Epic Games, developers of the battle royale sensation Fortnite, have announced that they will be making their plethora of cross-platform tools free for all developers from the beginning of 2019. Fortnite was the first game to see cross-platform gaming between PlayStation 4 and other home consoles, something that PlayStation 4 gamers had been requesting for years.
Cross-platform gaming has become more and more prevalent as more games begin to offer it. Earlier this year Sony were heavily criticized for not allowing gamers on their platforms to play against gamers on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, or PC, while all other platforms allowed gamers to play against anyone anywhere.
Epic want to be part of making cross-platform gaming standard in the industry, which is why they’re going to be offering the tools they’ve created with Fortnite to make cross-platform gaming the standard. The tools are designed to work with any game engine, meaning that developers won’t be restricted to either the Unreal engine or the Epic Games Store.
Epic said in a statement regarding the matter that they understand that cross-platform tools are expensive to build. Testing and then implementing them can be even harder and more costly, meaning a lot of developers wouldn’t even contemplate them. Epic say that once the tools are built however, it’s not that difficult to scale them to cover more and more games.
Initially Epic is going to roll out tools for supporting cross-platform friends and logins across PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Mac, iOS, and PC. Later in the year they plan on introducing tools to support voice communication, parties, data storage, matchmaking, cloud saves, trophies, and achievements across these platforms as well.
There are also plans for anti-cheat and social cross-platform tools, which would make it far easier for developers to track users doing something wrong anywhere.
More and more developers are happier about cross-platform gaming because it allows them to reach a wider audience. It also makes it easier for gamers to play with friends, since not everyone can own one of every console, and not everyone has a certain game on the same platform as everyone else they know.