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Sony changes tone on PS4 cross-play with Xbox One, Switch

Shawn Layden says company is hearing the backlash, looking at possibilities and "confident we'll get to a solution" to make everyone happy

While Microsoft and Nintendo have each warmed up to letting their customers enjoy games with the other's, Sony has remained steadfast among the console companies in its refusal to extend such cross-platform multiplayer options beyond PC and mobile. It's possible Sony is softening its stance, judging by comments from Sony Interactive Entertainment America CEO Shawn Layden at the Gamelab conference in Spain today.

When asked about cross-play by Eurogamer at the event, Layden struck a different tone than Sony previously had when talking about the issue.

"We're hearing it," Layden said of the calls for Sony to allow cross-platform multiplayer. "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."

The pressure on Sony to join the crowd in letting its players join the crowds has been turned up lately, ever since the launch of Epic Games' survival shooter Fortnite on Switch. The free-to-play phenomenon was announced and released for Nintendo's console during E3, prompting a rush of players to download it immediately. However, any players who had previously registered their Epic Games accounts on the PlayStation 4 version of the game were told they could not log into the Switch version and carry their progression over.

"This Fortnite account is associated with a platform which does not allow it to operate on Swtich," the game's error message reads, making it abundantly clear where upset gamers should direct their ire. (In March, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said the cross-play barrier between Xbox and PlayStation "will inevitably come down.")

In the days that followed, Microsoft and Nintendo executives further emphasized their desire for cross-play. Last week the two companies worked together on a launch trailer for Minecraft on the Switch that emphasized the game's cross-platform multiplayer, along with the slogan "Better Together."

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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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