Epic Accidentally Allows Xbox And PS4 Cross-Play In Fortnite, Disables It

Oops, it looks like for a brief few hours PS4 and Xbox One cross-play was available in Fortnite. Now, Fortnite developer Epic Games says that feature was actually a bug, which the studio is referring to as a "configuration issue" that it says it has fixed.

Fortnite

Console cross-play opens up games' player bases so friends who don't have the same system can game together. For a survival shooter/fort defence game such as Fortnite, playing with friends can mean the difference between victory and, well, carrying three AFK strangers to victory. The problem is, even for games such as Minecraft and Rocket League that offer cross-play between PC, Xbox One, Nintendo systems and mobile phones, Sony almost never wants to play along. With its PS4 dominating the video game console market, Sony has been resistant to fans' calls to allow cross-play with Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

Fortnite lets PC and PS4 players game together, but has announced nothing more with regard to cross-play. So starting two days ago, when Fortnite players on PS4 reported encountering Xbox One players in-game, it came as quite a shock.

A player named PRE_-CISION-_ was among the final five survivors of Fortnite's Battle Royale mode when he was killed by a player with a pretty unconventional name for PS4. Over Reddit private messages, he told me, "I noticed the gamer tag of this dude had a space in it, which was bizarre. I figured it was just the game glitching out so I searched for his tag with an underscore on Playstation Network without any luck." He booted up his Xbox One and typed it in there, "for the hell of it," he said. Immediately, he found the player, whose achievements indicated that he owned Fortnite. After reaching out to the player, PRE_-CISION-_ says he confirmed the identities matched.

On Reddit, another player posted a picture of himself playing against his kid with the PS4 hooked up to one TV and the Xbox One hooked up to another. It was a charming picture, but raised a lot of questions among the community -- why wasn't this great feature announced? Was it a mistake?

Fortnite

Over email, a representative from Epic Games confirmed to Kotaku that, "We had a configuration issue and it has now been corrected." It looks like these brief glimpses of the big, beautiful world of cross-console play were total accidents. But since allowing cross-console play seems to be so easy that a company like Epic can do it by mistake, a lot of players are now asking why the hell there are so many roadblocks to getting the feature.

In a recent interview with Eurogamer, Sony head of global sales and marketing Jim Ryan described Sony's stance against cross-console play as "a commercial discussion between ourselves and our stakeholders" and "not a profound philosophical stance". (Microsoft declined to comment for this article and Sony has not responded to a request for comment). Ryan added, "To my knowledge, there is no live conversation [about cross-console play] ongoing at the moment."

That's unwelcome news for PS4 players who want to game with their friends on Xbox.

"I've been keeping up on the news of crossplay and felt this was a game changer, the world could exist with both major console networks happily together," PRE_-CISION-_ said.


Comments

    I wish everyone had just kept quiet about it :)

      In the harsh reality of day, can you really see that happening? :(

      Not sure why they cant just allow it for specific games, where the platform doesn't matter. Something like Minecraft for example.

    Alternative theory - it was a deliberate move to show how easy it can be achieved. Hard for Sony or other platforms to raise "technical difficulties" or suchlike as a reason for not implementing cross-play (although to be fair, the stated objections do seem to be commercially rather than technically based).

      Mmmm, much like the "test footage" of Deadpool was "leaked" to get the studio to pull their thumbs out and greenlight full production :D

    The problem is, even for games such as Minecraft and Rocket League that offer cross-play between PC, Xbox One, Nintendo systems and mobile phones, Sony almost never wants to play along.

    As per the multiple comments in the article you link to. Sony has the stronger history of cross play than any of the other consoles by a large margin.

    Microsoft didn't want it when they were on top, now Sony doesn't for the same reasons.

      Its surprising how many people forget that. Or weren't aware.

      Exactly, people forget how resistant to cross play Microsoft was in the past.

      It doesn't even have anything to do with cross play this time around, Microsoft has its eyes on a distribution service like Steam, but for everything.

      If you can't lead a market, wall if off.

        Can you explain how you reached your conclusion? It doesn't follow from your premise: crossplay is the opposite of walling anything off, and being a distribution service has no effect on crossplay, as Steam's many crossplay titles demonstrate.

          Because historically it's exactly what happened. At one point, Sony wanted it when MS was in the lead, it would've homogenised the userbase essentially for online play, with everyone essentially able to mix and intermingle, no service would've truly been independent of each other and there would've been no true advantage as such to buying either console when you're really just playing against *everyone* now. MS said no back then and it stopped it. Now MS wants it, Sony says no. I mean regardless of who has the weaker excuse, and both of them had weaker excuses, MS back then said Xbox Live was a closed off community etc and now Sony says 'think of the children!' basically, they both do it for the same reasons.

          Last edited 20/09/17 4:48 pm

            You might have misread the conversation, or my reply might not have been clear enough. Namiwakiru said "if you can't lead the market, wall it off", which seems to be a non sequitur since it's the leader that is doing the walling off, not the one who "can't lead the market". Microsoft in this case isn't trying to wall off anything.

        Walling a market off is just about the worst thing you can do from an economic standpoint...

      Ugh. Why is that relevant? Why do people keep bringing this up?

      Microsoft was the asshole when they were ahead, Sony's the asshole now. Just because Microsoft was the asshole in the past doesn't mean Sony's not being the asshole right now and shouldn't be called out for it.

      The news is: Sony is currently the asshole blocking cross-play. Assholery is assholery, regardless of who's the asshole.

        Well the biggest differences would be the time frame and coverage.

        Microsoft blocked cross play for years and there was very little coverage.
        Sony has been resistant only recently and the coverage is loaded and skewed.

        Sure, it's a dick move, but I don't see a reason to treat Sony any differently than their competitor for doing the exact same thing.

          They're not being treated differently. It's just become more and more clear over time that technology and logistics are not the determining factor behind this assholery, just market advantage.

          Back when Microsoft was doing it, we didn't - generally - know just how easy it was to make all these platforms play nice together. And, to be fair, it quite likely wasn't as easy to make them play nice as it is today. Don't forget that the PS3 was running on a dramatically different architecture, and reliance on cloud technology is a relatively new development.

          Trying to tag every article about what dicks Sony are being right now with, "But don't forget Microsoft were assholes in the past," is just as irrelevant as trying to bring up Germany's past behaviour when criticizing protectionist Brexit bullshit.
          Or rather, it's like when someone's calling out their girlfriend for doing something shitty and she brings up something they did a year ago. Again.

          Who gives a fuck? Two wrongs don't make a right, and what happened then doesn't matter but what's happening now does.

          Last edited 20/09/17 10:37 am

            Speak for yourself, I've known it's been possible since the bloody Dreamcast.

            And yeah they are being treated different, years of resistance and piss all coverage verses only a few years and a flood of click bait "Sony is an evil poop head" stories.

            No two wrongs don't make a right, but treating the same wrong differently is the kind of dishonesty that runs this campaign.

            Don't forget that the PS3 was running on a dramatically different architecture, and reliance on cloud technology is a relatively new development.

            It was proven back with the ps3 that it was possible. They had games at E3 running side by side behind closed doors against each other allegedly at times. For example, Trion with Defiance, who outright said they had it up and running but couldn't because of company politics. The ps3 was difficult to code for, but it wasn't impossible, and the majority of difficulty came at the beginning of its lifetime when people had to adjust from the ease of the ps2 to the new platform of the ps3. New programming environments made games easier to produce, hence its 'renewed life' around half way through its lifespan when it got a major boost and started actually being able to somewhat compete with the Xbox 360 again.

            Why can’t they just allow all consoles and all gamers are allowed to play all games together then everyone will be happy?

      Does that somehow give Sony a free pass to being a jerk now at the detriment of all gamers because someone else onetime long ago was also a jerk? That is such a silly argument to make as we live in the now so the business is held responsible for their actions now.

        No, I'm not excusing them in anyway, just correcting a great omission this article makes.

        Not a free pass, it is just pointing out that it appears whomever the market leader is at the time, is the one that doesn't want cross-play.

        Nobody is excusing, just not acting the fool and holding everyone to different standards while ignoring context.

        Why should I treat Sony any different than Microsoft?
        Because they have deployed strong emotion driven media coverage to back them up?
        Nah mate.

          What are you talking about, you got confused @namiwakiru hold them to the same standard is exactly what I am saying?

          We berated MSFT back in the day for doing this crap now they're doing the right thing, we should now berate Sony for doing this crap. You got your wires crossed if you think I'm defending MSFT, They're both at fault one has just been forced to change and we're discussing the other party(Sony) should also change and allow cross-play.

            Well, if anything, congrats to Nintendo for being ok with it!!!!

    Is Fortnite any good? I was told it had lots of in app purchases? if thats true ill probably pass.

      Progression can be somewhat gated by most of your equipment being acquired through smashing open loot pinatas (in the form of cheerful, talking llamas), which are earned through in-game activities, login bonuses, and... cash. If you're content to level up the stuff that you are guaranteed to be awarded or are happy with the in-game-earned pinatas, then you should be fine.

      Early access has a box price. It's planned to go F2P on launch.

      I enjoy it, but it's quite time-consuming once you start getting up to the higher levels.

        Thanks, I was going to pick it up for 79, but knowing its going F2P ill download it later and flick some money their way if I decided I like it.

        Is there any kind of free roam/exploration?

        I'm still pretty early in and I've been starting missions, filling up on resources, leaving and repeating.
        (Then dying inside when my base setup is woefully impractical)

          Not really. Closest you're going to get is loading a non-timed private mission to load up on resources, then either quickly finish it or quit to take those resources back to your base.

          Probably best just to complete the missions, half the time, and make sure you're doing ones which award raindrops. (It's a crafting material that heavily gates power progression.) Pick some equipment/heroes/survivors you like of epic or legendary rairty, and focus on levelling them exclusively, rather than going broad with variety, or you'll be starved for advancement materials.

          Progression's a little fucked up in early access right now.

            Ah dammit...

            I'm really of two minds on the game, half of me loves it, the other half is wondering what the hell I'm doing.

            I am really enamoured with the building though, it's extremely solid for a game of this genre.
            It's simplified, but its kind of base games of this genre have been sorely lacking. (No pun)
            It's curious how detailed the houses are even though they are really a bare bones mockup with textures, I love that some careful attention to detail can have some promising results.

      I really wanted to like it, but in the end it wouldn't let me. The way the purchase thing is set up kinda put me off too. It's middling. Not terrible, not great.

    I kind of want to know what would happen if a big player just said 'stuff it' and turned on cross play.

    I mean, what would Microsoft stand to lose? They're never going to publish another game on a Sony console, so a ban wouldn't really affect them. And is Sony really going to upset a huge section of their audience by removing or disabling Minecraft?

    At the very least it would be fun to watch.

      Probably just get their asses sued into oblivion.

      Sony: "You can keep cross-play, but you'll be handing over the game's entire lifecycle's worth of profits in damages."

    It would be nice for companies to listen to gamers instead of shareholders. I would welcome cross-platform play. More people to play with/against!

    'Accidentally' ;-)

      This doesn't happen accidentally. It requires code to be written.

        The opposite is probably true in this case. I image all builds have a small platform wrapper around some shared netcode and go through the same server infrastructure, with some kind of platform identifier used to identify the console and wall off users into their own space. It's entirely possible that their server config was setup to allow them to test across all platforms and they accidentally went live with that config.

        It's also entirely possible that they wanted to "accidentally" let people know that this was a limitation enforced by Sony, not a technical limitation :-)

          This is almost certainly the case. Fortnite is made in UE4, which is a universal engine that only targets particular platforms at packaging time.

          The configuration issue could have been server-side, but it could also have been a packaging error that included Xbox details in the PS4 build or vice versa. Hard to say and I doubt we'll find out unless Epic decides to be extra talkative.

        The code may have been written. If it does cross platform, then the whole system might be built around it, with ps4 configed off. I think it already does PC/Mac, maybe?

    But who won? The leet xboxers or the mad skilz ps4ers?!??

    This is what we want to knooow.

    I think I am one of the few people that isn't pro cross platform gaming; or at least I don't want it to be a comon between pc and console.

    It is great in a small selection of titles, but everytime I hear fps or rts cross platform gameplay I cringe. Either the game has to be dumbed down enough mechanically to lower the advantage of mouse users or user assists have to be put in to allow controller players to compete with mouse players.

    Even between consoles however I don't think it is a massive issue. We as consumers decided on which platforms we would invest in knowing cross platform was exceedingly unlikely, we have to live with those decisions and shouldn't be so entitled as to get mad at Sony for protecting their system.

      Clearly, you haven't been following the news and content related to this matter which is ok but the risk you point regarding control schemes and design of games is already something taken into account and most people are looking at cross-play only when it makes sense with titles like Minecraft, Rocket League, and Fortnight which aren't twitch-reaction styled games and play exceedingly well with a controller.

      Also if you follow console news you will see that MSFT themselves are introducing Keyboard & Mouse native to Xbox in the future so that will be a non-issue.

        I have been following it, if you think its only going to be included in games that it makes sense for you are really short sighted, there are already multi platform titles that are simplified for console use. Then there are title like Pubg that for some silly reason think cross platform play will make the game better.

        Also, making a platform support kb&m natively does not fix anything when aim assist will still be on the table for controller users.

          You're guessing now because as games coming out are typically striving for a large fan base and/or eSports leagues they have to ensure balance is kept and at worst they would cross-play for noncompetitive matchmaking unless you got a specific example to reference that happening we should all take a wait and see approach. They can deactivate aim assist when using KBM or add it for all platforms so that is a pointlessly trivial fear to have

        The news, or the emotionally charged and ridicululously obvious media campaign?

        Microsoft is the people's champion and Sony is the evil super Hitler holding back gaming world peace?
        Sounds legitimate.

      Im all for it, but I didn't work myself up in to a tizzy for the countless years Microsoft blocked it
      Sure as shit not going to work myself up in to a tizzy because Sony only just said no in the last couple.
      It's like some kid sitting on a jungle gym pushing everyone else off and then having a sook when he is knocked down, pleading with all the other kids to help him.

      Sad thing is if you google the subject, the kinds of stories you get are strongly worded, emotional bullshit.
      Sadder thing is people love that crap and are acting like Microsoft isn't......well, Microsoft.

    Only way to make Sony or ANY company to change their stance on anti cross play is to hit them where it hurts by not buying anymore of their BS they are selling tell they change their ways! Take away what they want and results will come, they tend to hear loud and clear when money goes to their competition!

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