Yesterday evening, news spread of Sony’s decision to lift cross-play restrictions on the popular battle royale game Fortnite, finally allowing people on Playstation 4 a chance to play with or against Xbox One and Nintendo Switch owners. Having some time to reflect on the situation, it was kind of shocking but exciting at the same time. I have to say, I really didn’t expect Sony to open the floodgates so soon. Sony to me, kind of seemed like they were being very staunch towards even allowing cross-play to begin with, it was as though they would have ridden this one out for as long as possible, maybe even into the next generation of consoles. While I’m personally very glad they are finally allowing this feature, as it will provide me a way to play with other friends no matter what platform I’m playing Fortnite on, I am hoping this is just the beginning for cross-play.
As someone who has been gaming for years now, and has spent more than half of their time with online games. It’ll be interesting to see how everything works out. Going back into last generation, I can recall situations where rabid fanboy friends would be snooty enough to proclaim adamantly that people who played games like Call of Duty on Xbox 360 were more talented than Playstation 3 players. Something like that based off of assumptions alone, I can only see having the ability to access games via cross-play allowing us the potential chance of actually observing if things like one player base being better than the other are even remotely true. With competitive gaming becoming so huge over the past decade, I feel as though cross-play should inevitably hit every future online game eventually. With the amount of live services being endlessly pushed out over the last few years, I can only see this benefiting those companies as well, people given the chance to play with more of their friends through other services might entice them to play a game longer in the end.
Oddly enough this really isn’t the first time we’ve ever had an instance of cross-play in a video game to begin with between Sony and Microsoft, albeit different console generations. The MMO Final Fantasy XI, a game I had played for years on end, allowed players on both Xbox 360 and Playstation 2 to play with each other alongside the PC player base. Granted at the time Final Fantasy XI had been more than a few years old when it hit Xbox 360, I can still recall the somewhat hostile reception both Playstation 2 and PC users had given towards new players coming to 11 through Microsoft’s console. Assuming the same thing happens in the case of Fortnite, with Sony being late to the party even if it was just for a few months, I’d say get ready for some reignited fanboy rage between both player bases if history holds true.
Ending on a positive note, again I am very happy Sony is allowing cross-play, as someone who primarily had played Fortnite on the Nintendo Switch, it gives me the chance to pick up and play with people I know who are only able to access the game through the Playstation 4. I’m still going to hold up the high hopes that this decision allows more companies to design their games online multiplayer with the ability to allow us to play with other console player bases. I feel as though in 2018 it shouldn’t really matter what console you play on anymore, sure it’s fine to feel like one console is better than the other, but online gaming is an entire different beast all in itself. We shouldn’t really have to be blocked away from our friends just because they chose to buy a different console than us. In reality, here’s to hoping that an open Fortnite is just the beginning.