Update: We received comment from an Epic Games spokesperson who told us "We had a configuration issue and it has now been corrected."
Regardless of the fact that the feature appears to now be corrected and the feature is no longer accessible, we've now seen just how possible cross-platform play between PlayStation and Xbox is.
When asked by a fan on Twitter what he thought of the configuration error, Xbox's Phil Spencer replied that he would have been happy for the feature to be left switched on.
I would have liked to see them leave it on.September 18, 2017
Original article continues below...
And they said it couldn’t be done. Actually, maybe it’s more of a case of wouldn’t be done. Regardless, players of Epic Games’ cooperative survival game, Fortnite, are reporting that cross-platform play between PlayStation 4 and Xbox One has been switched on.
Taking to Reddit (opens in new tab), Fortnite players have posted screenshots of their gameplay which appear to show Xbox gamertags appearing in matches being played on PlayStation 4 consoles.
Redditor PRE_-CISION-_ was the first to post an image of an Xbox gamertag appearing in his game and naturally the entire community started digging into the matter. It appears that the player was indeed an Xbox user and that they were playing on an Xbox console, not a PC, meaning it really does appear cross-platform play was happening.
A quiet change
Shortly after, more images appeared on the page with one father and son duo even posting an image (opens in new tab) of them playing side by side on Xbox and PlayStation consoles.
Considering the current stance on cross-platform play between Xbox and PlayStation is that it’s absolutely not happening, this is a surprising development.
This isn’t because such a feature would be impossible to implement, but rather because Sony appears to have no interest in it (opens in new tab). Only recently Rocket League cross-platform play was switched on between Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch while Sony’s PlayStation remained notably absent from the lineup.
Microsoft did, however, say only a month ago that it's currently in talks with Sony over the feature.
Despite Sony’s resistance, developers have said that cross-platform play between Xbox and PlayStation would be relatively easy to make happen. Ark Survival’s developers have told Eurogamer (opens in new tab)that they’d be able to get the feature up and running in no more than “a few days.”
When we interviewed Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney at Gamescom this year, he said that he was a proponent of cross-platform play:
“I guess there’s a bit of Game of Thrones going on in the way that console makers deal with each other” Sweeney told us, “but ultimately there’s huge value in enabling gamers to connect with all of their friends.”
“In any circle of friends there’s going to be PlayStation, Xbox and PC users and all of these platforms would benefit greatly from being open and enabling all of these different gamers to play with their friends,” he said, “I’d love to see some diplomacy. Nations have diplomacy, so maybe console makers could have diplomacy too.
“They’ll find that even though they’re competing on the hardware front there are actually areas of mutual benefit that we should all work together to break down those barriers, for openness and cross play between all platforms. I think all multiplayer games would be better for cross play.”
Considering Epic’s CEO is such a firm believer in the benefits cross-platform play would bring to multiplayer titles it’d be apt that his company’s game was first to test the feature out.
We’ve reached out to Epic Games to ask for comment on these reports and whether or not the feature is deliberate and will update here with any official response.