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PlayStation boss says Sony wants more cross-play titles but recent actions may suggest otherwise

Get with the times old man!

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • June 19, 2021 at 3:35 p.m. PDT • Comments: 16

Sony at one point appeared to be ahead of the curve with their cross-platform play initiative between PlayStation 3 and PC on games like Final Fantasy 14 and Portal 2 followed by Street Fighter 5 on PlayStation 4, but that certainly changed when the other consoles started getting in on the mix.

President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment Jim Ryan recently said in an interview the company is encouraging more cross-play support on their consoles though recent happenings may not exactly back that up.

Speaking to Axios, Ryan says that they "support and encourage cross-play" and "that number will continue to grow" while naming off support for large titles like Fortnite, Rocket League, Call of Duty and Minecraft as examples of what they've done so far.

Just going back to last month, however, Gearbox's Randy Pitchford revealed that Borderlands 3 would be receiving cross-play support but were required the publisher (assumedly Take Two) to remove the support for it from the PlayStation versions.

A few weeks prior to that, the Epic Games v. Apple court case revealed in filings that Fortnite's developers had to pay Sony a cut of their revenue earned on other platforms as part of their agreement to enable cross-play on PS4.

Said revelation of course gave rise to the question as to whether similar deals were required for other publishers as well looking to enable the feature, which hasn't been confirmed, though Epic CEO Time Sweeney said during the trial implied that compensation was largely triggered if a player primarily used PlayStation to play Fortnite but used an iPhone to make purchases for the game.

As for the possible issues with Borderlands 3, Ryan told Axios he wouldn't speak on a "live business issue with a long-standing partner" but their "policies are consistent across all of the publishers."

If Sony did require developers to pay into cross-play functionality, that could easily price out smaller studios from access to the feature of growing importance, but that doesn't really seem to be the case given what we've seen in the fighting game department.

Titles like Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid and Fantasy Strike have full cross-play support though the super hero fighter added PS4 to the roster after it had already come to PC, Xbox and Nintendo Switch.

Cross-platform play may end up as one of the most impactful developments for fighting games this past generation and the new one although not too many titles as of yet have taken advantage of it.

The prospect of cross-play would instantly combine together all of a fighting game's previously separate ecosystems in order to create a larger and hopefully more stable playerbase for a longer period of time.

Companies like Capcom with SF5 plus Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite (which had cross-play between Xbox and PC) and NetherRealm Studios appear to be embracing or at least exploring that idea while others like Bandai Namco and SNK haven't really said much in that regard yet.

Arc System Works recently released Guilty Gear Strive without cross-play support between PlayStation and PC, but the developers are looking at adding the feature in a future update.

Considering the PlayStation 5 will likely end up being the default / go-to console for fighting game players and tournaments once again, it sure would be nice if they get this all sorted out sooner rather than later.

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