Exclusive: Sony planning on introducing Cross-Play, name changes and PS Now downloads this fiscal year

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If you use the internet you’ll be fully aware of the situation regarding Sony and cross-play. After worldwide sensation Fortnite: Battle Royale came to Nintendo’s hybrid Switch console, the mass media jumped on the story that Sony was the only company blocking cross console play. No matter your feeling on the game, with over 125 million users Fortnite is currently the biggest game in the world. It’s no surprise the media have picked up on this.

“We’re always open to hearing what the PlayStation community is interested in to enhance their gaming experience,” Sony’s statement said. “With… more than 80 million monthly active users on PlayStation Network, we’ve built a huge community of gamers who can play together on Fortnite and all online titles. We also offer Fortnite cross-play support with PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices, expanding the opportunity for Fortnite fans on PS4 to play with even more gamers on other platforms.”

Sony has noticed. Despite this statement on the issue basically ignoring to address anything and instead, being used to brag about Sony’s incredible PS4 success, Sony is listening to the community. There are Change.org petitions with thousands of signatures. Prominent Youtubers with millions of subscribers are putting pressure on. Media personalities associated with Sony are making their feelings clear.

Sony is listening. An internal report at Sony, which was given to The Loot Gaming via an external source close to the company’s PR has indicated that by the end of this fiscal year, April 2019, console cross-play will come to PS4. There are two reasons behind it. One is that console sales are going to decline; despite PS4’s continuing success, we are nearing the end of the generation. Cross-play is expected to be the norm going forward. By activating it now, Sony has nothing to lose. The PS4 software line up will continue to introduce new buyers to the ecosystem and cross-play will be used as a mechanism to keep them rather than as a reason for people to leave.

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Part 2 of the report suggests that the September update is going to include a Download option for PS4 content on streaming service PS Now. This has been a requested feature for some time and will bring the service more in line with its nearest competitor: Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass.

The third and final part is that PSN ID name changes are finally going to come this year. Apparently, the framework will be included in the September update but it will not be enabled until the PlayStation Experience 2018 in December. The reason personalities haven’t been speaking about this feature recently is because they are aware it’s being planned. Shawn Layden has previously indicated he’d love to stop answering name change questions be the time PSX 2018 arrives. Again, this is preparation for the next console generation.

btw when I was at Sony, the stated reason internally for this was money. They didn’t like someone buying something on an Xbox and it being used on a Playstation. simple as that. dumb reason, but there it is.

— John Smedley (@j_smedley) June 18, 2018

The important thing to remember is plans change. They can be brought forward or back. Sony waiting until December to allow cross-play makes perfect sense. It allows them to take advantage of the holiday season to grow PS4 sales then give the community this new feature at a time when the user base will be at it’s highest and therefore unlikely to see any more substantial growth. Plans could also be shelved entirely. If the media pressure ceases then Sony might decide to abandon their cross-play plans. Former President of Sony Online Entertainment recently stated that ‘money’ was the reason for Sony ignoring console cross-play. If Sony re-evaluates the situation at an upcoming financial quarterly report and decides cross-play would lead to significant losses then again, expect plans to be shelved.