Borderlands 3 will receive crossplay support soon, but not on Sony’s PlayStation consoles. Gearbox, the developer of Borderlands 3, has revealed that it was ready to enable “full crossplay support on all platforms,” but that the publisher, 2K Games, required it to be removed for PlayStation consoles.
Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford revealed the details in a Twitter post today, noting that “we are required by the publisher to remove crossplay support for PlayStation consoles” in order to achieve certification. It’s not immediately clear why 2K Games asked Gearbox to remove PlayStation crossplay or whether it has to do with Sony’s general disdain for crossplay. We’ve reached out to both Gearbox and 2K Games to comment on the situation.
Good news or bad news first? Good news: an update for Borderlands 3 has been prepared for release that includes full crossplay support on all platforms. Bad news: For certification, we are required by the publisher to remove crossplay support for PlayStation consoles.
– Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) May 27, 2021
The cause of the problem could be Sony. The recent Epic vs Apple trial has shown that Sony has a special agreement with it Fortnite developer Epic Games to enable title crossplay on PlayStation consoles. Epic Games had to agree to pay additional fees to Sony to make this happen Fortnite crossplay on PlayStation, and Epic CEO Tim Sweeney confirmed in a testimonial that Sony is the only platform holder to require this crossplay compensation.
“In certain circumstances, Epic will have to pay additional revenue to Sony,” Sweeney revealed earlier this month. “If someone played mainly on PlayStation, but paid on iPhone, it could lead to compensation.”
It’s likely Sony was looking for a similar deal with 2K Games before Borderlands 3 crossplay. Borderlands 3 allows players to purchase cosmetic items such as skins for their characters and vehicles. Sony cuts these purchases by 30 percent, and internal emails clearly show that the company has been against crossplay in the past for financial reasons.
Sony initially blocked cross-platform play for both Rocket League and Minecraft, despite Nintendo and Microsoft both allowing players to play on Xbox and Switch. The problem really blown up when Sony blocked Fortnite crossplay in 2018, and players were angry. Sony eventually relapsed after the backlash in late 2018, with a new policy change to allow crossplay in select games.