WTF?! PlayStation 4 owners who were anxious to take their Fortnite gaming on the go with the Nintendo Switch got a rude awakening when they discovered that their Epic accounts would not launch on the mobile platform.
To say fans were excited that Fortnite for the Switch launched during E3 would be an understatement. In the first 24 hours, over two million Switch owners downloaded the game. However, many of those players found themselves locked out from playing because their Fortnite account was tied to their PlayStation 4. Likewise, accounts created on the Switch will not work on the PS4.
Polygon reports that instead of launching, the game will present error screens that say:
On Switch — “This Fortnite account is associated with a platform which does not allow it to operate on Switch. Neither the Fortnite website nor Epic Customer Service are able to change this. To play Fortnite on Switch, please create a new account.”
On PS4 — “The Epic account you tried to link can not play on the platform. Please try a different Epic account, or visit our help website for more information.”
While creating a new account is simple enough, it is also starting from scratch. All progress is lost, and players don’t have access to things that they already paid for such as Battle Pass.
"We also offer Fortnite cross-play support with PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices. We have nothing further to add beyond this at this point."
Players were rightfully furious about the restriction. They are even angrier that Sony never warned them that they could be locked out of playing on the Switch. It was understood that cross-play on the PS4 version of Fortnite would be limited to PC, Mac, iOS, and Android, but nothing was said about not being able to use your account on the Switch.
For two days, Sony’s Twitter account has been inundated with angry customers “thanking” the company for the mess, while the company remained quiet on the matter.
Very disappointed in Sony holding PS4 #Fortnite players' Epic Games accounts hostage from playing on the Nintendo Switch. I understand not wanting to cross play with Xbox, but the Switch is a fundamentally different console.— Justin (@YourMindAches) June 12, 2018
Sony finally broke its silence on the matter today with a statement provided to the BBC.
“We're always open to hearing what the PlayStation community is interested in to enhance their gaming experience. 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. We have nothing further to add beyond this at this point.”
Sony falls short of admitting there is a problem but does make it clear that at least it offers cross-play on some platforms. “Nothing further to add,” only means that it doesn’t plan on doing anything about it at this time.
Epic Games declined to comment on the situation, but Nintendo President and COO of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aime told Polygon at E3 that there is not much that it can do when it comes to the ways that other companies handle their gaming accounts.
“In fairness, there are three different things going on, Fils-Aime said. “You have companies like mine that encourage cross-play and enable cross-play. You have a developer and content owner that wants cross-play and is encouraging cross-play, and then you have the other platform holders and what it is that they do. That’s a decision that each of them are making, and some are supporting cross-play, and some are not.”
Personally, I don't play Fortnite, but I’m afraid that Sony is shooting itself in the foot with the PlayStation 4. Sure it is successful, and the console maker can afford to be stingy when it comes to things like cross-play with the competition. However, couple that with other changes it has made with the PS4 such as restricting purchases to a single console in the home, and you get a recipe for driving business to the competition when the PlayStation 5 rolls around.