Sony demands part of the revenue from crossplay games if players mainly play on PlayStation

Epic Games pays Sony for crossplay in Fortnite in some cases. Sony says crossplay could lead to lost revenue and is demanding a share of the revenue if players mainly play on PlayStation consoles. According to Epic, only Sony has such requirements.

Fortnite maker Epic Games has to pay a portion of the revenue to Sony if a player primarily plays on a PlayStation console, but makes the in-game purchases on an iPhone, for example. CEO Tim Sweeney said that during the lawsuit between Epic Games and Apple. The Verge, among others, reports on this.

Platform holders like Apple and Sony get a 30 percent commission on such purchases. Sony sees the presence of crossplay as a potential loss of revenue. After all, if a player only plays on the PlayStation, all purchases are made on that console and Sony receives a commission. According to Sweeney, Sony is the only company to demand such compensation for crossplay. Fortnite also has crossplay on Xbox consoles, the Nintendo Switch, and on iOS and Android.

It is not clear what the final agreement is between Sony and Epic Games about the ceding of revenue. The 2019 document shows a calculation indicating that Sony will get money if the percentage of sales through the PlayStation Network is significantly lower than the gameplay percentage on PSN. So that paints a situation in which players mainly play on PlayStation consoles, but do not make their in-game purchases proportionally often on the Sony platform.

Sony held back crossplay on the PlayStation platform for years. That has changed in recent years, presumably due to the introduction of this compensation scheme from Sony. The lawsuit also reveals that Sony does not allow transferring virtual coins in games to or from a PlayStation console and there must be a mandatory setting to disable all cross-play capabilities.

Epic couldn’t imagine ‘not getting what we want’

Epic Games has lobbied hard for Sony to allow crossplay, according to a 2019 email released. An Epic executive states that it is a win-win situation for both parties and that he can not imagine that Epic ‘not getting what we want’, because Fortnite is the most played game on PlayStation consoles.

Epic suggested, among other things, to integrate Sony’s e-sports API into Unreal Engine 4 and announce it big at the E3 game fair. Epic would like to announce crossplay in Fortnite together with Sony and then put Sony ‘as heroes’.

Epic also suggested, for example, developing a new game for Sony’s next VR platform and renewing Sony’s license on Unreal Engine 4 on favorable terms. Sony did not respond to the offers. Only later, after the revenue sharing agreements, did crossplay in Fortnite become possible on PlayStation consoles.