Announced at last night's press conference, Sony's upcoming PlayStation 4 will be focusing on social gaming this coming generation. Not only is Sony partnering with Facebook, Ustream, and other sites, but the PlayStation 4 will have its own social networking capabilities. Many of these new features revolve around the DualShock 4’s new ‘share’ button, and will be an integral part of the upcoming console.
Players will be able to communicate online in a variety of new ways. Not only will the PlayStation 4 offer the familiar cross-game chat, but players will be able to broadcast their play session live via the share button. Once live, their friends can post comments to their screen and watch them play as if they were looking over their shoulder.
Possibly one of the most interesting features comes in one of the new ways players can help each other through a game. If someone is having a difficult time with a particular area in whatever title they’re playing, their friend can “take over their controller” and play for them over the internet. This is a rather innovative concept that could prove to be quite useful if it works as well as Sony promises.
Even when players are not broadcasting their play sessions, the PlayStation 4 is always recording their progress. Gamers will be able to search through their last several minutes of gameplay. This footage can then be uploaded for others to see. It is unclear as to how long these recordings can be, but they will certainly prove useful for those seeking a walkthrough for specific sections of a game, or for others who simply want to share whatever interesting secrets they may find.
These features seem miles ahead of the social functions that consoles currently offer, and have obviously been tailored to the Facebook generation of gamers. It will be interesting to see what social features Microsoft’s next console will offer, and whether Nintendo’s Miiverse can continue to compete when up against such stiff competition.