Sony Online Entertainment Ex-CEO Says Money Is The Reason For Crossplay Account Block
When Fortnite launched on Switch last week, it confirmed a theory players had about carrying over your Epic account between platforms. While your Epic account and all your Fortnite purchases are supposed to be movable to whatever platform you like, be it PC, mobile, or yes, even Switch and Xbox One, trying to use an account that has ever been used on a PlayStation 4 on the Xbox produced an inscrutable error. The error got more definition and clarity when the game launched on Switch, where it would produce the following error message:
"This Fortnite account is associated with a platform that does not allow it to operate on Switch. Neither the Fortnite website nor Epic Customer Service are able to change this. To play Fortnite on Switch, please create a new account."
To clarify, this error does not occur if you take a Switch account to Xbox One or vise-versa or either account to PlayStation 4, but an account used on PlayStation 4 even once regardless of origin is locked to that system, PC, and mobile. This includes all progress and purchases, like Fortnite's Battle Pass, as well. This stunned a lot of people who weren't aware of this policy and has put public pressure on Sony to change their their restrictive and decidedly unclear policy on the subject.
On Twitter, John Smedley, former CEO of Sony Online Entertainment, replied to Kinda Funny's Greg Miller on the subject, stating that the internal Sony reasoning for this came down to money.
btw when I was at Sony, the stated reason internally for this was money. They didn't like someone buying something on an Xbox and it being used on a Playstation. simple as that. dumb reason, but there it is.— John Smedley (@j_smedley) June 18, 2018
"When I was at Sony, the stated reason internally for this was money," Smedley said. "They didn't like someone buying something on an Xbox and it being used on a Playstation. Simple as that. Dumb reason, but there it is."
The tweet was a follow up to Smedley saying "If we keep the pressure up [on Sony] this problem goes away."
Due to the growing backlash, Sony issued a statement on the Fortnite blocks, choosing to focus more on the question of crossplay rather than accounts. In a statement issued to BBC, Sony said ”We’re always open to hearing what the PlayStation community is interested in to enhance their gaming experience. Fortnite is already a huge hit with PS4 fans, offering a true free-to-play experience so gamers can jump in and play online. With 79 million PS4s sold around the world and more than 80 million monthly active users on PlayStation Network, we’ve built a huge community of gamers who can play together on Fortnite and all online titles. We also offer Fortnite cross-play support with PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices, expanding the opportunity for Fortnite fans on PS4 to play with even more gamers on other platforms.”
It's no surprise to anyone out there that Sony's primary concern when it comes to crossplay is money, but the account blocking at this point just seems like bad PR. Crossplay is one thing – a dumb thing, but an entirely different thing – but making the accounts incompatible feels petty.