Fortnite, it turns out, is stronger than PlayStation.
After months of rejecting player pleas to enable PlayStation 4 Fortnite owners to compete against people on other platforms (including the PC, Microsoft Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch), Sony has capitulated and has opened its system up to cross-platform play.
“For 24 years, we have strived to deliver the best gaming experience to our fans by providing a uniquely PlayStation perspective,” the company said in a carefully worded statement. “Today, the communities around some games have evolved to the point where cross-platform experiences add significant value to players. In recognition of this, we have completed a thorough analysis of the business mechanics required to ensure that the PlayStation experience for our users remains intact today, and in the future, as we look to open up the platform.”
The open beta for the changes is available now. At present, Fortnite is the only game that can be played across platforms, but others will follow. With the changes, all of the progress, purchases, and other content on PlayStation 4 Fortnite accounts will now be accessible on other systems as well.
Opening the PS4 is a significant reversal for Sony. The company has fallen out of favor with gamers for its isolationist stance as Fortnite‘s popularity has increased. The company further irked fans in June when it issued a statement about the controversy, saying “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.”
The move quiets a controversy that could have threatened hardware sales just as the holiday sales period begins. And Sony’s decision to open up not just Fortnite, but other games (potentially including such titles as the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2 and Fallout ’76).
It also puts the company back in favor with game developers, who were siding with players. Epic Games, makers of Fortnite, have long said they wanted Sony to enable cross platform play. And Bethesda Softworks has said it will not release The Elder Scrolls Legends on any platform that doesn’t offer that functionality.