Borderlands 3 is finally getting crossplay support, but one of the game’s main platforms – PlayStation – is being somehow being left out.
Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford recently revealed that a Borderlands 3 update will add long-awaited crossplay to the shooter RPG. At the same time, however, he noted that one of its biggest platforms – PlayStation – will be deliberately left out of the equation. It so far seems as if business reasons are to blame, rather than anything technical.
Borderlands 3 first shipped in September 2019 for PC, Mac, PS4, and Xbox One. A Google Stadia port arrived in December the same year, and in November 2020 performance and resolution optimizations were added for the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. While the game can be played alone, it’s ideally meant for parties of up to four people – that makes crossplay all the more important, since remote friends and family rarely share the exact same hardware. PC players should have an inherent advantage thanks to mouse and keyboard controls.
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In a May 27 tweet, Pitchford explains that Gearbox was “required by the publisher” to remove crossplay from PlayStation. The publisher in question is 2K Games, which hasn’t yet offered an explanation. It is known that Sony requires companies to pay for crossplay support in some circumstances – Epic, for example, pays for the privilege of crossplay in Fortnite. Some other games that offer PlayStation crossplay are the Call of Duty series and Rocket League, the latter being another Epic product. It could be that 2K was unwilling to pay extra cash for Borderlands 3, given that the game is almost two years old. April 8 did, however, see the launch of the Director’s Cut DLC, adding new story missions, a Varkid raid boss, and themed loot.
Preventing Crossplay Only Benefits Sony
Good news or bad news first? Good News: An update for Borderlands 3 has been prepared for release that includes full crossplay support across all platforms. Bad News: For certification, we have been required by the publisher to remove crossplay support for PlayStation consoles.
— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) May 27, 2021
Sony’s walled garden might theoretically lower infrastructure burdens and encourage more people to buy a PlayStation. Realistically, however, it tends to harm both players and publishers, reducing the number of people that can play together and sustain online activity. This becomes even more important as a game gets older – past a certain threshold matchmaking can take too long, leading people to switch to other games with faster load times. This was a serious problem with Titanfall 2 until its recent revival.
There is a chance that Sony and/or 2K could reverse course. Most likely that would require sustained pressure from the Borderlands 3 community, since Sony has so far been stubborn about crossplay issues, and hasn’t shown many signs of wanting to be open. It could be that it will be forced to change – a growing number of Xbox games offer crossplay with PCs, after all.
Next: Borderlands 3: How to Defeat Evil Brick & Mordecai (Psycho Krieg DLC)
Source: Randy Pitchford/Twitter
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