Fallout fans may be eager to play the first ever multiplayer entry in the series, but unfortunately Fallout 76 won't include cross-platform play - and Sony is to blame. Crossplay (not to be confused with cosplay) means players who use different video gaming platforms (i.e. Xbox or PC) being able to share multiplayer sessions. This has been popularized recently, with games like Rocket League leading the way, but Sony has been reluctant to let PlayStation 4 owners come out to play.
This isn't the first time that Sony has faced criticism for refusing to get onboard the crossplay train. The company took their resistance to a ridiculous level with co-op survival game Fortnite, by blocking players who had previously used an account to play the game on PS4 from using that same account to play on the Nintendo Switch. But despite heavy criticism from the gaming community, Sony isn't being any less intransigent when it comes to Fallout 76.
Speaking to GameStar (via Game Rant), Bethesda Director Todd Howard has said that there aren't currently plans to include cross-platform multiplayer in Fallout 76, explaining that "We would love to do that, but right now that’s not possible," and adding, "Sony isn’t being as helpful as we want them to be.” It appears that some game developers are just as annoyed by Sony's stance as players are, though whether this additional pressure will convince Sony to change their minds on crossplay remains to be seen.
Though the companies behind gaming consoles generally try to beat out the competition with exclusive games and special features, Microsoft and Nintendo have been enthusiastically teaming up to allow for cross-platform play in games like Minecraft and Fortnite. It's a very consumer-friendly move, since gamer friends often have different consoles at home, but still want to play with one another on their platform of choice. Ultimately it's just another way of making a multiplayer game appeal to more people, and is a win-win move for gaming companies - so why is Sony so resistant to it?
Former Sony Online Executive John Smedley has said, with regards to Sony refusing to let PS4 Fortnite players join the cross-platform party, "The stated reason internally for this was money. They didn't like someone buying something on an Xbox and it being used on a PlayStation." It is, as Smedley acknowledged, a "dumb reason," and it actually could end up having the unintended effect of driving gamers away from buying a PS4. Let's hope that Sony will start to see reason soon.
Fallout 76 will be available for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on November 14, 2018.