The lights are on
Sony's Mark Cerny laid out some of the PlayStation 4's powerful sharing and game-downloading capabilities at Sony's New York event this afternoon. Simple video capture and sharing, a download system that lets you play while the system is still pulling down files, and predictive software that aims to show you games you might be interested in make PS4 a clear step forward for Sony.
Using the "share" button on the DualShock 4 controller, players can scroll back through recent gameplay -- captured via the PS4's hard-wired video encoding capabilities -- and select sections to tag and upload to the Internet. Presumably you'll be able to set them as private, public, or friends-only for viewing, but Cerny didn't go into that level of detail in his presentation.
Similarly to Blizzard's existing launchers for World of Warcraft and Diablo III, the PS4 will allow you to fire up games before you're done downloading them. You'll still have to grab a certain amount of your digitally purchased title or demo before playing, but the experience should be much smoother than on PS3.
Sony's goal is to use its prediction software to study your gaming habits and seed your console with downloads it thinks you might like for a truly instant play experience. In addition, the company should be able to use its predictive data to serve players personalized news and content.
As rumored, PS4 owners will also be able to access chat and other services via their smartphones, tablets, and Web browsers as well. Cerny didn't provide any further details, but coming up with more ways to integrate those devices into the next-gen PlayStation experience isn't difficult.