Sony broke new ground in the gaming community by allowing cross-play between their PlayStation 4 and other consoles for Fortnite, but other game developers are not fully committing to the feature being available for their own titles just yet. Namely, the teams between Minecraft, Rocket League, and Fallout 76 released their own statements on the matter.
The announcement of a cross-platform open beta for Fortnite on PS4 is the end of a long saga in which Sony consistently rejected the idea of cross-play with players on Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, and having progress and purchases carry over between different consoles. While Fortnite was the most popular case during this high demand from the community for cross-platform functionality, Minecraft and Rocket League had their own qualms. While Xbox One, Switch, and PC players were able to interact with each other, PS4 players were locked out of those ecosystems.
Even with the Fortnite news, this locking out of PS4 players won't be reversed immediately for similar cases. Minecraft, which infamously had an advertisement promoting cross-play between Xbox and Switch during the Fortnite controversy, won't be changing overnight, with Minecraft owner Microsoft offering the following non-statement statement to IGN.
"We believe in giving gamers the opportunity to play the games they want with the people they want. Whether that means working with our partners to deliver cross-network play with games like ‘Rocket League’ and ‘Fortnite’ or enabling cross-device play with the likes of Minecraft, we are supportive of new scenarios that enable more people to play and have fun together while gaming. We would love to bring players on PlayStation 4 into our Minecraft ecosystem as well, but have nothing further to share at this time.”
Similarly, figureheads from Psyonix (developer of Rocket League), Bethesda (developer of Fallout 76), and Activision Blizzard (the corporation behind Overwatch and Call of Duty) shared their thoughts through Twitter or PR statements. While players of different non-PS4 consoles can interact with each other through private matches, cross-platform parties and matchmaking is still a feature that Psyonix is working on. Meanwhile, the yet-to-be-released online game Fallout 76 never explicitly promised cross-play but did cite Sony's previous opposition to cross-play as a reason for not pursuing it in the first place. Check out the tweets from Jeremy Dunham of Psyonix and Pete Hines from Bethesda, both stating that nothing regarding PS4 cross-play was currently in the works:
We're really happy for the @PlayStation and @FortniteGame communities. It's a great step forward! We know that our own @RocketLeague community wants to know what this means for them, but we don't have any updates ATM. In the meantime, we recommend reaching out to Sony for comment https://t.co/5wH3VIMktn— Jeremy Dunham (@DunhamSmash) September 26, 2018
Folks, chill. I work with a lot of devs and games for whom this is important going forward.— Pete Hines (@DCDeacon) September 26, 2018
Fallout 76 does not support crossplay, for a number of reasons. I have no idea if it ever will. But I assure you it is not on our radar right now as we focus on B.E.T.A. and Launch.
Additionally, Activision Blizzard provided IGN with a similar statement:
“We’ve had a great experience with cross-play for Hearthstone on other platforms and have witnessed how compelling it can be for our community. There’s still a lot of work to do on both our side and the platform side to understand whether cross-play might be integrated into our other games, so we’ll be watching the upcoming test and will assess what the potential impact of this feature would be for our players and our games.”
It's clear that Sony wants to use Fortnite, an extremely popular free-to-play game on basically every single modern platform, as a test case for cross-platform possibilities before opening the floodgates with other titles. While their previous policy against the feature was cited as anti-consumer, it was understandably a financial decision - Sony did not want Fortnite players to buy items from the Xbox store and use them on PlayStation, denying Sony of any cut. As the demand continued for cross-play, Sony eventually relented, and so far, the decision has helped the company's image. But it's entirely possible that Sony may eventually find no benefit to the feature, and as cynical as the possibility is, they can pull the plug for PlayStation as soon as this beta ends.