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PlayStation 4 owners can't access Fortnite accounts on Switch

Update: Sony issues response, side-steps complaints around lack of cross-play and inability to access saved progress

Update: Sony has addressed the widespread complaints about the lack of cross-play between the PS4 and Switch versions of Fortnite, and the issues PS4 owners have faced accessing their Epic accounts on Nintendo's device.

However, the statement (per The Verge) is unlikely to be welcomed by those affected, as it largely side-steps the reason why its customers feel aggrieved. Instead, Sony emphasised the size of the PlayStation 4 audience and the fact that Fortnite can still be played with PC and mobile users. Here's the statement in full:"

"We're always open to hearing what the PlayStation community is interested in to enhance their gaming experience. Fortnite is already a huge hit with PS4 fans, offering a true free-to-play experience so gamers can jump in and play online.

"With 79 million PS4s sold around the world and more than 80 million monthly active users on PlayStation Network, we've built a huge community of gamers who can play together on Fortnite and all online titles. We also offer Fortnite cross-play support with PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices, expanding the opportunity for Fortnite fans on PS4 to play with even more gamers on other platforms.”

Original Story: Sony is once again standing in the way of the industry's drive towards cross-platform experiences, apparently preventing Switch users from accessing progress made in the PlayStation version of Fortnite.

Speaking to The Verge, Epic Games PR rep Nick Chester said that the Switch version of Fortnite - which launched yesterday - will only support cross-play with, "Xbox One, PC, Mac and mobile."

The fact that PlayStation wasn't on that list isn't exactly a surprise at this point. Sony does allow cross-play with PC, Mac and mobile, but it doesn't allow it for Xbox One, and the same is evidently true for Switch.

In addition, PlayStation 4 owners who want to access their Epic account on Switch are being denied, due to most accounts being tied to a PSN username. The same is true for the Xbox One version, but it is arguably more egregious here due to the different use case the Switch presents: the ability to continue playing Fortnite on a portable device with good performance.

Ultimately, this means that Switch users cannot access the progress, skins and emotes they have earned or bought through playing Fortnite on PlayStation 4. The message shown when an Epic account login fails states that, "neither the Fortnite website nor Epic Customer Service are able to change this" - see this image, from Kinda Funny's Greg Miller.

Epic has declined to comment on the situation, but Tim Sweeney has made his stance on cross-platform play abundantly clear in the past. Indeed, Fortnite has soared to 125 million players on the strength of making its battle royale mode free-to-play across as many inter-linked platforms as possible.

Indeed, when Sweeney talked to us at GDC this year, he expressed something close to disbelief that Sony would fence of the 80 million people who own a PlayStation 4. However, he also seemed certain that it was only a matter of time before those last barriers disappear.

"I think it's inevitable now," he said. "Games have become social experiences in the same way that Facebook or Twitter have, and these experiences only really make sense if gamers can communicate with all of their friends.

"For Sony and Microsoft to support their customers well they have to be open to all their customers' friends - their real world friends - otherwise they're breaking up real-world social groups. Like kids in school have their friends, and do you expect this platform schism to divide them into two separate groups that can't play together? No. It's got to come together now.

"That one remaining barrier will inevitably come down."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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