Sony has finally fixed its biggest PlayStation failing, albeit indirectly and with little fanfare. In what has been an arduous and at times painful feet dragging slog spanning multiple years, PlayStation 4’s cross-play functionality is now no longer in the beta stage as reported by Wired.
Sony is now allowing developers to implement cross-platform capabilities as a full feature in their games if they so desire.
According to the brief mention of cross-play in the Wired story, there’s a suggestion that Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will be the first upcoming game to make full use of the new inhibited open service.
Despite the absence of an official statement from Sony, the news is seemingly corroborated by Tuesday’s announcement that limited PUBG cross-play tests were in full swing with a shared matchmaking pool between PlayStation 4 and Xbox One players.
Suggestions that the PlayStation 4 needed cross-play functionality saw Sony repeatedly bury its head in the sand, citing nebulous barriers linked to protecting its player base, specifically in reference to Minecraft and the company’s duty to protect younger players from the malice of lawless external influences. In reality, much of the push back appeared to stem from a desire to maintain a closed-circuit PlayStation eco-system.
This was back in 2017 when Microsoft and Nintendo were making significant inroads in cross-platform multiplayer with titles like Rocket League and Minecraft.
Caving to pressure from developers and players alike and fearful of missing out of the Fortnite phenomenon and its cross-platform popularity, Sony pivoted in September last year and announced it was embracing cross-play after a ‘comprehensive evaluation process.’ Sony nevertheless laid down some conditions, chiefly a beta phase with only a handpicked lineup of titles involved.
The beta phase began in earnest shortly after including, at first, Fortnite and Rocket League, before extending to Paladins, Smite, and Dauntless among others.
From there, matters edged forward, punctuated by a finger pointing back and forth with developer Chucklefish when ex-Sony executive Shawn Layden stated that cross-play was ready for action and all game makers had to do was ask.
Chucklefish CEO, Finn Brice, explained that Sony had outright refused previous requests for cross-play support, characterizing the company’s actions as an exercise in favoritism as it granted permission to only the biggest titles.
With restrictions lifted and PlayStation 4 cross-play seemingly out in the open, we should see a flurry of announcements as developers finally have the nod to implement the long-requested feature.