Fortnite developer Epic Games has announced plans to share the tools, which enabled millions of gamers to join in the fun across platforms, with the wider developer community.
The company says throughout 2019 the cross-platform game services built specifically for Fortnite will become free for all developers who are creating games on all engines, for all platforms, on all stores.
The company said these tools have been “battle-tested with 200,000,000 players across seven platforms” and pointed out developers would be allowed to use the SDK as they saw fit.
“As a developer, you’re free to choose mix-and-match solutions from Epic and others as you wish,” the company wrote in a surprise blog post on Wednesday.
Related: Fortnite Season 6
Here are the specifics, in Epic’s own words, what will be provided in 2019. The developer said these features will be expanded over time:
- Cross-Platform Login, Friends, Presence, Profile, and Entitlements (coming Q2-Q3 2019 to PC, other platforms throughout 2019): Provides the core functionality for persistently recognizing players across multiple sessions and devices; identifying friends; and managing free and paid item entitlements. This will support all 7 major platforms (PC, Mac, iOS, Android, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch) to the full extent each platform allows per-title.
- PC/Mac Overlay API (coming Q3 2019): Provides a user interface for login, friends, and other features in a game-agnostic, engine-agnostic way.
- Cross-Platform Voice Comms (coming Q3 2019 to all platforms): Epic is building a new in-game voice communications service supporting all platforms, all stores, and all engines, which will be available for free. (For developers needing an immediately-available voice solution, check out Discord, Vivox, TeamSpeak, Ventrilo, and Mumble.)
- Cross-Platform Parties and Matchmaking (coming Q3-4 2019 to all platforms)
- Cross-Platform Data Storage, Cloud-Saved Games (coming Q2 2019)
- Cross-Platform Achievements and Trophies (coming Q3 2019)
The company says these are simply the core features that will arrive initially. Overall though, Epic’s move is great news for those who want to see an end to platform specific online multiplayer gaming.
As Epic says, developing these cross-platform tools is labour intensive and expensive, meaning many smaller studios and publishers would struggle to offer them. Epic just levelled the playing field.
Which games would you most like to see at cross-platform compatibility? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.