Epic will make it easier for video game developers to build cross-platform play into their games next year after the company announced it will release its suite of cross-platform services to developers for free.
Epic says that the cross-platform services it built for Fortnite, one that's been "battle-tested" by 200 million players, include tools like matchmaking, cloud saves, voice chat, and achievements. These tools will be available for developers using any engine, on any platform, and on any store so it won't be limited to games using Epic's Unreal Engine or Epic Game Store.
Epic is working to open up services built for Fortnite to all developers on all platforms, all stores, and all engines for free! http://go.redirectingat.com?id=87431X1573192&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2FThZGfjcz8jpic.twitter.com/lCSkVyGn6Q— Unreal Engine (@UnrealEngine) December 12, 2018
Cross-platform became a hot topic as developers like Mojang and Psyonix implemented the feature in games like Minecraft and Rocket League. Originally limited to cross-play between Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC, the PlayStation 4 eventually opened to cross-platform play possibly due to the popularity of Epic's Fortnite.
Epic releasing tools to help cross-platform on games going forward will be a major game-changer, literally. With free access to Epic's tools, cross-platform will hopefully become even bigger, and eventually an industry-standard.
The news follows Epic launching its own digital storefront, the Epic Game Store, as a direct Steam competitor. The company is leveraging the massive popularity of Fortnite to make inroads into people's everyday gaming habits even as the developer already licenses the popular Unreal Engine to many developers.