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Sony Charging for Cross Play?

Sony Charging for Cross Play?

Any gamer familiar with cross play is well aware that Sony has notoriously been against allowing it. Even when games like Rocket League did all of the work for the platforms and Microsoft said they were willing to make it happen, Sony wouldn’t budge. It wasn’t until the explosion of Fortnite that someone was in a position to make Sony bend the cross play knee. Recent released confidential documents reveal, however, that Epic getting Fortnite to be completely cross play came at a cost. Many in the public wrongfully assumed that the bad press from Fortnite is what got Sony to finally move, but it almost didn’t happen.

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What do we know?

Reported by EuroGamer… “Epic boss Tim Sweeney has said Sony requires compensation from publishers for cross-play in certain circumstances. In explosive comments made during the opening day of the Epic vs Apple trial, Sweeney said Epic agreed to the fees in order to get crossplay going in Fortnite.”

This runs completely contrary to what the public thought at the time. I was one of the commentators who, understandably, assumed that Fortnite’s popularity combined with the bad press of Sony users being unable to sync their Fortnite profiles when the game landed on Switch was the primary reason.

The truth is, it was more of a catalyst than a reason. Fortnite’s popularity and the bad press gave opportunity for a conversation to start, but it was not one that went over smoothly, and, now that the truth is out, it didn’t come without a cost that Epic had to eat in order to make true cross play a reality.

How did it work?

More from EuroGamer… The publisher pays Sony a royalty fee “to offset the reduction in revenue” only if the proportion of PSN revenue share divided by PS4 gameplay share for a title is less than 85 percent in any given month.

Sony offers a calculation example. Let’s say for the month, cross-platform revenue is $1m, and of that PSN revenue was $900,000 (90 percent of revenue). If the PS4 gameplay share was 95 percent, the publisher would pay Sony nothing. (90 divided by 95 equals 0.94 – so, greater than 85 percent.)

But if in the same month, only $600,000 of the $1m revenue was PSN revenue (so, 60 percent of revenue), and the PS4 gameplay share was still 95 percent, the publisher would have to pay Sony $52,500 (60 divided by 95 equals 0.63 – so, less than 85 percent).

What Does this mean?

Ultimately what this means is that cross play was still a feature, and likely to this stay still is a feature, that Sony is strongly opposed to. This shouldn’t surprise anyone given the PS5 focus and recent news reports indicate a strong focus on first party titles.

This insular approach might seem archaic or out of step with where gaming is headed, but Sony seems to have a plan in play. Strong first party single player titles sell big, and when there is only one platform to get them, they will likely keep the PS5 demand at a consistent fever pitch (especially considering on going supply deficiencies)

The real test will be one of time. Long term, Sony could jump off the train tracks of what the majority of the gaming audience is looking for, and Microsoft may be in a prime position to soak up more of the consumer base. The XBOX platform is expanding beyond just consoles, and with play anywhere with anyone as key selling features, Sony may slip from the throne.

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