Borderlands 3 is set to get crossplay support soon, but not on Sony’s PlayStation consoles. Gearbox, the developer of Borderlands 3, has revealed it was ready to enable “full crossplay support across all platforms” but that the publisher, 2K Games, required it be removed for PlayStation consoles.
Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford revealed the details in a Twitter post today, noting “we have been required by the publisher to remove crossplay support for PlayStation consoles” to pass certification. It’s not immediately clear why 2K Games has asked Gearbox to remove PlayStation crossplay or whether it’s related to 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 across all platforms. Bad News: For certification, we have been required by the publisher to remove crossplay support for PlayStation consoles.
— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) May 27, 2021
The source of the issue could be Sony. The recent Epic v. Apple trial has revealed that Sony has a special agreement with Fortnite developer Epic Games to enable crossplay in the title on PlayStation consoles. Epic Games had to agree to pay additional fees to Sony to enable Fortnite crossplay on PlayStation, and Epic CEO Tim Sweeney confirmed in testimony that Sony is the only platform holder that requires this compensation for crossplay.
“In certain circumstances Epic will have to pay additional revenue to Sony,” revealed Sweeney earlier this month. “If somebody were primarily playing on PlayStation, but paying on iPhone then this might trigger compensation.”
It’s likely that Sony has been seeking a similar deal with 2K Games for Borderlands 3 crossplay. Borderlands 3 allows players to purchase cosmetic items like skins for their characters and vehicles. Sony takes a 30 percent cut on these purchases, and it’s clear from internal emails 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 enabling players to play across Xbox and Switch. The issue really blew up when Sony blocked Fortnite crossplay in 2018, and players were angry. Sony did eventually back down in late 2018 after the backlash, with a new policy change to enable crossplay in certain games.