Last year, Sony finally admitted that it had to embrace the push for more cross-platform experiences in the video games industry. The Japanese company finally allowed crossplay multiplayer with Xbox One and Nintendo Switch on Fortnite and Rocket League, promising that other titles could follow soon.
Unfortunately, it seems that Sony is still preventing some big game developers to fully enable crossplay in their games. Hi-Rez Studios CEO Stewart Chisam, the developer of Smite, Paladins, and Realm Royale, called out Sony on Twitter last week to complain about the company’s lack of cooperation (via Kotaku). In case you missed it, Smite picked up support for crossplay between Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC this week, leaving PS4 players out of the party
Hey @Sony @PlayStation. It's time to stop playing favorites and tear down the crossplay/progression wall for everyone. We have @SMITEGame, @PaladinsGame, @RealmRoyale ready to go when you are. https://t.co/KNDetpXPf5
— Stewart Chisam (@schisam) February 8, 2019
Wargroove, a strategy title that also supports crossplay between Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC is apparently facing the same issue ahead of the game’s release on PlayStation 4. Chucklefish CEO Finn Brice, the gaming studio behind Wargroove, shared some details about his difficult relationship with Sony on the gaming forum Resetera. According to him, enabling crossplay on the PS4 version of the game would be as simple as flipping a switch:
We made many requests for crossplay (both through our account manager and directly with higher ups) all the way up until release month. We were told in no uncertain terms that it was not going to happen.
From our side, we can *literally* toggle a switch and have it working. Of course policy work might be more complicated for Sony.
Just wanted to provide some balance on the issue and say that it certainly isn't a question of developers having not contacted their account managers or having dropped the ball. We were told no.
From what it seems, Sony is apparently willing to enable crossplay with other platforms on a case-by-case basis. This pretty much contradicts what Shawn Layden, Chairman of SIE Worldwide Studios said about Sony's stance on crossplay in a previous interview with Game Informer:
People keep saying, “Why doesn’t Sony allow more people to have it?” We’re open for business on this one. All it takes is for publishers and developers who wish to permission it. As ever, just work with your PlayStation account manager, and they will walk you through the steps that we’ve learned through our partnership with Epic on how this works. I don’t believe right now there is any gating factor on that. I think they’re open to make proposals, because the Fortnite thing worked pretty well.
There are probably several big developers that are currently pressuring Sony to enable crossplay in their games. Microsoft has been wanting to bring the functionality to the PlayStation 4 version of Minecraft for quite some time. We probably need more developers to voice their concerns for Sony to finally speed things up, but it's actually not all bad. This week, we heard that Respawn Entertainment, the makers of the increasingly popular free-to-play battle royale game Apex Legends were working on implementing crossplay functionality. There's still no precise ETA, but we hope to see many more high-profile games get full crossplay support in 2019.