Crossplay is the future of gaming. While most gaming companies are open to this notion, only one stands apart as somewhat of a non-believer. Although Sony eventually relented for the mega-hit Fortnite, court documents reveal it came at a steep price.
Crossplay allows for players to play the same game together with their friends or family no matter what platform they are on. For example, one person on iPhone could playing on the same Fortnite team as her friend on Xbox. As the current Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit looms on, a new court document has revealed that Sony is the only gaming platform that charges Epic Games (the developer of Fortnite) a royalty for allowing crossplay functionality on Fortnite.
The payment kicks in whenever a significant number of PlayStation gamers contribute to a crossplay title's (not just Fortnite) earnings, which is done to "offset the reduction in revenue" from gamers purchasing microtransactions on other platforms. For example, if a gamer plays Fortnite for free on PlayStation but purchases something for the game on Xbox, Playstation would realize none of that revenue.
The concept of crossplay has been around since the early 2000's, however it wasn't until 2017 when crossplay became more mainstream with it's introduction into Fortnite. For the first time in decades, gamers weren't restricted by what system they played on in order to play with their friends. Many attributed this increased level of accessibility as a key reason for Fortnite's landmark success, which led to many other games to follow suit.
Historically, Sony has been very hesitant about allowing cross play on their platform, whereas other platforms such as Nintendo and Xbox have been much more accommodating. Although no specific reason has been publicized and given how successful PlayStation consoles are in terms of sales, this leaked document could have provided us the answer. In any case, this may set a dangerous precedent in restricting the future of crossplay if other platforms start to follow suit.
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