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According to Forbes – Games (This article and its images were originally posted on Forbes – Games August 14, 2018 at 03:07PM.)
Other large developers like Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts have quickly followed suit, introducing a Battle Royale game mode in new generations of their First-Person Shooter games. Fortnite developer, Epic Games, has capitalized on its success by expanding the platforms on which the game is now available to include PC & Mac, Xbox One & PS4, Nintendo Switch, iOS and most recently Android devices.
A key driver of Fortnite’s success is Epic Games’ focus on developing the game to enable cross-platform play. This capability has been a huge hit with gamers as it greatly increases accessibility, and it allows more casual players who do not own a gaming console to participate via devices like smartphones, tablets and PCs. It’s a major reason the game’s global player count hit 125 million players in its first year.
The cross-platform shift has not been embraced by everyone, though. Sony remains the lone holdout, opposing this change in an effort to defend its network advantage and keep gamers in the PlayStation ecosystem. This will be a difficult position to hold for Sony, as more and more video games are being designed with cross-platform capabilities causing strong backlash with gamers.
Sony’s hesitation is certainly not without basis. Enabling cross-platform play makes consoles more ubiquitous and reduces Sony’s position as this generation’s console leader. Nevertheless, the immediate popularity of Fortnite’s cross-platform functionality is confirmation that, despite Sony’s or other platform owners’ efforts, this shift is inevitable. It will commoditize the gaming console, and ultimately, it will reduce the value of platform owners like Sony and Microsoft.
Cross-platform play, with Fortnite representing the tip of the spear, is the first step toward the inevitable end of gaming consoles. And technology advances that enable rendering video game graphics in the cloud and improved streaming quality are allowing developers to go direct to consumer, eliminating the need for console platform makers altogether. Case in point: this month’s Fortnite beta release for Android circumvents the Google Play app store and is only available for download directly from Epic’s website. The company has made it known that the reason for their move is to avoid paying Google a 30% revenue split. I believe that is called a Shield Pop in Fortnite parlance.
Console makers have acknowledged efforts to provide a cloud-based solution but have skirted questions about whether they plan to end the console model in the near future. PlayStation and other consoles will always hold a special place in the hearts of gamers, however, the feelings of nostalgia will quickly be overshadowed by the ease of accessibility and excitement cross-platform play allows. I predict it will take very little time for the gaming community to collectively say game over for console-based play.
Disclosure: I am Long Nintendo and Alphabet
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