It is no secret that Sony has hindered cross-play across the PlayStation 4 platform for years, but new confidential documents and emails reveal the extent of the Japanese company’s refusal to allow people to play the same games with their friends across other platforms.
Sony initially banned co-play for both Rocket League and Minecraft, although Nintendo and Microsoft enabled players to jointly play via the Xbox and Switch.
The problem exploded when the Japanese company banned co-playing via Fortnite in 2018. It now appears that Sony may be sticking to the potential revenue losses.
In the months leading up to its decision to ban cross-play via Fortnite in 2018, Epic Games appealed to Sony to enable the feature, as emails revealed in the Epic Games case against Apple.
And Epic Games said: When Fortnite became the biggest game on PlayStation, we proposed Joint play announced with Sony, and we did our best to make Sony agree.
Epic Games even offered to promote its presence at E3 with PlayStation or add unique characters, exclusively to PS Plus subscribers, but Sony disagreed.
The Japanese company rejected the idea of joint play, noting that it is not appropriate regardless of the size of the game. “Many companies are exploring this idea and no one can explain how co-gaming improves the PlayStation business,” she said.
But as of August 2019, it appears that the Japanese company has found a way to get money from its competitors in exchange for access to PlayStation players.
A document titled “Crossplay Policy, Requirements and Process” from August 2019 (after Sony’s change) reveals how Sony can now deal with co-play.
The document says: Share gaming revenue sharing, forcing publishers to pay Sony fees when PlayStation players contribute more than a certain percentage to the bottom line, to offset the drop in revenue from enabling Sony to play co-play.
And theConfirmed Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, testifies that Sony is the only platform owner that requires this compensation in exchange for co-play.
Sweeney said: In certain circumstances, we have to pay Sony additional revenue, and if someone primarily plays via PlayStation, but pays via iPhone, that could result in her being compensated.
Sweeney also revealed that Epic Games had to agree to pay these additional fees to the Japanese company in order to enable co-play in Fortnite.
Sony also states in the policy that publishers cannot convert virtual currency to or from PlayStation, and that there should be a setting to disable all cross-platform interactions.
These emails and documents provide just a small glimpse into Sony’s efforts to block co-play at first, before it appears that Epic Games’ success with Fortnite eventually forced the company to compromise.
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