Multi-platform play is on the move for Fortnite but it remains to be seen how all these platforms may fit together. This morning The Verge reported that Microsoft is working with Epic Games to get Xbox One included in Fortnite Battle Royale’s new cross-play and cross-progression plans.
But there’s a big difference between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 cooperating with a PC version and even mobile, as was announced yesterday, and cooperating with each other in the same game. The Verge was careful to note that Microsoft did not confirm that the two consoles would be working together on Fortnite Battle Royale. And as was reported yesterday, Fortnite Battle Royale’s integration with a forthcoming mobile game means that mobile users can join into console and PC games, but not vice versa.
Still, it bears watching because we know that cross-console play is possible within this game if all parties agree to it. (And, theoretically at least, that means it’d be the same for any other game available on both consoles.) Back in September, someone at Epic flipped the wrong switch and Fortnite players were briefly able to matchmake across PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Epic Games confirmed the goof after shutting it off.
But PlayStation has remained closed off to working with the Xbox One’s ecosystem even if it cooperates with PC play on other games like Rocket League. Over the summer, Rocket League’s makers said cross-console play (between Xbox One and PS4) was possible but PlayStation had not granted permission for that. Confronted about the comment, a Sony executive said PlayStation was holding out for reasons of online safety or player experience interacting with another platform — an excuse that Xbox boss Phil Spencer didn’t think much of.
So while yesterday’s news release from Epic notably omitted Xbox One from Fortnite’s new mobile plans, Microsoft now says it’s in. With Game Developers Conference 2018 coming in a week, it’s possible we could hear more about this soon, though that show doesn’t feature as many new product announcements as expos like E3 or Gamescom.
However, if these two consoles get together on one game, it will raise the question of why they can’t get together on all games developed for both consoles — which involves publishing partners as much as rival hardware makers.
Update: Epic Games’ Nick Chester confirmed that Xbox One vs. PS4 cross-play still won’t happen. Sure, both consoles will be able to play against PC, Mac, and mobile players, but they’re still not talking to each other.
Xbox One players can play with PC, Mac, and mobile.— Nick Chester (@nickchester) March 10, 2018
PlayStation 4 players can play with PC, Mac, and mobile.