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Borderlands 3 maker forced to block cross-play on PS5, PS4

PlayStation fans will miss out once again

A military character in Borderlands 3 pounds on an enemy with a machine gun. Image: Gearbox Software/2K Games
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Borderlands 3 players will soon be able to group up together to hunt for loot across the galaxy across platforms — unless their friends are on PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5.

Randy Pitchford, president and CEO of Borderlands developer Gearbox Software, tweeted on Thursday morning that he had “good news” and “bad news.” Pitchford’s good news was that Gearbox has readied an update for the game that will add cross-play support across “all platforms.” The bad news? 2K Games, Borderlands 3’s publisher, required Gearbox to “remove crossplay support for PlayStation consoles” in order to obtain certification to release the patch, said Pitchford.

That means that cross-play will be limited to the other platforms on which Borderlands 3 is available: Mac, Stadia, Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

Pitchford didn’t provide further details on the reasoning behind this decision. We’ve reached out to both 2K Games and Sony to ask for clarification on the situation.

In the past, cross-play hold-ups have come from Sony. The company infamously delayed cross-play in games like Rocket League, and seems to push back against the system wherever possible. This issue recently came up in the Epic v. Apple trial, when Epic CEO Tim Sweeney revealed that his studio paid Sony to activate cross-play in Fortnite. According to Sweeney, Sony is the only platform holder that requires any kind of compensation for cross-play.

If Sony requested payment in order for 2K and Gearbox to add cross-play to Borderlands 3, it’s possible that 2K Games refused to pay, choosing instead to just remove PlayStation consoles from the new feature entirely. This seems the most likely scenario behind the mysterious removal in Pitchford’s tweet.

This news comes just two days after Bungie opened its cross-play beta for fellow loot-shooter Destiny 2, which includes PlayStation consoles. Pitchford did not reveal when the Borderlands 3 cross-play feature will arrive, or if there will be any kind of beta testing before launch.

We’ll update this story once we have any clarification behind Sony or 2K’s reasoning.

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