Shawn Layden, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment America and chairman of SIE Worldwide Studios, has finally commented on the growing fury over the lack of cross-play on PS4.
E3 2018 was supposed to be a high point for Sony Interactive Entertainment. They would show off their upcoming exclusives, throw in some massive third-party reveals, and they’d be set. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen for them. Instead, the company was dragged into controversy when it was revealed that Fortnite players who had logged into the game previously on PS4 were locked out of using the same account on the Nintendo Switch version. This sent a wave of fury across the industry that was eventually picked up by the mainstream press. For a company that is purportedly, “For the Players,” Sony’s stance on cross-play for titles like Fortnite has been mind-boggling.
Hopefully, that stance might be changing. Speaking with Eurogamer at the Gamelab conference in Spain, Sony Interactive Entertainment boss Shawn Layden made his first public comments concerning the backlash:
“We’re hearing it. We’re looking at a lot of the possibilities. You can imagine that the circumstances around that affect a lot more than just one game. I’m confident we’ll get to a solution which will be understood and accepted by our gaming community, while at the same time supporting our business.”
While Sony hasn’t been forthright about why cross-play, a former employee suggested the culprit is money. Earlier this month, John Smedley, ex-boss at Daybreak, formerly Sony Online Entertainment, revealed that SIE didn’t want cross-play with Xbox because they’d miss out on money. If you buy a skin on the Xbox or Switch version of Fortnite, Sony wouldn’t see a dime. It appears that neither Microsoft or Nintendo are phased by this. Instead, they’ve consistently teamed up these past few weeks to highlight cross-play functionality across numerous titles.
Whether or not Layden’s statement leads to Sony adopting cross-play into the PS4 ecosystem remains a mystery. SIE could end up opening the floodgates, or keeping them shut and only continuing to allow cross-play with PC and mobile devices. Hopefully, its the former instead of the latter.