In the increasingly common trend of adding crossplay to every multiplayer game under the sun, Sony has been the one major company to drag its feet on supporting the popular feature. This was seized upon most notably by Microsoft, who now enjoys telling everyone how much it loves crossplay and wishes Sony loved it as much as it does.
Thanks to recent court filings, Sony's reasons for the apprehension have become clearer. Documents released as part of the ongoing Epic vs Apple legal saga showed that Sony's crossplay compliance came with a special royalty that game publishers have to pay up. Basically, Sony wants to ensure that PlayStation players aren't running off to spend their money on other platforms while still relying on Sony's servers/infrastructure to actually play the game.
That demand for a revenue cut is potentially why, last month, Borderlands 3 announced it would now support crossplay—except on Playstation. This was a pretty public calling out of Sony, and the situation there remains murky.
Despite the abnormal royalty policy, Playstation CEO Jim Ryan recently told Axios that he wants PlayStation to support crossplay in more games going forward. "We support and encourage cross-play," Ryan said, citing various titles that currently support the feature and others, such as Destiny 2, which will soon introduce it. "That number will continue to grow" he added.
Ryan was asked about last month's snub from Gearbox and said he didn't want to discuss a "live business issue with a long-standing partner," but added that "our policies are consistent across all of the publishers."
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Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."