As the drama surrounding Sony’s stance on crossplay continues to unfold, I’m beginning to feel like we need some sort of soap opera-esque dream sequence flashback video to just recap everything that’s happened to far. Here’s the gist: Fortnite (Free), the biggest game in the universe, launched on the Switch earlier this summer, and gamers who had played the game before on their PS4 discovered an amazing “feature": Their Epic accounts were permanently locked to the Sony ecosystem. Since then, Sony basically told everyone to “Deal with it," and then were “Looking at possibilities" on allowing people to play the dang game on non-Sony platforms.
The drama fire mostly sputtered out by late June though, with only minor flare ups since from people with large Twitter followings reminding people that Sony “got away" with doing this to Fortnite players as gamers quickly accepted this was … just the way things are. Well, Bethesda’s Pete Hines isn’t having any of that with The Elder Scrolls: Legends (Free), telling Game Informer, “It doesn’t matter what platform you play on — you play against everyone else who is playing at that moment." Hines digs deeper, too:
“It is our intention in order for the game to come out, it has to be those things on any system. We cannot have a game that works one way across everywhere else except for on this one thing. The way the game works right now on Apple, Google, Steam, and Bethesda.net, it doesn’t matter where you buy your stuff, if you play it on another platform that stuff is there. It doesn’t matter what platform you play on, you play against everyone else who is playing at that moment. There’s no ‘Oh, it’s easier to control, or it has a better framerate on this system.’ It’s a strategy card game. It doesn’t matter."
Pete calls these terms “non-negotiable," which could potentially lead to The Elder Scrolls: Legends straight up not being released on Sony’s PlayStation 4. Now, TESL is a much smaller game compared to Skyrim, or the upcoming Fallout 76, so it’s hard to say how much power this ultimatum will have, but it sets a fascinating precedent which we badly need more of. If people like Pete Hines from massive publishers like Bethesda start putting their foot down on Sony locking crossplay on their platform, Sony effectively has two choices: Willfully lose out on some huge games that PS4 owners want to play, or open things up to PS4 folks can play with everyone else. The pessimist in me wants to agree with Rami Ismail though, in that by the time Sony bends on this, it’ll hardly matter anymore:
Very excited for SONY to introduce cross-platform multiplayer for PS4 in a year or two when their tremendous number lead becomes less relevant in the face of a new generation of consoles. https://t.co/RsTWPlfxQN
— Rami Ismail (@tha_rami) August 16, 2018
As someone who is super into mobile gaming, I’ve been following all the news surrounding crossplay very closely. With mobile devices getting faster and faster, there’s going to be more and more of these totally cross platform games, and it’s important that the whole gaming industry is in line with what Hines is saying: Your purchases should just be everywhere and you should be able to play with everyone. That’s the future I want to live in, not this dumb one we’re living in now.