PlayStation has confirmed it will launch a beta test for battle royale game Fortnite that will allow for cross-platform gameplay with other systems for the first time on the Sony console.
The gaming giant has been heavily criticised for previously blocking cross-play between its own PlayStation platform and other systems, despite rivals Nintendo and Xbox supporting such interaction.
Cross-play enables gamers to use the same game account on different platforms, as well as play against users on other devices.
In a blog post confirming its decision, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s (SIE) global chief executive John Kodera said it was a “major policy change” for the company.
“Following a comprehensive evaluation process, SIE has identified a path toward supporting cross-platform features for select third-party content,” he said.
“We recognise that PS4 players have been eagerly awaiting an update, and we appreciate the community’s continued patience as we have navigated through this issue to find a solution.
“The first step will be an open beta beginning today for Fortnite that will allow for cross-platform gameplay, progression and commerce across PlayStation 4, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, and Mac operating systems.
“We see the beta as an opportunity to conduct thorough testing that ensures cross-platform play is best on PlayStation, while being mindful about the user experience from both a technical and social perspective.”
Last month, Sony chief executive Kenichiro Yoshida said the company felt cross-play was not necessary because the firm’s own console was the best way to experience the game.
“On cross-platform, our way of thinking is always that PlayStation is the best place to play. Fortnite, I believe, partnered with PlayStation 4 is the best experience for users, that’s our belief,” he said.
However, he did add that any future decision around cross-play would be based on “what is the best user experience.”
Mr Kodera said in his statement that PlayStation now acknowledged a policy change was needed.
“For 24 years, we have strived to deliver the best gaming experience to our fans by providing a uniquely PlayStation perspective,” he said.
“Today, the communities around some games have evolved to the point where cross-platform experiences add significant value to players.
“In recognition of this, we have completed a thorough analysis of the business mechanics required to ensure that the PlayStation experience for our users remains intact today, and in the future, as we look to open up the platform.”
Fortnite has amassed more than 125 million players since its last-player-standing battle royale mode was launched last year.
The next update to the game – Season 6 – is expected to go live to players on Thursday.