Yesterday, Sony pulled back the curtain on its long-awaited next generation console, the PlayStation 4. As expected, robust hardware and brand-new games were at the fore of that debut presentation, but the machine’s new social features and community tools could have far greater implications for the future of the console business.
Sony explained that social interaction is one of the core focal points of the PlayStation 4, and that mentality is particularly evident in the console’s controller. Unlike previous PlayStation gamepads, the DualShock 4 features a dedicated “share” button, providing users instant access to a wide range of content sharing options.
According to Sony, players will be able to capture screenshots, record video, or even broadcast live gameplay in just a few simple steps. When it comes to livestreaming, Sony claims that the PlayStation 4 will even give spectators the option of taking control over another player’s game (as long that that player allows it).
By building this functionality right into the system, Sony is making it clear that it wants all PlayStation 4 games to have a social focus, regardless of their design. These social features could drastically transform this next console generation, as they will make online community-building more streamlined than ever.
With content sharing options just a button press away, players will be far more likely to share their experiences with their friends and build online relationships around their favorite games. Of course, these features aren’t just a fun addition for PlayStation 4 users; they could also be a real boon for game developers on the platform.
As we know from existing Raptr data, video sharing and other forms of content creation keep players engaged with their favorite games even when they’re not playing them. When users can share their experiences with others, they feel more connected to these titles and even attract new users with their positive word-of-mouth. The PlayStation 4 will make it even easier to increase user engagement, as these community tools are built right into the console.
When the PlayStation 4 launches later this year, game developers will have an opportunity to strengthen their online communities in a brand new way. Sony has made it clear that community-building is an essential part of its next-generation efforts, and that social gaming is here to stay. Now, the real question is: What does Microsoft have to say about all this?
For more information on the PlayStation 4, check out the recording of Sony’s recent presentation.