Sony’s reluctance to allow for cross-platform play with the Playstation 4 has been brought under the spotlight once again due to comments by Bethesda’s Todd Howard regarding its upcoming game Fallout 76.
From what we know of Fallout 76, it will be an online survival RPG with a strong multiplayer focus. However, similar to Fortnite, Minecraft and Rocket League, PS4 players will only be able to interact with other PS4 players. Xbox and PC players won’t be able to play in the same world as PS4 players. Speaking to German publication GameStar.de, Howard stated that “You cannot do cross-play in 76… We’d really love that but right now we can’t. Sony is not as helpful as everyone would like.”
This news comes after the widely-publicised debacle regarding cross-platform play when it became apparent that PS4 players couldn’t use their Epic accounts to play Fortnite on the Nintendo Switch. Whilst this news is somewhat disappointing for PS4 players, who will have less players to interact with, it is not entirely surprising considering Sony’s past behaviour. This news does at least appear to be confirmation that it is Sony’s actions that have prevented cross-platform play, and not those of the game developers.
Whilst it wasn’t indicated in the interview, it is likely that Fallout 76 will still feature cross-platform play for the Xbox One and PC platforms. Fallout 76 represents the first online-multiplayer-focused entry in a previously single-player franchise. It is unclear exactly how multiplayer interactions will work in the game, but apparently every character in the game will be a real player.
Although the PS4 is the market leader in gaming consoles, Sony seems paranoid that gamers and their friends and family will buy another console for any reason. This is the only reason that Sony would make it that only PS4s can interact with one another, as it ensures that groups of friends all need PS4s to play multiplayer, instead of getting different platforms that can play together.
There is still time before Fallout 76’s launch this November for Sony to change its mind on this direction for the PS4. We will have to wait and see what the impact of the reactions to its walled-garden policy has on the company’s attitude towards cross-platform play.