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Playstation boss Shawn Layden explains why PS4 cross-play took so long

“It isn't just about flipping a switch and 'there you go'.”

Last week, Sony Interactive Entertainment finally enabled PlayStation 4 users to play multiplayer games with their friends on other consoles - specifically Fortnite, albeit in a test beta with the suggestion that more titles may follow.

It's a feature consumers and developers alike have been demanding from Sony for a couple of years now and Shawn Layden, chairman of SIE Worldwide Studios, has discussed why it took the platform holder so long to comply.

Speaking on the latest episode of PlayStation Blogcast, as spotted by Eurogamer, the exec attributed it to a myriad of technical, business and customer service issues.

"We know this is a want, this is a desire, and we want to be able to deliver that in the best way possible," he said. "Now, enabling cross-play isn't just about flipping a switch and 'there you go'. It's a very multi-dimensional kind of attribute or feature.

"So we had to look at it from a technical point of view, we have to work with our partners from a business point of view, we have to make sure that if we enabled this, do we have the right customer service support, do we have the right messaging out there, do we have all these different things that you have to get in line? It's rather ordinal - they have to go in a certain order to get them all set up."

Layden's comments suggest a strong focus on quality, perhaps backed up by Sony's previous statement that it wasn't enabling cross-play because it wanted PlayStation 4 to be the best place to play.

However, Eurogamer points out cross-play in Fortnite is as simple as flipping as switch - at least from Epic's perspective - as the developer accidentally connected PS4 and Xbox One players a year ago.

Layden went on to say ensuring everything is in line for PS4 cross-play has "taken us longer certainly than even I would have wanted" and that the beta test for Fortnite seems to be going well so far. Finally, he anticipates that more games will add cross-play "over time" but didn't give any indication as to when we can expect this.

"We're just delighted people are out there getting what they want and not tweeting me so much," he said.

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James Batchelor avatar

James Batchelor


James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at GamesIndustry.biz. He is based in Essex and has been a B2B games journalist since 2006