Mustard calls out Sony’s “platform restrictions” without naming names.
Responding to what seemed like an unrehearsed question from host Geoff Keighley, Mustard appeared genuinely upset that Fortnite players can’t play with those on other platforms. “Look, Fortnite is even better when you’re playing with your real friends, and due to platform restrictions there are some players that aren’t able to play with their friends and are left out,” he said.
“Gamers want cross-play, and we are committed to doing whatever it takes to make that happen,” he continued. “Players deserve it.”
Mustard’s comments were particularly relevant because Fortnite briefly became the first game to allow cross-platform play between PS4 and Xbox One users earlier this year. Epic Games chalked that up to a “configuration issue” that was quickly “corrected,” suggesting the working feature was turned on without the approval of one of the console makers (and since Microsoft’s Phil Spencer said he wanted the feature left on, we can guess which company is responsible).
Mustard’s public comments in support of the feature add to pressure Sony has been feeling since March of 2016, when Microsoft publicly announced it was open to connecting Xbox Live to any other platform for online gameplay. While Sony said earlier this year that it has no “profound philosophical stance” against cross-console online play, many developers continue to complain that Sony’s approval is the only bottleneck to making the feature a reality at this point.
Sony has some arguable business motivation to keep players (and their friends) locked in to the PlayStation Network ecosystem, considering that the PS4 is still vastly outselling the Xbox One worldwide. But that decision is going to continue to lead to some bad publicity and ill will from developers, as Mustard showed last night.