Fortnite Effect?: Sony (Finally!) Opens Up to Cross Platform Play
Fortnite is bringing the world together. Literally.
According to a report from The Guardian published yesterday (and my very-real-world testing last night) Sony has abandoned its long held policy of maintaining a closed platform ecosystem in order to let Fortnite players game it up with one another—no matter what kind of hardware they’re using. … Let me repeat that for you: Sony, the maker of the world’s most popular gaming consoles, is allowing its users to experience cross-platform play for the first time.
This is ENORMOUS.
A little more than a year ago, it was reported that Sony and Microsoft were in discussions to start allowing cross-platform play, but those talks ultimately fizzled out and never amounted to much of anything. The problem, it appeared, was a lack of willingness to come to the table on Sony’s part. An Xbox executive told CNET at the time that they were all-in on the idea of opening up cross-platform play, and all they needed was the “go-ahead” from Sony.
Consumers, until the end of time, are always going to prefer a particular gaming console. However, much like smartphones today, while the hardware itself can vary widely, the content that users engage in is essentially identical. Imagine not being able to stalk your friends on Facebook or Instagram simply because they’re using an Android while you have an iPhone. Makes no sense, right? But that’s essentially what’s been going on in the gaming realm ever since the concept of online play became a thing—and has only been exacerbated since streaming online play came into the fold.
The console has essentially turned into an access point for gamers to tap into studios’ servers to stream (and play) their content. So, why then, would you not be able to play against other Fortnite addicts simply because you happen to own a PlayStation 4 instead of an Xbox or Nintendo Switch? It makes no sense, and consumers have long been asking for whatever invisible force field has been in place to be disabled. And finally Sony showed a willingness to listen.
For two and a half decades, the brand has worked to create a “uniquely PlayStation perspective” President and Global CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment John Kodera said in a blog post announcing the policy change. That’s a strategy that I can fully appreciate and understand. But the gaming community has fully evolved into a global community in that time, and one that requires a certain amount of openness. Gaming is no longer a single-platform experience, and to get the full value out of titles like Fortnite, Rocket League, and Minecraft, users need access to the entire community.
“Following a comprehensive evaluation process, SIE has identified a path toward supporting cross-platform features for select third party content,” Kodera said. “We recognize that PS4 players have been eagerly awaiting an update, and we appreciate the community’s continued patience as we have navigated through this issue to find a solution.”
For now, Fortnite is the only major third-party title that will have cross-platform play support. But this is the first step in an incredibly exciting direction for Sony and the gaming community as a whole.
Google turns 20 today. Happy birthday, Google! Bloomberg shared a flashback photo of what the search engine’s website looked like during that first year:
Google is turning 20 today. Here's what the search engine's website looked like in 1998 👇 pic.twitter.com/JyUITeA46g
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) September 27, 2018