A couple of studios, including Gaijin Entertainment and Hi-Rez Studios, recently suggested that Sony was blocking it from joining the PlayStation 4’s ongoing console cross-play beta – but speaking with Game Informer this week, Worldwide Studios chairman Shawn Layden said that’s absolutely not the case. He told the site that the platform holder is “open for business on this one” and that teams simply need to chat to the manufacturer to get things going.
He said: “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.”
The problem is that developers say they have been talking to Sony, and it’s been shutting the discussions down. The latest studio to weigh in on the situation is Chucklefish, which recently released Wargroove with console cross-play across Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch. Writing on ResetEra, the company’s CEO Finn Brice said that it had been in constant communication with the Japanese giant about adding the feature to the PS4 version of the strategy game to no avail.
“We made many requests for cross-play (both through our account manager and directly with higher ups) all the way up until release month,” he wrote. “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. [I] 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.”
So what exactly is going on here? Well, it’d be easy to jump to the conclusion that Layden is lying, but PlayStation is a gigantic company and there may be some communication issues here. Of course, that doesn’t explain why console cross-play is being blocked at the lower level when upper-management seems to think it’s been given the green light. Our view? Sony really needs to get its ass into gear and communicate with its developer partners. Has the Fortnite beta been a success? When will more games join the programme? What is the acceptance criteria?
Enough of this now.