LICENSING NEWS

Fortnite players angry at “cross-play” restrictions

Published on: 15th June 2018

Sony chiefs are under pressure to respond to complaints about restrictions imposed on the game.

As reported by the BBC, gamers have discovered that if they had first played the title on a PlayStation console, they are unable to use the same Fortnite account with the newly released Nintendo Switch edition.

This prevents them from being able to make use of outfits and other in-game purchases and rewards they had accrued.

There is no such limitation when moving between the Xbox One and Switch.

Gamers were already unable to share a Fortnite account between Microsoft and Sony’s platforms. But the appeal of the Switch is that its portable nature allows owners to play when away from home, and so many have bought it as a second games machine.

Sony has yet to confirm it is responsible for the constraint.

Both Microsoft and Fortnite publisher Epic Games have previously indicated that the Japanese company had chosen to prevent PlayStation gamers competing against other console owners in the title’s multi-player fight-to-the-death Battle Royale mode.

Sony has faced criticism for blocking cross-play in other titles in the past, including Minecraft and Rocket League, but the sheer scale of Fortnite’s success means the backlash has the potential to be more damaging this time round.

Epic said this week that the title has amassed 125m players worldwide. And Nintendo has announced that its free-to-play version of the game was downloaded more than 2m times in the 24 hours after its release on the Switch on Tuesday.

Complaints about the matter are already threatening to overshadow Sony’s publicity efforts at the E3 video games show in Los Angeles. The PlayStation 4 is the strongest selling console of this generation by a large margin, but one industry watcher said that this did not make it immune to attack.

Samantha Loveridge, associate editor of GamesRadar+, commented: “Sony has got to be very careful about how it manages the situation. Fortnite is absolutely massive and it’s only going to get bigger – it’s about to come to Android – so Sony has got to start thinking about its closed-garden ecosystem. One way or another, gamers deserve an explanation as to why this compatibility issue exists.”

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