With the launch of the highly anticipated PS4 literally days away, gamers everywhere want to know what makes the PS4 better than its predecessor, the PS3. And while there are many aspects to the new console, some of which we've already tackled (launch line-up and PS Vita connectivity), here today we discuss one of the system's touted improvements that help it stand out above the rest: social features.
For all of you social butterflies out there, Sony recently introduced Party Voice Chat that can hold up to eight players. This means as long as you have a PS4 or even a PS Vita, you and your amigos can talk with each other regardless which of the two systems you're using, or video games you are playing. PS3 and PS4 players will also be able to communicate with one another, but this will unfortunately be limited to text.
One feature that had the internet shrieking like little girls was the ability to record, stream, and take screen shots of gameplay using only the Share button on the DualShock 4 controller. After some clarification by the PlayStation Blog's Sid Shuman, we now know that a PlayStation Plus subscription will not be a requirement to use any of these features, which is fantastic news.
Using this feature, gameplay can be streamed through the ever-popular Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, and Ustream. As far as archiving your material goes, this will be limited only to Twitch, but may be later expanded to Ustream. In order for the stream to work with Facebook and Twitter, users simply post a URL on their social media for their friends to access the stream. Streaming will have no restrictions in terms of its run time.
Gameplay can be recorded on the PS4 in 15 minute segments and can be mildly edited by adjusting its start and end point. While players can save as much footage on their PS4 as they can fit, they cannot send the footage to YouTube or record their voices unless they are streaming. Sony is also planning a system update that will allow players to send their recorded video to other devices such as a PC. This update will also allow the use of gameplay capture devices which would further solve the issue of recording dialog. While certainly an inconvenience, the future update could be the solution YouTubers need to post their gameplay without restrictions.
If streaming or sharing video is not up your alley, the Share button can also be used to post up your screenshots on, you guessed it, Facebook and Twitter.
You can never have too many friends, which is why the PlayStation Network friend list will be boosted from a decent 100 to a massive 2,000. If some of those 2,000 friends unfortunately did not buy a PS4 at launch, don't fret. Why? Because the PS4 and PS3 will have cross platform multiplayer. As long as you and your 2,000 buddies have the same title, you can shoot, assist, and pummel each other to your heart's content.
How the PS4 will be using social elements feels like a huge expansion on what current consoles are capable of. It feels like there will be a significant push to get people interacting even more, especially with people from around the globe. It's true, gamers won't truly know how well these features work until the system actually comes out, but everything seems extremely promising. In many ways, it feels as though the PS4 is definitely shaping up to be one of the most inclusive entertainment machines of this generation.