Update: Pete Hines has released a statement regarding this evolving issue. “Folks, chill. I work with a lot of devs and games for whom this is important going forward. Fallout 76 does not support crossplay, for a number of reasons. I have no idea if it ever will. But I assure you it is not on our radar right now as we focus on B.E.T.A. and launch.” leading us to believe that Sony’s move has been too little too late for Fallout after all. Bethesda’s role in bringing cross-play to the Xbox and PS4 remains, and their ultimatum on The Elder Scrolls Legends a brave move indeed. Below is our original unedited story.
Graciously the biggest gaming company of this console generation has recently announced a Beta for Fortnite cross-play between PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox adding to the already supported Mobile and PC cross-play functionality. This comes off the tail of a heated debate between fans, Epic Games, Sony, the developers of Rocket League, and surprisingly Bethesda Games.
Many are celebrating the fact that Sony has joined Nintendo and Microsoft in allowing players to join matches with each other across the three major gaming platforms of this console gen. However, people are now hoping for titles like Destiny 2 or Black Ops 4 to get the green light, with perhaps unrealistic expectations and forgetting that Bethesda played a role in this groundbreaking industry event.
Todd Howard (Executive Producer and Game Director at Bethesda Game Studios) stated in July, shortly after E3 2018, that Bethesda was looking to bring Xbox and PS4 players together with Fallout 76 but added that Sony wasn’t being “as helpful” as they would like. Pete Hines (AKA Uncle Pete, VP of Marketing and Communication for Bethesda) made the rounds in August 2018 stating to all sorts of press outlets that The Elder Scrolls Legends maintains a cross-buy and cross-play system which was so important to the company that the game will not release on PS4 if cross-play isn’t allowed.
That was a bold statement and it was made during a time when Sony was under fire from the entire gaming community for locking people’s Fortnite accounts and in-game purchases out of Switch / Xbox platforms even if they were originally PC or Mobile accounts that just logged into PS4 once. But nobody’s talking about it. So what’s coming up next?
Many feel that it’s too soon to expect Sony to open the floodgates. Rocket League made a big push for cross-play and sadly Sony failed to be moved by their gestures. The team behind the game is still open to the idea, but does Sony care? Other fans are hoping for Black Ops 4, Destiny 2, or future titles like The Division 2 to incorporate cross-play into their online multiplayer portions.
If we truly have a cross-play future coming at us it’s more likely that Sony (as the leader in the gaming world) would rather continue to make as much money as they can locking out cross-play in most titles until next-gen. They know they have people who buy two copies of a game. And if you get cross-play, eventually third party accounts like Epic Games has for Fornite and Bethesda has planned for The Elder Scrolls Legends will mean that you get to enjoy the in-game purchases you’ve bought on say an Xbox while playing in the PlayStation universe – without Sony getting a cut. Currently, Sony gets a cut on all purchases made on their platform.
So it’s very unlikely that we’re ready for a Call of Duty game in which Xbox and PlayStation players get to compete or co-operate together. However, Bethesda remains a key member of the AAA game publisher club who has thrown their hat into the ring during the heat of the storm. We should now pay close attention to what happens with Fallout 76, Bethesda’s open minded PR communication with their fans, and The Elder Scrolls series (particularly ESO and Legends).