Sony has finally caved on its policy of preventing cross-platform gaming from its PlayStation devices to its rivals, announcing that a beta test has launched today to trial the feature using Epic's Fortnite.
Sony has long come under criticism for blocking publishers from adding cross-platform multiplayer to their titles, an issue which came to a head with the popularity of Fortnite Battle Royal. While Epic Games supports cross-platform play across almost all devices capable of playing the game, the PlayStation 4 was a distinct exception - thanks, the company claimed, to Sony's absolute refusal to support any such feature.
With the community up in arms about Sony's excuse that PlayStation is simply the 'best place to play', the company has issued a surprise volte-face: It is now actively investigating cross-platform gaming, quite some years after Dreamcast players could get thoroughly trounced in Quake III Arena by PC gamers with keyboards and mice, beginning with an open beta for a cross-platform Fortnite.
'For 24 years, we have strived to deliver the best gaming experience to our fans by providing a uniquely PlayStation perspective. Today, the communities around some games have evolved to the point where cross-platform experiences add significant value to players,' admits a somewhat sheepish-sounding John Kodera, president and chief executive officer of Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE). 'In recognition of this, we have completed a thorough analysis of the business mechanics required to ensure that the PlayStation experience for our users remains intact today, and in the future, as we look to open up the platform.
'This represents a major policy change for SIE, and we are now in the planning process across the organisation to support this change. We will update the community once we have more details to share, including more specifics regarding the beta timeframe, and what this means for other titles going forward.'
More information is available on the PlayStation blog.