Fallout 76 won't have cross-platform multiplayer because of Sony

Sony is the only roadblock to cross-play, and the pressure is mounting.

Sean Hollister Senior Editor / Reviews
When his parents denied him a Super NES, he got mad. When they traded a prize Sega Genesis for a 2400 baud modem, he got even. Years of Internet shareware, eBay'd possessions and video game testing jobs after that, he joined Engadget. He helped found The Verge, and later served as Gizmodo's reviews editor. When he's not madly testing laptops, apps, virtual reality experiences, and whatever new gadget will supposedly change the world, he likes to kick back with some games, a good Nerf blaster, and a bottle of Tejava.
Sean Hollister
2 min read
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Sony doesn't want you to play with your Xbox or Switch friends -- and Fallout 76 cross-play is the latest casualty. 

Bethesda's Todd Howard told GameStar.de last week that though he'd like to let you experience the first online multiplayer Fallout game with friends across PS4, Xbox and PC, Sony won't let it happen. 

"You cannot do cross-play in 76," he told the publication in a video interview. "We'd really love that but right now we can't."

When GameStar asked why, the answer was remarkably candid: "Sony is not as helpful as everyone would like," he said.


Very few game developers have been willing to go on the record and say that Sony's selfish business decision is the only barrier to playing games across PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch and PC, but the tide is beginning to turn.

First, there was Rocket League.

"We're literally at the point where all we need is the go-ahead on the Sony side and we can, in less than a business day, turn it on and have it up and working, no problem. It'd literally take a few hours to propagate throughout the whole world, so really we're just waiting on the permission to do so," Rocket League VP Jeremy Dunham told IGN in 2016. 

Then gaming phenomenon Fortnite showed us just how annoying Sony's policy could be -- when gamers discovered they couldn't log into the Nintendo Switch version if they'd *ever* linked their Epic Games account to a PS4 in the past, much less play with others. That was two weeks ago.

Next, Minecraft drove the message home with an ad that showed Microsoft and Nintendo teaming up to play "better together" -- throwing Sony under the bus yet again, just over a week ago.

The pressure may be getting to Sony -- which gets hammered after every new announcement by gamers who want cross-play.

On Wednesday, PlayStation America CEO Shawn Layden said that Sony is "looking at a lot of the possibilities," but didn't make any promises. Fallout 76 director Todd Howard ended his comment by saying, "We'll see what happens in the future."  

According to a now-deleted tweet (cache) from former Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley, money's the reason why Sony isn't playing ball: "They didn't like someone buying something on an Xbox and it being used on a PlayStation. Simple as that," he wrote.

Screenshot by Sean Hollister/CNET

"If we keep the pressure up this problem goes away," Smedley tweeted.

Sony and Bethesda didn't respond to requests for comment.  

(GameInformer reported the news on Friday, using translated quotes. We went back to the original English audio of Howard's comments.) 

Watch this: E3 2018: A deeper look at Fallout 76

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Originally published June 29.
Update, July 2: Added more context from former Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley.