An interesting development has arisen from the ongoing Epic Games versus Apple Fortnite trial that has shed new light on PlayStation’s reluctance to offer crossplay, and revealing that the company seemingly implemented a policy that saw developers in certain circumstances pay a fee if they wanted to offer the functionality to offset potential PSN revenue losses.
The revelation came in the form of court documents made available as part of the ongoing case (as reported by The Verge). These included one document from 2019 that revealed details of Sony’s cross-platform revenue and showed that Sony would request a royalty payment whenever a significant number of PlayStation users contributed to a title’s earnings, in order to “offset the reduction in revenue.”
These documents were then later confirmed by Epic CEO’s Tim Sweeney’s testimony in court last night, during which he claimed that Epic agreed to the fees in order to enable crossplay in Fortnite, with PlayStation apparently the only platform holder to require this compensation: “In certain circumstances Epic will have to pay additional revenue to Sony,” he said. “If somebody were primarily playing on PlayStation, but paying on iPhone then this might trigger compensation.” The policy also apparently stipulates that publishers cannot transfer currency to or from PlayStation, and that there has to be a setting to disable cross-platform interactions.
At the time of writing, there’s been no comment from Sony on these revelations, and though it does make some business sense, it’s not likely to be a popular move to gamers. Related documents as part of the case have also included email conversations between Epic Games and PlayStation trying to convince them to join the crossplay party before they finally relented in 2018, and it’s certainly an interesting read to get the full story on getting crossplay approved.
The Epic Games versus Apple trial, meanwhile, continues.