E3 2018: Sony blocks Fortnite crossplay with rival consoles, waffles on a response

    
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Everyone shoots everyone else!

This week’s showing at E3 should have been a victory lap for one of gaming’s hottest titles, but Sony seems bound and determined to rain on Fortnite’s parade.

The problem here is that players who were trying to use the same account to play Fortnite on both the PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo Switch or Xbox One will find that they can’t, thanks to Sony’s limitations. The company has blocked any crossplay or progression sync between its console and any others. It should be noted that there are no problems with players using the same account between the Switch and Xbox One, by the way.

Sony has come under fire for these restrictions but remained quiet for several days. Finally, the studio gave a rather lame response, saying that it is “always open to hearing” what the community has to say and noting that it does support crossplay between the PS4 and computers and mobile platforms.

This hasn’t stopped players from slamming Sony’s Twitter account with complaints about the restrictions, but so far it doesn’t look like Sony is backing down from this move. “Hands off my Fortnite account!” cried several players. The situation has grown so bad, in fact, that it’s starting to affect Sony’s shares. Enjoy the bad publicity, Sony, you’ve worked hard for it!

Fortnite did pump out a small patch today, because life without shopping carts is not a life worth living.

Source: BBC, The Verge
Massively Overpowered is on the ground in Los Angeles, California, for E3 2018, bringing you expert MMO coverage on Anthem, Fallout 76, Elder Scrolls Online, and everything else on display at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo!
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Zen Dadaist

Translation: “We’re worried that players won’t find our consoles compelling enough to play this game on and if there is cross play they may go play it on another console. So instead of making our product desirable in and of itself, we’re just going to stop people from being able to cross-play.”

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Tanek

This is why I don’t understand players who defend the business practice of limiting consumer choice. I don’t like that in phones, I don’t like it in ebooks, and I certainly don’t like it in games.

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dinwitt

Crossplay isn’t the big issue, lots of games don’t have crossplay. The problem is that accounts become locked to Sony, so if you’ve ever played on a PS4 you can’t use that account on Switch or Xbox. Even if all of your purchases for that account have been through the PC.

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Nathan Aldana

“we’re open to hearing what consumers have to say but then we’ll ignore what you said”

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Jack Pipsam

It’s not usual to see this kind of backlash against Sony, but you just know the folks at Microsoft are grinning widely as this takes all the headlines away from Sony’s E3 conference at the moment.

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Loyheta
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Loyheta

I’ve never understood why these companies do this. There are so many games where I have to pick and choose who I play with because my friends are split console-wise. It is such an archaic thing that has no reason to be around. We should be past the point of console wars… people should be buying what they like for the exclusives or features… not this crap where you have to choose which of your friends you play with.

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Martinez

For SONY its a way to prevent their Player base from wandering off ..its kind of like using a Iphone vs an android phone. the idea is you keep your people on your service and that way they can’t see if maybe they would like to try the other person product the “Walled Garden” The most embarrassing thing is apparently nintendo will be allowing crossplay and they usually are worse then SONY at this.

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Nadine Blot

This is like the third current game that has crossplay but Sony will not play with others…sad man sad

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rafael12104

Two thoughts.

First, the idiocy of such a public relations blight is hard to understand. Is this move going to force more people to the PS4 exclusively? LOL! Not even close. So, why do it? Why choose one of the most popular games in the world to highlight this petty attitude?

And the spin? Even worse. They are open to hearing about it? Which PR genius thought that one up? I swear, and I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but a bold face lie would have been better.

“Unfortunately due to other platforms mix of hardware and software protocols, Sony can’t support cross-platform play for this title as the gaming experience will not be up to our high standards.”

Well, now. Sony might be in the lead, but my choices are still, well… mine. And next time I have to choose, I will certainly think about this.

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Martinez

They are on top and have been sniffing their own farts it happens when you don’t have real competition.

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A Dad Supreme

I don’t have a big problem with this really.

There should be restrictions and limitations on products because it generally makes competition stronger in the long run because it forces companies to work harder to earn your dollar.

I haven’t played Mario Anything or Halo Everything in over a decade because I haven’t bought a Nintendo or Microsoft anything in years. Even though I would have played them if available on other mediums, I’m fine with them saying “You can’t play it unless you buy our system”.

There is a slight difference in that Fortnite isn’t an “in-house” propriety game like Mario or Halo, but I’m still fine with restrictions on that.

Dantos
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Dantos

I think the difference here is you cant use the 3rd party Epic games account at all for the switch, you need to make an entirely new one for the switch. If it were just the items you couldnt carry over I could see how that would work, but completely locking a 3rd party account seems extreme, especially since its not really exclusive since you can still use the ps4 linked account on PC, Mac, iOS and android.

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A Dad Supreme

Yeah, I’m just saying I don’t have a problem with exclusivity and restrictions overall as a practice.

There are some games and some restrictions that I’d like not to be there, but generally I understand as a consumer why they are there and it’s not that big of a deal.

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Tanek

You say you understand and it is not a big deal, but take the situation a bit further. Thought experiment: what if all game developers decide to make exclusive deals with a console. Want to play the next big MMO? Exclusively on PS4. Elder Scrolls VI? Exclusively on XBox.

It may be good for the businesses, especially since they know many gamers are more likely to buy multiple consoles than go without half the games on the market. It is just not good practice for consumers, so I don’t think we should be encouraging them to make it even worse.

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A Dad Supreme

Thought experiment: what if all game developers decide to make exclusive deals with a console. Want to play the next big MMO? Exclusively on PS4. Elder Scrolls VI? Exclusively on XBox.

When I was a young man, I had a choice between a VCR, VHS and Laserdiscs.

The VCR had much better quality, but it was far more expensive to me so I passed and bought VHS. Laserdisc was also too expensive to buy the discs.

I haven’t looked back on that decision as because VCR/Laserdisc failed, it made Sony and other companies go back to the drawing board and we eventually got CDs on the scale we have now.

So no… I still don’t mind even your new scenario involving video games as I see it being the same thing. Companies will either adapt and learn to work together, fail or succeed with competition.

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Tanek

Actually, that is a pretty good example. The differences there were in the quality, price, extras, etc. Not in the actual content. If I wanted to get a copy of the Star Wars movies, I could get it on any of the formats. I did not have to buy ALL of the platform devices to avoid being locked out of a significant chunk of movies as far as I recall.

And I would not have a problem with that. Yes, have some competition in the market. Push the consoles to innovate on quality of the hardware or options provided. Maybe even cosmetics in the games. If anything, tying the differences to which games are on which platform stifles the competition push to improve the product because they know you will buy both anyway.

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A Dad Supreme

If anything, tying the differences to which games are on which platform stifles the competition push to improve the product because they know you will buy both anyway.

All titles don’t sell. If they aren’t made well they will end up like Rise did on the Xbox. People will not buy it.

Allowing exclusives and setting contracts for exclusives makes for more competition. If I make a really great game, I’m going to want that on a console many people are playing. People usually pick that console because it’s better quality or have certain features the other one doesn’t. It’s why Xbox360 beat up on PS3 and why PS4 beat up on Xbox1.

If I’m making a game, I want to lock into a contract where I’m getting that good console and the most exposure. The console that sucks? They go back to the drawing board and work harder to make an even more superior product so that next time, they are the ones who get that contract.

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Tanek

You are still setting up a world where people need to buy both consoles in order to really have a choice in the games they play. Maybe one console gets more sales than the other each generation, but the corporations are still coming out way ahead of the consumers.

you say if a game is not made well it won’t sell. That applies no matter where it is. And, if a game is made well and marketed well, it will sell. If you happened to choose the “wrong” console, why should you be out another few hundred just to be able to buy that game?

Xijit
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Xijit

That isn’t Sony’s problem: epic needs to build a better account system.

I lnow first hand that EA, Activision, Square Enix, Ubisoft, and even Trion have functional 3rd part account management systems that allow players to hop back and forth between platforms & pass items back and forth.

Sony doesn’t own Epic & it is not their responsibility to fix this: Epic fucked up and needs to get their head out of their ass.

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Tanek

Maybe I don’t understand how this all works, but if it crossplays between everything else (xbox, switch, pc), and only accounts on PS4 are the issue, why would that not be a Sony thing?

Xijit
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Xijit

Probably what it is, is that Epic is trying to be lazy / cheap by using one universal account system while sony mandates that PSN accounts be discrete … Everyone else seems to have it set up where each platform has its own copy of your account & then they just clone it with your other accounts & any material unlocks that are account wide have to be manually unlocked on each system (which plays out like once you buy something, the company gives it to you as a free gift on every platform).

At least it has worked something like that on all the 3rd party account systems that I have used.

Sure, the real root cause is Sony being stubborn about cross play … But everyone else on the planet has found ways to work around it to make sure their customers have been taken care of.

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Tanek

Sony’s issue with account sharing on other systems is the unlocks / micro transactions … Or more specifically: Sony doesn’t want people buying shit on someone else’s store & then using it in their version of the game, which is kinda reasonable & totally on Epic’s hands to figure out how to segregate purchases.

I’m not sure the two theories you have proposed are completely compatible, but if all other games that do work on multiple platforms with 3rd party accounts do it the way you say, then I can see where the difference is on the Epic side. I still think the problem is on the Sony side, though. ;)

Xijit
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Xijit

I won’t say that it isn’t impossible that sony came down with some horseshit mandate that brickwalled epic being able to support the switch … Because Sony does have a bit of a history with shitty politics … But at the same time, there has never before been an issue like this with any game that has 3rd party accounts for multiplatform.

…. Ever.

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Tanek

Maybe Sony saw an opportunity to lock in tens of missions of players and jumped at it. Were any of those other games as big and hyped as Fortnite?

Xijit
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Xijit

Like the entire Battlefield franchise, every Assassin’s Creed game, Final Fantasy 14, final fantasy 15, the entire call of duty franchise, Destiny 1 & 2, every Tom Clancy title, Titanfall 2 …

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Tanek

Never touched any of those, so I’ll take your word on it as to how big they are/were. :)
Weird, then, that sony would not come right out and say that it is how the accounts are handled by epic. Maybe they are working on it behind the scenes so they can look like the hero later if it works out.

Xijit
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Xijit

LoL, dude: every single one of those sees 50 to 100 million copies sold, year after year … Plus DLC sales & merch.

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Tanek

Don’t go disturbing the rock I live under. Took me a long time to find the right one.

Xijit
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Xijit

LoL, probably better that way

Serrenity
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Serrenity

I do fail to see why “Epic won’t cave to Sony being a spoiled, special snowflake when literally EVERYONE else is willing to play in the same sandbox” is really a knock against Epic. Epic is the consumer-friendly one, Sony the anti-consumer.

There’s literally no benefit to consumers by forcing them to say, “if you’ve played on our platform, you can’t play on this other platform using the same account.”

Even in your world here, Sony is still the one coming out looking the douche.

Serrenity
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Serrenity

from a cost-benefit scenario – building out an entirely new way to manage accounts just because Sony is being a primadonna isn’t a good business decision, and is still ridiculously anti-consumer.

Seriously, Sony is locking down an account they really don’t have the right to lock down because it’s 3rd party and has cross capability with literally every other system. I can’t see Epic as being the bad-guy here, in any world.

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dinwitt

Its not an account issue, you can use the same account between Xbox and Switch. And unlinking your account from the PS4 isn’t sufficient to allow using other consoles. This is clearly something that Sony demanded from Epic, to permanently lock PS4 accounts out from other consoles.

Xijit
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Xijit

Sony’s issue with account sharing on other systems is the unlocks / micro transactions … Or more specifically: Sony doesn’t want people buying shit on someone else’s store & then using it in their version of the game, which is kinda reasonable & totally on Epic’s hands to figure out how to segregate purchases.

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Tanek

Then have Sony and Epic work out some deal to have PS4-exclusive cosmetics or similar. Don’t hold the whole account hostage.

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A Dad Supreme

Then have Sony and Epic work out some deal to have PS4-exclusive cosmetics or similar. Don’t hold the whole account hostage.

I’m sure they probably have discussed it in-depth and at-length, but could not reach a satisfactory conclusion in time.

I’m confident they are continuing to aggressively attack and solve the problem.

Signed, Sony and Epic PR departments

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dinwitt

Except Sony is fine with people buying stuff on PC and using them on PS4. They’re so fine with it that they won’t let you go to another console with your PC purchases.

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Arsin Halfmoon

This us why its so hard to listen to their stupid press conferences, theyre all talking about about how they love us and how “they want to be great storytellers” when in reality theyre just totally clueless to the needs of their playerbase.

Because you know, stories need to be told

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Tanek

I’m not in favor of restrictions between platforms when it comes to games. This case seems to be particularly bad because the players are using Epic accounts, not Sony accounts, and they may have already spent money on the game there.

Slightly down the list from there are platform exclusive games. Players went nuts clapping for the PS4 exclusives announced at E3 and I do not understand why. Rewarding such restrictions with your purchases just encourages the companies to go further and pull stunts like this Fortnite crap.

If players want anything to change, some sacrifices may have to be made.

Dantos
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Dantos

Exclusives sell consoles, and many would probably not get made if not for that exclusivity, Bloodborne, Bayonetta 2-3, God of War, Horizon, probably none of these would have been made if Sony/Nintendo didnt dump money into them to sell their console.

Would I like these on PC, hell yes, but having them exclusive vs not having them at all, ill take the exclusivity.

Things that arent outright exclusive shouldnt have restrictions on who can play with who though.

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Tanek

So make it a “timed exclusive” or something. Give the console of choice a head start. But when things like that are announced, players complain that it is not a “real” exclusive. I still say players are working against their own interests here.

Dantos
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Dantos

Ultimately thats up to the company ponying up the money and the devs. I cant imagine any dev not wanting their games on as many platforms as possible, and if they can negotiate that, great, if not, well, its business, unfortunately.

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Tanek

Oh, I understand it from the business side, just not the player side. It is not something we should be cheering for.

Line
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Line

Actually, it’s not exclusives that sell a console, but big popular multiplats and… the ecosystem keeping you playing with friends, subs, and all that.

In that way, there’s no doubt that locking Playstation players on “their” version of Fortnite is much more important than, say, Déraciné by From Software.

You need to get the ball rolling, so that friends join their friend son your platform, shunning corssplatform and making everything you can to make life miserable when you touch other platforms is perfect, from a business standpoint.

Hell, this story is getting mainstream news attention, maybe they’ll change their policy for Fortnite.
By after that, back to fucking their players, it’s not like the complaints matter before it reaches CNN.