Sony has responded to growing backlash over the lack of cross-play between the PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo Switch versions of Epic Games’ popular online battle royale title “Fortnite.”
“We’re always open to hearing what the PlayStation community is interested in to enhance their gaming experience,” the company said in a statement to the BBC. “With … more than 80 million monthly active users on PlayStation Network, we’ve built a huge community of gamers who can play together on ‘Fortnite’ and all online titles. We also offer ‘Fortnite’ cross-play support with PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices, expanding the opportunity for ‘Fortnite’ fans on PS4 to play with even more gamers on other platforms.”
“We have nothing further to add beyond this at this point,” a spokeswoman added.
Nintendo announced and simultaneously released “Fortnite” on the Switch Tuesday during its E3 2018 Direct video presentation. The game was downloaded over two million times in its first 24 hours on the hybrid console. Players need to create an Epic Games account to play, or sign in with an existing one. But, “Fortnite” fans who tried using accounts created via PS4 quickly discovered those accounts won’t work on Switch.
“This ‘Fortnite’ account is associated with a platform which does not allow it to operate on Switch,” the game said. “Neither the ‘Fortnite’ website nor Epic Customer Service are able to change this. To play ‘Fortnite’ on Switch, please create a new account.”
Many fans are understandably upset. The lack of cross-play means any purchases they’ve made on PS4 won’t carry over to the Switch. Any progression they’ve made in the game, like completing challenges, won’t transfer as well. “I was a tester on PC whos (sic) finished every season and spent hundreds of dollars on the game but nope no Switch play for me since I played once on a PS4,” said one person on Reddit.
This is not the first time Sony has refused to work with Microsoft and Nintendo to support cross-play. Last year, when Microsoft decided to unite all versions of “Minecraft” in what it called the Better Together Update, Sony blocked it on the PS4 and said it was to protect younger gamers.
“We’ve got to be mindful of our responsibility to our install base,” PlayStation global sales and marketing head Jim Ryan said at the time. “‘Minecraft’ — the demographic playing that, you know as well as I do, it’s all ages but it’s also very young. We have a contract with the people who go online with us, that we look after them and they are within the PlayStation curated universe. Exposing what in many cases are children to external influences we have no ability to manage or look after, it’s something we have to think about very carefully.”
There are signs the backlash could be affecting Sony financially. Shares were down over 2 percent on Thursday, according to CNBC.