It’s something that’s so obvious that it could almost go without saying, but former Sony and Daybreak developer John Smedley has said that the reason for Sony blocking the ability to link your third party accounts or play cross-platform on PlayStation 4 is all about money.
It’s an issue that has been the source of some public backlash in the past for a refusal to allow cross-platform multiplayer in games like Rocket League and Minecraft, but has come back to the fore after the release of Fortnite Battle Royale for Nintendo Switch and many PS4 players finding that they cannot log into their Epic account and have absolutely no recourse.
“When I was at Sony,” he tweeted, “the stated reason internally for this was money. They didn’t like someone buying something on an Xbox and it being used on a Playstation.”
While obvious, no industry insider has put it quite so plainly as this until now. It’s also clear that, as the current market leader, Sony have little to gain from being open in this manner, while Xbox and Nintendo do have something to gain. Those players jilted by not being able to use their Fortnite account on Switch are more likely to turn to PS4 once more, which is also where their existing group of friends will be. For online games such as this, it’s clear why Sony won’t want to open their walled garden.
At the same time, Sony might consider how it can go against them going forward. If people embrace this kind of openness on other platforms it can mean that PS4 owners start eyeing up purchases on other consoles. I’m personally playing Fortnite on Switch and Xbox instead of PS4 because of this.