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Epic CEO Just Threw Sony Under The Bus

Epic Games shocked fans everywhere in August 2020 when it decided to file a civil antitrust lawsuit against Apple following the removal of "Fortnite" from the iOS App Store. And while the bitter legal feud between the two massive companies has become heated, it has also dragged a new player into the mix: Sony. In fact, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has thrown Sony under the bus for its reluctance to embrace "Fortnite" cross-play.


As reported by The Verge, a series of emails brought to light during the Epic Games v. Apple case indicates that Joe Kreiner, Epic's vice president of business development, had reached out to Sony regarding crossplay following Sony's scandalous decision to block cross-play from its platforms in 2018. 

Calling the possibility of a resolution to the crossplay problem a "win/win" for Epic and Sony, Kreiner proposed a thorough compromise. Representing Epic, he offered Sony marketing data that the company had apparently asked for, along with an extension for its Unreal Engine 4 license, which Kreiner claimed was going to expire in 2019 if not renewed.

Kreiner's full email, which, in part, suggests that Epic would "go out of its way to make Sony look like heroes," apparently fell on deaf ears. According to The Verge, Gio Corsi, Sony's then-senior director of developer relations, said, "cross-platform play is not a slam dunk no matter the size of the title."


The truth about PlayStation crossplay

In a surprising twist, August 2019 saw Sony introduce a "Cross-Platform Revenue Share" policy that would force publishers seeking to implement cross-play into their PlayStation games to pay a fee dependent upon its playerbase. It's unclear whether or not the monumental success of "Fortnite" contributed to this decision — but regardless, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney was not exactly thrilled about this policy change.


During his May 3 testimony, Sweeney admitted that Sony was the only company forcing Epic to pay a fee in order to allow crossplay between consoles. Despite his apparent apprehensions, Sweeney claimed that Epic ultimately folded, agreeing to compensate Sony for allowing crossplay in "Fortnite."

To say that the Epic Games v. Sony kerfuffle has been taxing on "Fortnite" would be an understatement. It's hard not to cringe thinking back on the company's "Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite" video, which parodied Apple's famous 1984 commercial. Now that Epic is revealing documents about other companies like Sony, however, who knows who else's dirty laundry will be strewn around the courtroom next.