With the announcement of the PS4 fresh off the presses, there’s been a lot of buzz around the new social features that the future console system comes packed with. While reaction has been mixed around how some of these features work, one feature that has gained a number of fans is sharing videos.
Capturing and sharing videos on console is pretty much nonexistent today, unless you work in gaming media or have the equipment and elaborate setup to capture gameplay footage. And trying to solve this problem is quite a challenge. Sony basically seemed to have addressed the difficulty of allowing a gamer to capture the most exciting footage (which means persistently saving the last few minutes of gameplay), compressing the footage in a way that allows it to be saved easily, and uploading it to some location so it can be shared easily. In other words, Sony has thought of a complete solution for easily creating, curating, and consuming videos.
While this is new to console, sharing gameplay videos has been something that has been around on PC for a while. The success of eSports tournaments is largest fueled by the ability to watch other people play games. Twitch.tv and UStream.tv have grown in leaps and bounds to become two top sites for sharing gameplay videos. Twitch.tv reaches over 20 million viewers who watch over 100 million videos each month. There are now even several mobile companies that are looking at creating solutions to share gameplay footage for smartphones and tablets, such as Kamcord and Everyplay.
The CEO of Raptr, Dennis Fong, captured best why sharing game content is so exciting. “The ability to capture an image, video, or instantly broadcast what’s on your screen to your friends is transformational for the new generation of consoles,” Fong said. “Providing players community tools to create content for your game in the form of videos and live broadcasts is not simply a cool feature for gamers but also great for business. User-generated content keeps players engaged with the game even while they aren’t playing it and also attracts new users from the buzz generated around this content.”
User-created videos have more authenticity than slickly produced game trailers, and act like a kind of word-of-mouth advertising. A survey done by Waggener Edstrom determined that word of mouth is three times more likely to influence a game purchase decision than traditional forms of advertising and promotion.
Now that Sony has made clear its intentions with sharing videos, it’ll be interesting to see what Microsoft introduces with its soon-to-be-announced next-gen console system.