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Sony had famously blocked cross-platform play, which allows people to play the same video game together on different platforms, in the past for titles including Minecraft and Rocket League. Both those titles feature Xbox and Nintendo Switch cross-play capabilities.
New emails and documents in the court case, as per The Verge, have revealed the extent to which Sony has been against the possibility of cross-play for Epic’s game Fortnite. Sony eventually allowed it for Fortnite in 2018.
Joe Kreiner — Epic’s vice president of business development — wrote an email to Sony, the makers of PlayStation, proposing that cross-play would be “a huge win for us all”.
“We announce cross-play in conjunction with Sony,” wrote Kreiner. “Epic goes out of its way to make Sony look like Heroes.”
In response, Gio Corsio, who was Sony’s senior director of developer relations at the time, wrote: “cross-platform not a slam dunk no matter the size of the title.”
Corsi continued: “As you know, many companies are exploring this idea and not a single one can explain how cross-console play improves the PlayStation business”.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has confirmed as part of his testimony on May 2, 2021 that Sony is the only platform holder that requires compensation for cross-play, backing up a document from August 2019 that was included in the evidence for the court case.
The page, from a Cross-Platform policy document, [via The Verge] shows that a game publisher would need to pay Sony “to offset the reduction in revenue” if the proportion of PSN revenue share divided by PS4 gameplay share for a title is less than 85 per cent in a month period.
There is no confirmation that Sony ultimately followed these policy outlines, and currently Sony supports cross-play for a handful of titles including Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, Minecraft, and recent release MLB The Show 21, which was the first Sony published game to launch on Game Pass.