If Sony has its way, cross-platform play with its direct competitors – Microsoft and Nintendo – ain’t gonna happen. Despite strides from both companies in the last year to make universal multiplayer a reality, Sony has resisted for the sake of protecting its stakeholders – I mean its players. But the technology is there. In fact, Epic’s multiplayer game Fortnite turned it on over the weekend – apparently by accident.
Over the weekend, posts on Reddit began popping up with evidence. A user going by the username PRE_-CISION-_ noticed a player with a space in the username of one of the other players. PSN usernames don’t allow spaces, while Xbox Live names do. Further, the username they spotted doesn’t exist on in Epic’s launcher, which is used by Fortnite, but it does exist on Xbox Live. PRE_-CISION-_ said they were able to reach out to the player and confirm they were one and the same. Another poster claimed to have played with their child with one using a PlayStation 4 and one using an Xbox One, even posting a picture as proof.
So what happened? An Epic Games rep told Kotaku that “We had a configuration issue and it has now been corrected.”
Is this a “Deadpool moment” for gaming?
Okay, so the change was a mistake, apparently. And someone mistakenly put the code together and mistakenly got it working and mistakenly had it running on live copies of the game. Seems like an easy enough mistake to make, right?
This is pure speculation, but I can’t help but think of the way Deadpool finally got made. Ryan Reynolds and co. had to push for that movie for over a decade to get it made. What finally moved the needle? Someone “leaked” some test footage of the movie’s computer graphics that showed off a perfect page-to-screen translation of the Merc with a Mouth, and people went wild, forcing Fox to finally make good on the movie. It went on to claim the record for highest opening weekend for an R-rated movie, and there’s a sequel on the way. In other words, that “leaked” footage was the best thing to ever happen to the movie.
When I look at this “configuration issue,” I can’t help but think someone is trying to force the crossplay issue for Sony. Microsoft is up for it. Nintendo is already letting it happen with Minecraft and Rocket League. Sony’s the odd man out here, and Fortnite has shown that it really is a simple matter to make the cross-platform play work. Sony’s corporate machinations are the sole roadblock – this is a power play from maker of the wildly dominant PlayStation 4. Xbox exec Phil Spencer even came out in support of the “issue:”
I would have liked to see them leave it on.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) September 18, 2017
I’d love to see this “mistake” force Sony’s hand on the matter. There are tons of games out there that would benefit from cross-platform multiplayer. Fortnite is just one among many.