It wasn’t too long ago that Sofny was very uneasy about the idea of cross-play. Given Sony’s position as the leader for this generation, that hesitancy wasn’t very surprising, but then Fortnite happened and made Sony reconsider its stance. For Fortnite, Sony launched cross-play functionality in beta, allowing PS4 users to play with those using other platforms.
We’re about to see a lot more cross-play functionality in PS4 games, as the company has now moved cross-play out of beta after months of testing. This news is actually a footnote in a longer Wired profile about PlayStation Now. Yesterday, Sony cut the price of PlayStation Now in half and added a handful of big-name PS4 games to the service, including God of War.
Wired explains that Sony isn’t announcing this cross-play exit from beta “explicitly,” but that we should still see more games leveraging this capability nonetheless. With cross-play functionality now officially launched, any studio can add it to their games. Apparently, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which releases on October 25th, could be the first game to take advantage of post-beta PS4 cross-play.
Cross-play between consoles is something that has been talked about for years but never really gained any traction with platform holders until just recently. Fortnite, the global phenomenon that it is, certainly helped shift Sony’s opinion on the matter, as did Microsoft’s attempts to implement cross-platform multiplayer that bridged the gap between PC, mobile, and consoles in Minecraft.
In that Wired write-up, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan suggests that the change of heart on cross-play comes from his desire to not become complacent with being the sales leader for this generation. “The track record of the incumbent platform winning the next time around is not a great one,” he said. “So the major thrust of my executive energy is to avoid complacency.”
Perhaps that means cross-play will be a day one feature in the next PlayStation? That’s far from confirmed, but hopefully we don’t take a step back on the cross-play thing as we transition into the next generation of gaming hardware. For now, though, get ready to see a larger number of games that support cross-play on the PlayStation 4.