Borderlands 3 players on Xbox consoles, Windows, Stadia, and the Mac will soon be able to band together across platforms thanks to a coming cross-play update. But players on the PS4 and PS5 will be left out of that group and will be forced to play only with other users on the PlayStation Network.
Gearbox co-founder and CEO Randy Pitchford discussed the situation in a tweet Thursday morning, saying that “an update for Borderlands 3 has been prepared for release that includes full cross-play support across all platforms” but that “for certification, we have been required by the publisher [presumably Take Two] to remove cross-play support for PlayStation consoles.”
Sony, you may remember, consistently blocked cross-platform capabilities on PlayStation consoles for years before finally opening up its walled garden to cross-platform play in late 2018. Even after that, though, some developers publicly accused Sony of “playing favorites” regarding which specific games were allowed to use the feature.
“When we did turn [cross-play] on… we wanted to make sure we had thought out all the different ramifications of cross-play, cross-purchase, cross-progress,” Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios Chairman Shawn Layden told Game Informer in early 2019. “Those are all three very discrete aspects of what cross-play is, and there are decisions you make in provisioning those different pieces of it that if you make it quick and hasty and [it’s] the wrong decision, you can put yourself in a corner really fast, and that prevents scalability over time and the ability to bring people in a secure and safe way.”
More recently, in the Epic Games v. Apple trial, Epic revealed the existence of a “cross-platform revenue sharing” agreement for “partners” that publish such games on PlayStation. A slide shared during the trial lays out a complicated formula for calculating that revenue sharing amount in months when the PS4’s share of overall monthly revenue for a game is less than 85 percent of the PS4’s share of overall monthly playtime for that same game.
“In certain circumstances, Epic will have to pay additional revenue to Sony,” Epic’s Tim Sweeney said during testimony at the trial this month. “If somebody were primarily playing on PlayStation but paying on iPhone, then this might trigger compensation.”
That revenue-sharing policy, dated August 2019 in court documents, could be behind Take-Two’s apparent decision to leave PlayStation players out of Borderlands 3 cross-play. Representatives for Take-Two and Sony weren’t immediately available to respond to a request for comment from Ars Technica, but we’ll update this article if we hear back.
Listing image by 2K Games