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Xbox and Nintendo speak out against Fortnite PS4 stalemate

Phil Spencer and Reggie Fils-Aime both want their customers to play with and across other consoles

Both Microsoft and Nintendo have spoken out in disagreement with Sony's stance on cross-play and cross-platform account access in Fortnite - the second consecutive E3 that PlayStation has been in this position.

While Sony showcased on extremely promising software line-up at E3, arguably the biggest story in which it has featured has been entirely negative. The Switch version of Fortnite does not allow cross-play with PlayStation 4, and PS4 owners are unable to access their Epic accounts on Nintendo's device.

The Fortnite community is justifiably angry, and Sony's evasive statement on the matter has been met with nothing but widespread derision.

That extends to its two rivals in the console market, Microsoft and Nintendo, both of which have discussed the issue in predictably measured but unmistakably disapproving terms.

"If it doesn't help the developers and it doesn't help the consumer, then it doesn't feel like it helps to grow gaming"

Phil Spencer

Speaking to Giant Bomb, Xbox head Phil Spencer expressed disappointment at a situation that seems no closer to a resolution than last year, when Sony faced similar criticism over the PlayStation version of Minecraft.

said that Sony's refusal to open its platform to other consoles, "doesn't feel like it helps grow gaming to me."

"If you bought your son, your child, an Xbox, and I bought my child a PlayStation - and I'm just a parent, it's their birthday, whatever - and the kids want to go play Fortnite and they all of a sudden go home and can't play with each other... it doesn't feel like it helps the consumers," he said. "If it doesn't help the developers and it doesn't help the consumer, then it doesn't feel like it helps to grow gaming to me."

Spencer added: "I get the business side of it, and I'm not going to judge anybody else making their decisions because they've got to run their business... Our goal is to be relevant and important to every gamer on the planet. If people want to go buy someone else's console and play games there, great, as long as we're all leaning in to how do we make this business for everybody as vibrant as possible."

Nintendo of America's Reggie Fils-Aime offered a similar line in diplomatic disagreement to Polygon, explaining the issue as one defined by three separate forces.

"You have companies like mine that encourage cross-play and enable cross-play. You have a developer and content owner that wants cross-play and is encouraging cross-play, and then you have the other platform holders and what it is that they do," he said

"And when it comes to other platform holders, as much as you have influence on other platform holders, I don't. And that's a decision that each of them are making, and some are supporting cross-play and some are not."

Fortnite now has at least 127 million players, two million of which downloaded the Switch version within 24 hours of it launching during the E3 Nintendo Direct.

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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.