“Microsoft and Nintendo sittin' in a tree, c-r-o-s-s-p-l-a-y-i-n-g.”
June 27, 2018 12:28 PM   Subscribe

Fortnite Is Bad But Sony's Refusal to Play Nice Is Worse [Gizmodo]Earlier this week, Nintendo delighted Fortnite fans by announcing that the game, which might just be the most popular game being played right now, was coming to the Switch immediately. Even better, Switch players would be able to compete with PC and Xbox players, too—instant digital distribution and multiplayer open to all! Nintendo’s announcement felt like a dream come true after years of console makers refusing to play nice. But it isn’t a dream, because Sony continues to flip the bird to its competitors and Fortnite players on the PS4 are being left out in the cold, unable to play with Xbox or Switch gamers.”

• Nintendo And Microsoft Are Rubbing Sony's Face In It [Kotaku][YouTube]
“Some of the world’s biggest games, from Fortnite to Minecraft to Rocket League, all support some variety of crossplay, allowing people with PCs, Xbox Ones, mobiles and Nintendo consoles to play on the same servers. Yet Sony continues to refuse to allow PlayStation consoles to get in on the fun when it comes to playing with Microsoft or Nintendo consoles. In the wake of E3 and the disappointment of Fortnite’s account locking, then, two of the companies that do allow crossplay have teamed up to take a swing at the PlayStation 4 with this commercial for Minecraft, a game that’s also available on PS4.”
• If Fortnite and Minecraft Can't Make Sony Support Cross-Play, Nothing Will [US|Gamer]
“Earlier this week, former Daybreak Game Company president John Smedley tweeted (though he has since removed the tweet) that during his time at Sony the reason was simple: money. "When I was at Sony, the stated reason internally for this was money," Smedley tweeted. "They didn't like someone buying something on an Xbox and it being used on a Playstation. [S]imple as that. Dumb reason, but there it is." That, obviously, ties a little bit into the stakeholders conversation spurred by Ryan. Ryan's interview in 2017 was in response to the then-recent news of both Minecraft and Rocket League offering cross-play between consoles (on the latter, only PS4 and PC or Xbox One and PC are possible for cross-play), with the exception of Sony. Ryan went on to point to the young demographic of Minecraft in particular, and that Sony has to be careful of "external influences." And yet Nintendo, perhaps the most kid-friendly and kid-centric console platform out there, has just made cross-play on Minecraft available. So what gives?”
• How Fortnite trapped Sony, and what happens next [Polygon]
“So why is Sony swimming so hard against the tide? Well, the PlayStation 4 is on top, the best-selling home console of this generation, and Sony thinks that keeping its garden walled is an important factor in maintaining its lead. It doesn’t want to share its players with anyone else, for any reason. “It’s certainly not a profound philosophical stance we have against this,” PlayStation global sales and marketing head Jim Ryan told Eurogamer during E3 2017. “We’ve done it in the past. We’re always open to conversations with any developer or publisher who wants to talk about it. Unfortunately it’s a commercial discussion between ourselves and other stakeholders, and I’m not going to get into the detail of that on this particular instance. And I can see your eyes rolling.” Microsoft and Nintendo seem to see cross-platform play in games like Fortnite as something that benefits both their respective platforms. Sony seems to view it as a potential liability. So here we are. But why is dealing with this particular controversy, with this particular game, so challenging?”
• Sony ‘confident’ it’ll find a Fortnite cross-play solution [The Verge]
“Sony appears to have listened to some of the feedback over its controversial decision to block cross-play on Fortnite. The company’s initial weak response did very little to calm angry fans that can’t use a Fortnite account that’s been used on the PS4 with the Nintendo Switch. Despite that, Sony has clearly been listening to the feedback. In an interview with Eurogamer, Shawn Layden, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment America, offers up some hope to fans:
We’re hearing it. 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.””
posted by Fizz (33 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Depends on the game. The main title I play with crossplay is Rocket League, where I would guess 95% of PC players use a controller.

I think ultimately the more significant outcome of this would be cross console play, though.
posted by selfnoise at 12:46 PM on June 27, 2018

"I’m not too upset about this, largely because I hate Fortnite, which feels like a sloppy combination of game types thrust into a cartoonish world that lacks any real style. Like, do I really want to play a battleroyale game sanitized for tweens and then raked over the Minecraft coals? Fuck no."

Get off it. I have no horse in this race, I could just as blithely dismiss the entire battleroyale format in the same tone as the author here. It's just irrelevant, though. Why even include it in the article, was that snippy videogame jusgement fart itself out and the author loved the smell so much they just had to share it? Even the title has this nonsense in it. Fortnite is bad? The "bad thing" about it was that they don't like it, and not liking something is wholly irrelevant to whether that thngn is good or bad.
posted by GoblinHoney at 12:51 PM on June 27, 2018 [11 favorites]

Sony's decisions make no sense. They allow crossplay with PC, which is the most likely platform someone would "upgrade" to from their platform. A move to an xbox just doesn't seem as likely, and is something I've never anecdotally come across. I guess I can kinda see it with the Switch, though I think they're burning enough good will that that doesn't make sense either.
posted by Dysk at 12:59 PM on June 27, 2018

As a FFXIV player, I find Microsoft's attitude here to be incredibly hypocritical. For those who don't know, the ARR team did look at cross-play with the Xbox One, but MS refused to allow it, so they chose not to make a client for the Xbox One. (This was also the reason why Elder Scrolls Online shipped with platform segregated shards - MS wouldn't allow cross-play shards.)
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:03 PM on June 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

They might not move now, but if crossplay becomes the accepted standard it would be easier to move when the generations tick up. Sony has a large lead they'd like to lock in.

Plus, Sony doesn't make 30% off cosmetic micro transactions if you don't happen to be playing on their console that day.
posted by selfnoise at 1:05 PM on June 27, 2018

Sony's decisions make perfect sense. They are the market leader, so the majority of players are going to be playing on a playstation. Want to play with your friends? Fuck you buy a playstation like your friends did.

That was Microsoft's stance while they were number one too. Hopefully Sony succumbs to pressure so that, going forward, cross play is the norm.
posted by graventy at 1:09 PM on June 27, 2018 [4 favorites]

They're aiming with a mouse, and I've got analog sticks. How can that be balanced?
That's definitely been a criticism. Because I believe there's aim assist with console and that definitely privileges those players when they're on the same field as someone who is playing mobile on their iPad.

That being said, I still think that it should just be open and cross-play for everyone. The main issue that is driving people bonkers is that in creating a new account for the Switch, you lose all your progress and purchases for any existing account you had on mobile or with PC. That just feels really shitty.
posted by Fizz at 1:29 PM on June 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Sony's decisions make perfect sense. They are the market leader, so the majority of players are going to be playing on a playstation.

Not for most of the games where we're talking crossplay, they're not. Steam/PC tends to be easily the biggest player.
posted by Dysk at 1:38 PM on June 27, 2018

...Oh, you don't mean that kind of crossplay...
posted by J.K. Seazer at 1:43 PM on June 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

The article mentions that PS4 has crossplay with Apple/PC/Android/iOS, but not with the other console competitors. How does that work? Like, if the PC player creates a game, and invites the PS4 player, and then invites a Switch player, what happens?
posted by explosion at 1:50 PM on June 27, 2018

Like, I can see why they wouldn't want to allow people to migrate accounts and what have you, but just crossplay as in letting you shoot people sitting at an xbox? When they're fine with letting you shoot people sitting at a PC?
posted by Dysk at 1:55 PM on June 27, 2018

I wouldn't want to play with PC players though if I were playing on a console. They're aiming with a mouse, and I've got analog sticks. How can that be balanced?

At least on the Switch version of Fortnite crossplay is a setting you have to pick, by default you only play with other Switch players. And in Minecraft balance is not really a thing.
posted by Memo at 2:24 PM on June 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

They're aiming with a mouse, and I've got analog sticks. How can that be balanced?

The short answer is "aim assist", but the longer answer is "it's Fortnite and it's really not about aiming." We play a lot of Fortnite in my house. It's not clear we do anything else, in fact. I'm on PC. Senior son is on IOS. Junior son is on PS4. AMA.

We all do about the same except that Junior does best because he's just plain better at the game and he can build and run backwards at the same time.

I play some on my Switch as well because I can link it to my PC account, but that's the one platform where I think control is a real issue. Joycon is ... suboptimal.
posted by The Bellman at 2:28 PM on June 27, 2018

Not trying to derail my own thread, but is this where we can discuss how Sony seems to be making really weird/backwards decisions like this (because they're king of the hill at the moment and can do whatever the fuck they want), while Microsoft seems to be seemingly doing things the right way for a change.

Microsoft has pretty much lost this generations console war but I feel like they're set up to win the next one: full backwards compatibility for all Xbox games, that new controller to help people with mobility/accessibility. They're setting themselves up for he next generation in 2020 in such smart ways.

Sony can afford to be that asshole kid on the playground right now but I wonder at how long that will last. You can only be that kid for so long. Even with all their exclusive games, it feels like they're setting themselves up for failure in the long run.
posted by Fizz at 2:34 PM on June 27, 2018

Well, if both consoles stay on x86 platforms (and it's hard to imagine anything else happening) then backwards compatibility will probably be in place for both consoles. I think Sony will do it because they will hope to retain their gains from the prior generation rather than hitting the total reset button as has happened in the past. That's probably why Microsoft is being so aggressive with changes; they know they can't rely on that generational reset to give them a change to claw back marketshare.

Honestly, it's kind of hard to imagine how the next-gen consoles will be significantly different hardware-wise; both platform holders are now beholden to the same vendors and will be picking from the same pool of hardware. Again, barring some kind of dramatic risk taking.
posted by selfnoise at 3:34 PM on June 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Funny. In the camera world, Sony is regarded (except by fanboys of other manufacturers, don't get me started on camera fanboyism) as the smartest and most innovative of the major players, and has a reputation for being the one camera maker that actually listens to photographers and then tries to give them what they've been asking for. They've been absolutely on fire for the last couple of years and are doing well from it. Odd to me that their gaming division seems to be more interested in protecting their turf than making their customers happy, at least in this instance I guess. When you have a customer base that's as—I'll go with "passionate" for charity's sake—as passionate as camera gearheads and gamers can be, it pays cash money to give them what they want. And it seems crystal clear, even as somebody who's not so much on the sidelines of the games industry as he is way out in the bleachers beyond the outfield, that gamers want to be able to play their games with each other. Such an odd, spiteful-seeming move.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:35 PM on June 27, 2018

Sony seems for a while to have been really into NIH (hey there Memory Stick storage for PSP). Funny how their tune changed after they went from a second-place position with the PS3 to a commanding lead with the PS4.

The dumb thing is that “we have a smaller potential player base to be connected with” is a pretty hard thing to spin as a positive even on its face, and it’s not like people are going to buy an Xbox and throw away their PS4. There’s a case to be made for worries that players will buy in-game cosmetics on a different platform, but it seems almost certain that the aggregate profits wouldn’t take a huge hit by opening crossplay back up.

I’m not a Fortnite player, so I don’t have a horse in this fight, but the way I see this shaking out is that I think it’s highly unlikely that Sony will make any broad policy changes here. The most likely outcome, I think, is that Sony either continues to do nothing or unlocks Epic accounts from being used on Steam. I think the best-case scenario is crossplay for this one specific game. I can’t imagine Sony changing their policy across the board — I don’t foresee Rocket League crossplay between PS4 and other consoles, for example.

Would be nice, though. The main dev of Fantasy Strike has spent a lot of time in Discord frustrated that Sony prohibits inter-platform crossplay, because it would be obviously good for his own game to have more potential opponents for everyone. So it goes, I suppose.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:36 PM on June 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh god, Sony uses Memory Stick on their gaming devices? Is that what's keeping it alive? Their cameras all have SD card slots that are cross-compatible with Memory Stick, which for handwavey technical reasons means they can only support SD cards up to UHS-I, rather than the much faster UHS-II standard. Which matters, because their cameras have some of the fastest burst rates out there and lock you out of some menus when they're writing to the card, making the lack of UHS-II compatibility one of those niggling, irritating limitations that everybody in the camera world has been hoping Sony would deal with for the last year or so. Absolutely zero photographers use Memory Stick for image recording, because it is trash. It hasn't been competitive since approximately around the time the Bering Land Bridge sank beneath the waves. Baffling.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:56 PM on June 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

No, they do not.
posted by selfnoise at 3:57 PM on June 27, 2018

I think one of the main concerns for Sony is that cross-play, in general, will relieve pressure to buy a PS4.

As it stands now your friends are more likely to have PS4's than anything else. So, if you are looking for a console, it's more likely that you'll jump to Sony, because you'll want to play with your friends. If you can play the most popular games with anyone, regardless of your systems, then you have less reason to pick the PS4 over the Switch or Xbox.

It's not irrational, but it certainly prioritizes short term financial gains over customer preference. And, in the next gen I'd bet a ton of money that Microsoft and Nintendo will be advertising cross-platform connectivity right from the beginning. And I'd bet that that message will have a noticeable affect. Without the advantage of their current-gen install base, Sony will have to capitulate eventually.
posted by oddman at 5:00 PM on June 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the damage is happening to the future, not the present. Sony has demonstrated a pretty stark indifference to what customers would actually like, making up for Microsoft's series of unforced errors at the beginning of the current console generation. Meanwhile, Nintendo is still off doing their own thing, and they have developed a platform that everyone wants, even if they already have a commodity Sony/Microsoft console, because it offers a unique value proposition beyond "a bit cheaper" or "four or five exclusive games."
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:42 PM on June 27, 2018

But goddamn I will fight for those annoying little twerps to play together and carry all the stupid loot they accrue on their account from one system to the next. As obnoxious as Fortnite is, Sony’s steadfast refusal to play nice is worse.

The real issue for me is this kind of shitty game journalism. People who play fortnight are 'annoying little twerps'? Seriously?

I think Gizmodo needs to clear out it's contingent of entitled man-boys and look for people with, I don't know, journalism degrees?
posted by signal at 6:49 PM on June 27, 2018

It always amazes me how everything seems to be forgotten every few years. Sony's choices in this matter have nothing to do with their present position of strength in the console market. Let's not forget that the 360 beat the pants off the PS3 for mostly the same reasons the PS4 has been succeeding over the One that have nothing to do with Sony's depressingly consistent anti-consumer biases.

Perhaps if journalists, Microsoft, and Sony all had actual institutional memory stagnation we wouldn't be having the same arguments over the same stuff we've been arguing about for over a decade and maybe the companies would have more consistent market positions.

Sadly, this phenomenon is by no means limited to gaming. It's becoming so pervasive that the rare few who don't participate are heralded as geniuses changing the world when, for the most part, they just remember that the people who went before us have tried similar things that can inform our future endeavors and help us succeed if we acknowledge that we are in fact standing on the shoulders of giants in nearly everything we do.
posted by wierdo at 8:42 PM on June 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The: "Odd to me that their gaming division seems to be more interested in protecting their turf than making their customers happy, at least in this instance I guess. "

They've always been like that. Remember the Sony Root-Kit? Or their firmware upgrades that removed previously advertised features of their consoles. And Sony has always been trying to lock people in with leading edge technology. The marginal SD support in favour of Memory Stick you outlined is classic Sony. They were pulling that game as far back as when Memory Stick was a upgrade to floppy based cameras and the alternative was inferior (at the time) but open CF cards.

Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The: "In the camera world, Sony is regarded (except by fanboys of other manufacturers, don't get me started on camera fanboyism) as the smartest and most innovative of the major players, and has a reputation for being the one camera maker that actually listens to photographers and then tries to give them what they've been asking for."

Well Sony has the advantage that they started with a clean digital SLR slate, everybody else pretty much had to maintain backwards compatibility with their film offerings. I really hope that 10 years from now you'll still be able to buy a new modern DSLR from anyone but Sony.
posted by Mitheral at 11:32 PM on June 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

Oh god, Sony uses Memory Stick on their gaming devices?

Naw, that was just for PSP. The Vita uses its own proprietary Vita memory, which is predictably expensive and size-limited and has me buying games on physical media when I otherwise have no desire to do so, because I've got no extra space on my stupid Vita memory cards.

I hear it's possible to mod a 3G Vita to use a normal microSD card in the sim card slot. I don't like the idea of bricking the thing, but it's definitely a tempting prospect, especially with physical releases for Vita being scrapped soonish.
posted by asperity at 11:34 PM on June 27, 2018

They were pulling that game as far back as when Memory Stick was a upgrade to floppy based cameras and the alternative was inferior (at the time) but open CF cards.

Excuse me but you seem to be forgetting that before making their own memory card format they first thought it was a great idea to go from cameras with built-in floppy drives to cameras with built-in CD-RW drives that used miniature discs. (Ever wonder what the little circular depression in old-school tray-based CD drives was? That was where you put the miniature version of CDs).

(why yes I did own a CDRW-based Mavica back in the day)
posted by tocts at 7:05 AM on June 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Hey now, don’t forget about the camcorders Panasonic put out that recorded video to DVD-RAM cartridges. Even more absurd than the mini-CDs imo.

As far as Fortnite goes, yeah, I have a PS4 and my wife has a Switch and it’s annoying that we can’t play together unless I move to the PC. But I tried Fortnite on the PC and was kind of shocked at how years of console gaming have ruined the AWSD skills I used to have on the computer keyboard back in the day. (I’m old, so I don’t know if I can ever get them back.)
posted by Mothlight at 7:12 AM on June 28, 2018

I (well the place I worked) had both the floppy and the miniCD Mavicas. They were perfect for a camera to lend out. During their period every machine had the appropriate drive and the media was pretty cheap.
posted by Mitheral at 1:05 PM on June 28, 2018

Yeah, the floppy disk Mavica was genuinely brilliant, back when everyone still had floppy drives. You couldn't get very high-res photos, or very many, but you also didn't need to get a special adapter just to get the data onto your computer, either (which in those days generally meant installing device drivers)
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:43 PM on June 28, 2018

I really hope that 10 years from now you'll still be able to buy a new modern DSLR from anyone but Sony.

This is a derail, but in ten years I'll be surprised if DSLRs even exist. It'll all be MILCs by then, I think. And with the rate at which smartphone manufacturers are just absolutely eating camera manufacturers' lunches, maybe not even that. Camera makers have been extremely stagnant for years now, while smartphone manufacturers have been innovating their cameras at supersonic speeds. Now that we're starting to be able to simulate some of the optical effects of traditional camera lenses through computational photography, camera makers ought to be absolutely terrified. We're beginning to see image quality become decoupled from sensor size, as well—again through the use of computational techniques. And, well, without optical effects or better image quality, why would anyone buy a dedicated camera?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:16 PM on June 28, 2018

Because a smart phone form factor blows chunks compared to a DSLR (or MILC I suppose but there are advantages to a prism still) when it comes to taking pictures. There are 9 buttons and 3 controls I routinely use every time I take a picture with my SLR. I can adjust them in fractions of a second. There is no way you'll ever get that sort of functionality in a smart phone. And DSLRs are essentially feature complete; there isn't a large R&D budget to contribute fixed costs. I bet someone will be making DSLRs; just hope it isn't only Sony.
posted by Mitheral at 6:51 PM on June 28, 2018

Another move where Sony has opted to not allow cross-play despite a game developer being all for it:

Fallout 76 won’t have cross-platform play because of Sony [The Verge]
“Earlier this month at E3, Bethesda unveiled a new Fallout game: Fallout 76, an online, multiplayer survival game. The game will be available on the Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PCs when it’s launched this November, but according to the game’s director, it won’t allow for cross-play, because of Sony.

Todd Howard told GameStar.de (via CNet) that “we would love to do [cross-play]” in Fallout 76, “but right now that’s not possible.” The reason, he says, is Sony, which is “not as helpful as everyone would like it.” ”
posted by Fizz at 6:27 AM on July 2, 2018

For those asking how PC and console players match up in fortnite: Typically you don't. If you are on console or phone, you are only matched against PC players if you are playing in a group with a PC player. (Likewise, I think phone players are only matched against console players if playing with a console player)

Which means that normally you play against people on a similar device to you, but if I (PC) want to play with my Dad and brother (PS4) and girlfriend (mobile), we can all play together.

(Also, yes, you can crossplay PC-mobile-PS4. Sony only considers other consoles competition it seems).
posted by Canageek at 7:20 AM on July 5, 2018

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