Fortnite community outraged by Sony's PS4 lockout

And Sony's response to the outcry isn't helping matters.

Jason Parker
Jason Parker Senior Editor / Reviews - Software
Jason Parker has been at CNET for nearly 15 years. He is the senior editor in charge of iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.
3 min read

Be careful when starting Fortnite on the Switch.

CNET screenshot

Nintendo Switch owners can finally play Fortnite, but neither they nor PlayStation 4 players were warned that bringing their account from one platform to the other would result in a lockout. And that's sparked outrage across the gigantic Fortnite community.

For those who haven't heard about the issue or run into it themselves, it's simple. Fornite is available on numerous platforms, from the PS4 to Switch, PC, Xbox One and iOS. You can use a single account to preserve your progress across all of those platforms, at least theoretically. But accounts that have been used on the PS4 are being locked out of the Switch version of Fortnite, and accounts that have been used on the Switch are being locked out of the PS4 version.

Fans and gaming critics have taken to Twitter, Reddit and beyond to voice their outrage, and demand a fix.

And even worse, now reports are coming in of players who linked their Playstation account to an Epic account, but never played Fortnite on the PS4, being locked out of the Switch version. (With a hello to CNET alum Dan Graziano!)

Sony's response to the issue, provided to CNET Tuesday, does little to address fan concerns, nor does it say whether the issue will be resolved in the future. Instead, it's very much a statement-of-fact:

"We're always open to hearing what the PlayStation community is interested in to enhance their gaming experience. Fortnite is already a huge hit with PS4 fans, offering a true free-to-play experience so gamers can jump in and play online.  With 79 million PS4s sold around the world and 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."

This cross-platform confusion is a trend for Sony, which has repeatedly blocked efforts to bring its playerbase into the broader online multiplayer community. Many games that offer unified multiplayer experiences between PC and Xbox One are blocked from including PS4 players, and you'll notice that in the statement above, Sony excludes the Xbox One from its list of supported cross-play platforms.

Watch this: Nintendo reveals Fortnite for Switch

"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 last year when questions over crossplay emerged for the wildly popular game.  

For now, the Fortnite cross-platform breakdown looks like this:

  • PlayStation 4: PC, Mac, iOS
  • Xbox One: PC, Mac, iOS and Nintendo Switch

Fortnite is this year's biggest game phenomenon, becoming not only a huge revenue driver for Epic Games, but the biggest console free-to-play game of all time. And that was before it hit the Nintendo Switch. An Android version of Fortnite is in the works, but isn't expected to launch until later this summer.

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