For a brief moment, cooperative shooter Fortnite allowed Xbox and PlayStation owners the chance to play together, a first for console cross-platform play.
Fortnite does not have a whole lot going for it. Reviews have been middling (with user reviews even more negative), and the game has been criticized by players while trying to stand out in a genre rife with fierce competition. And that was before developer Epic Games destroyed many of their players’ painfully-constructed bases.
Yet, for just a few hours, Fortnite had a feature which separated it from any other console game in history: cross-platform multiplayer. After a user reported his findings on the Fortnite subreddit, the brief period of unity between Xbox and PlayStation players was immediately deactivated, with Epic quickly moved to stomp the “configuration issue” that had allowed cross-platform play.
Sony Head of Global Sales and Marketing Jim Ryan recently told Eurogamer that their stance against console cross-play was part of “a commercial discussion between ourselves and our stakeholders,” rather than a “profound philosophical stance.” It makes sense. Rather than aid the flagging Xbox One with the benefits of the PlayStation 4’s much more robust player base, Sony is making a decision for exclusivity in the name of competition.
When asked about Fortnite‘s brief foray into cross-platoform multiplayer, Xbox Head Phil Spencer was understandably more regretful that the “mistake” had been corrected:
I would have liked to see them leave it on.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) September 18, 2017
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