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Borderlands Boss Throws Its Publisher Under The Bus

Cross-play has become a hot topic in the gaming world. With a global pandemic forcing even non-gamers to stay inside, for many, jumping into a lobby with one's friends — or their grandmas — is their only means of socializing. Some games, like "Call of Duty: Warzone," allow PC, PlayStation, and Xbox gamers to leap into the fray together. Unfortunately though, not every publisher is as lax as Activision in this regard. Case in point: Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford just revealed that "Borderlands 3" was supposed to get cross-play support. Unfortunately, the game's publisher didn't agree.

Today, on May 27, Pitchford posted a tweet suggesting that "Borderlands 3" publisher 2K shot down any hopes of cross-play for the popular looter shooter. Starting off by saying that he had "good news and bad news," he wrote, "Good News: An update for 'Borderlands 3' has been prepared for release that includes full crossplay support across all platforms."

Sounds great, right? Well, that bad news he promised immediately followed. Pitchford added, "Bad News: For certification, we have been required by the publisher to remove crossplay support for PlayStation consoles."

As previously mentioned, Pitchford is most likely referring to publisher 2K. However, it's hard to believe that Sony itself didn't play some part in this decision, especially considering its history with squashing cross-play in some of gaming's biggest multiplayer titles.

Sony has a complicated history with cross-play

Although Randy Pitchford threw publisher 2K under the bus for blocking cross-play support for "Borderlands 3," it's worth remembering that Sony has been blocking cross-play on tons of titles for years (a practice that Sony definitely wants gamers to forget about). In other words, it's not absurd to assume Sony may have somehow had a hand in 2K's latest decision.

In June 2017, Sony refused to allow cross-play between two hugely popular multiplayer titles: "Minecraft" and "Rocket League." While both Microsoft and Nintendo allowed gamers to play with friends on different platforms, PlayStation global sales and marketing head Jim Ryan told Eurogamer that Sony's decision to back out of cross-play boiled down to being "mindful of [PlayStation's] responsibility to [its] install base," but it's unclear exactly what that means.

This practice didn't stop there. In 2018, Sony decided to block cross-play of "Fortnite," a decision that resurfaced during 2021's Epic v. Apple court battle, when a series of emails revealed the lengths that Epic went to in order to convince Sony to reinstate cross-play. While Epic pretty much failed in its mission, Sony eventually introduced a "Cross-Platform Revenue Share" policy, forcing Epic and other developers of multiplayer games to pay a fee proportional to their games' PS4 player-bases in order to enable cross-play. 

Hopefully, 2K and Sony will come to an agreement and "Borderlands 3" can enjoy full cross-play support in the near future. Until then, there are plenty of awesome single-player games available for PlayStation gamers. Y'know, like "Bugsnax."