what Sony had to say to the BBC:
“We’re always open to hearing what the PlayStation community is interested in to enhance their gaming experience,” the statement says. “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.”
This is embarrassing, useless garbage. Sorry, but there’s really no other way to put it.
The entire gist of this statement is “there are still plenty of people to play with across 80 million PS4 owners and PC and mobile players.”
Like, yeah no kidding. It’s not like anyone is having trouble finding games in matchmaking, no one is saying that. The point of a lack of cross-play is that PS4 players can’t play with their friends on Switch or Xbox One, when those two consoles can easily play Fortnite with each other, and have said flat-out they’d love to cross-play with Sony as well. Sony just refuses to do it.
But again, this totally dodges the main issue, which is that Sony is essentially poisoning Fortnite accounts, as if they’ve ever been linked to a PS4, they cannot be linked to Xbox or Switch. Even if you unlink your account from PS4, it’s still not able to be used on those consoles. PS4 is like an incurable disease that your Fortnite account just cannot shake.
This is a weak, purposefully obtuse response from Sony, and it should be called out as such. Sony shares are sliding in the wake of this E3 controversy, where it had an odd, but somewhat effective stage show, but now all anyone can talk about is this Fortnite lockout issue.
Everyone will remember how Sony mocked Microsoft back in 2013 with their famous “this is how you share games” video, which made fun of Microsoft’s then-proposed convoluted used game-sharing system that bound players to specific copies of games. But we’ve come a long way since then, and with its huge install base, Sony has built a wall around itself in order to continue to drive sales. The idea is “if all my friends are playing on PS4, I have to buy a PS4 too” and the idea of cross-play threatens that.
And yet, cross-play aside, the account lockout is a different issue altogether. Parents who have PS4-linked Fortnite accounts cannot play with their kids who are picking the game up on Switch. Someone like me, who literally only tried out Fortnite on PS4 for a few games, now cannot ever play on the go on the Switch on my main account, as it’s crippled by that PS4 link.
Fortnite is such a big game, and this account lockout issue is so maddening that perhaps this might be the defining even that opens the floodgates and gets Sony to change its tune. The pressure is on Sony, and if fans want this to change, they can’t relent, and they can’t accept ridiculous statements like the one that’s just been provided.