PlayStation gamers have been frustrated by the lack of cross-platform support for the popular game Fortnite. But now Sony has some good news. Today, the company announced an open beta that will allow for Fortnitecross-platform play between the PlayStation 4 and iOS, Android, the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows and Mac.
The aim of the beta is to test the user experience on this kind of cross-platform play, which is the first time Sony Interactive Entertainment has experimented with this feature. The release makes clear that, if this test goes well, the company may be open to cross-platform play on other games in the future.
Part of the appeal of Fortnite has been the ability to play with other gamers, regardless of the platform you are on. PlayStation users were unable to partake in that aspect of the game. To make matters worse, SIE's restrictive policies ensured that players weren't able to sign into an Epic Games account linked to PSN from their Nintendo Switch.
This is a watershed moment for the computer gaming sector because it highlights that games are more important than platforms. For years consumers have had to choose between Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PS4, Nintendo’s Switch, PC or now mobile with each representing a significant outlay in terms of capital investment.
However, if you only had one of these platforms you were restricted in what games you could play. Even when the games had online group-play features participants had to all have the same hardware and software. Fortnite changed that. It has been such a wildly successful game, built exclusively on a Battle Royale/Lord of Flies group play model that companies have been forced to cave to consumer demand for cross platform solutions.
The evolution of eSports is a further testament to the victory of the game over console. eSports teams now have more active viewers than the NFL and teams are winning prize money in the tens of millions.
Games are Sony’s largest product segment at 21.7% of revenue this year. The share broke out of a well-defined range in July and continues to trend higher in a consistent manner.
Nintendo has been trending higher since shortly after the release of Pokemon Go. It pulled back sharply in May but regrouped and pushed back above the trend mean last week.
Gaming represents about 10% of Microsoft’s revenue. The share has been trending higher in a persistent manner since adopting a subscription business model for windows.
Activision one of the prime beneficiaries from eSports, bounced from the region of its trend mean and moved to a new high this week.
Electronic Arts has stumbled, posting its largest reaction in years, not least because its focus on necessitating micro transactions rather than making them optional. The share will need to sustain a move above the MA to signal a return to demand dominance.
Ubisoft has just about unwound its overextension relative to the trend mean but will need to hold the recent low if potential for continued upside is to be given the benefit of the doubt.
TakeTwo Software bounced from the region of the trend mean in March and continues to rebound.