PlayStation 4: The Social Aspect

There was a lot to see and hear concerning PlayStation’s conference. With the rise in popularity in smart phones and tablets in the years since the PS3, it’s not surprising to hear talk of connectivity and social media.

When something wishes to connect to my Facebook account I usually get nervous. I’m not overly fond of people seeing my Netflix habits and so the idea of the PlayStation sharing everything I’m doing sounds like it might be equally annoying.

However there are some intriguing elements that PlayStation have introduced to the idea of socially connecting. For one, the speed of the console will allow you to share your game as you’re playing it for your friends to watch and comment on. Or you can choose to virtually hand them the controller to help get you through a tricky part of the game.

Thanks to a partnership with UStream, it will be possible to broadcast your gameplay publicly. This could be a great opportunity to internet gamers who are already making a living off of Let’s Play videos.

servicesPS4There’s also the promise of personalising the experience to a user’s preferences and “favourites”. We’ve seen this before in online advertising, Facebook, Netflix and a number of other places.

Typically this can be a double-edged sword. You do a bit of online shopping and the adverts quickly catch on. When you’re looking for something that matches your typical tastes that’s fine, but what if you’re searching on behalf of someone else? Suddenly Google is making suggestions you don’t want it to.

But the PlayStation 4 has the ability to do something quite remarkable. Early on in the conference it was made clear just how fast the console could be. No more loading times, no more “light” versions of games for demo play.

Videos on the PlayStation Network will instantly be streaming for you to watch. You see a game you like the look of? You can start playing instantly.

Players on WOW will already be familiar to the idea of having a game updating itself in the background even as you continue to play it. Thanks to the technology involved this will now be possible on the PS4. No more moaning and groaning while you sit and wait for an update to download, everything is instant and ready to go.

So what does this mean in regards to personalisation? Everyone has a favourite game series or a favourite studio. So let’s say that your PlayStation knows what your favourites are. When the next game in your favourite series is out, it’ll already be on your PS4 ready to play.

PlayStation 4 interface - menuThe interface of the PlayStation is similar to that of Windows 8 or the Xbox 360. For the PlayStation, and the things the creators want it to do, the layout makes sense.

Just as Windows 8 is designed to fit with a Windows phone, the usage of the PlayStation will be designed to work with mobile devices. The PS Vita will continue to be a way of accessing your PlayStation Network on the move, allowing you to continue socialising. This will also be possible on smart phones, most likely through the use of a PlayStation Network app.

So what do you think? Happy to bring your Facebook pals on to your PS Network? Looking forward to sharing your gaming experiences? Or are you a bit tired of everything connecting to Facebook?

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