Microsoft: Sony To Blame For Blocking Fortnite PS4, Xbox One Cross-Play

Xbox One, PS4, Fortnite, cross-play, Sony
Image Source: Fortnite (screenshot)

Xbox One players are not be able to play Fortnite with PS4 players, and vice versa, something that Microsoft is accusing Sony of being responsible for. Recently, Fortnite developer Epic Games announced the arrival of cross-play between consoles and PC, Mac and mobile, but not between the PS4 and Xbox One.

Following the announcement from Epic Games, one fan tweeted at Xbox boss Phil Spencer about how much the community wants Xbox One and PS4 owners to play against each other. To the tweet, Spencer replied “Me 2.” Thereafter, Fortnite creators, Epic Studios, also tweeted saying “We 3!”

Microsoft is blaming Sony for the blockage. “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,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to Kotaku. Further, the executive stated that for any other questions related to Fortnite cross-play between Xbox and PlayStation, Epic and Sony should be contacted.

For a long time, Microsoft has been working towards cross-play and the potential of connecting players across PC, mobile and other consoles. But, Sony has been hesitating to partner with Microsoft.

In 2016, Microsoft revealed a proposal for cross-play between Windows 10 and Xbox One, for titles such as Rocket League Players across both the platforms, something that was already running on the PS4 and Steam users. Thereafter, the company sent an “open invitation for other networks to participate.” However, Sony didn’t come forward to join the party.

Then in 2017, Microsoft announced that cross-platform support for Minecraft would be available for the Xbox One, Switch, and mobile, but PS4 was absent from the list. At the time, Sony dodged the cross-play question saying that it was to protect kids by not exposing them to the “external influences we have no ability to manage or look after.” At present, Minecraft supports cross-platform between Xbox One, mobile, PC and VR. For Switch, the work is still underway.

Sony’s argument, however, hardly holds any ground since the company is opening up cross-play between PS4 and PC and mobile games. Sony also tried to dodge the cross-platform play before citing security concerns. But, looking at Nintendo, which is usually seen as more fussy when it comes to security, Sony’s argument looks weak.

One can only think of the Japanese company trying to save their business by not opening cross-play for the Xbox One. The PS4 is ahead of Xbox One in sales, and enabling cross-play would mean that friends would not necessarily have to choose between the consoles if they can play games against each other on any console, notes The Verge. Microsoft, on the other hand, has a massive advantage to support cross-platform play, something that the company is already doing with the Switch and PC gamers.

A cross-play between both consoles is very feasible from a technical perspective, something that developers have been discussing for a long time. As both the consoles work on similar control schemes, there would be no balance issues, which is usually seen with mobile and PC.

Earlier, a possible bug enabled cross-play between the Xbox One and PS4. It is, however, not clear if it was a bug or an effort by Fortnite to demonstrate just how easy it is to enable the cross-platform play from the technical perspective, notes Forbes. Considering Epic’s vision for the game, the bug looked like more of an attempt.

While announcing the mobile version, Epic talked of its vision for the game, saying, “We believe this is the future of games. The same game on all platforms. Console quality graphics and action. Play when you want, where you want.”

For the Fortnite, Microsoft requires a paid subscription to Xbox Live Gold in order to play. This is not in the interest of the players, and thus, could require some discussion to enrich gaming experience across different platforms. Meanwhile, Fortnite developers have addressed the concerns surrounding the mobile version of the game.

Addressing the concerns of some players, who think that the mobile version of the Battle Royale shooter might not be as vibrant, the developers assured, “On phones and tablets, Fortnite is the same 100-player game you know from PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac.” Further, they assured that everything would be the same from gameplay to content and weekly updates.