Some secrets are just never meant to be shared — even when you have a button for it.
Enabling users to stream and/or upload live in-game footage to friends or various websites, the PlayStation 4 controller’s Share button was a one of the smaller, but more curious, additions announced for the console during its unveiling this February. In a recent interview with 4Gamer.net, however, Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida revealed that developers will be able to determine which moments are free to “go viral” and which are better off contained within an isolated experience.
The comments were part of the Sony executive’s attempt to affirm the PlayStation 4‘s primary focus: games. While Yoshida reasserted Sony’s commitment to winning the “war for the living room,” acknowledging the rise of Smart TV and “devices that can also play games” (think Valve’s “Steam Box” or Apple’s rumored gaming-enabled TV), he emphasized that there should be no confusion as to what the PS4 was built for:
“When we first introduced PS4, we wanted to avoid giving the message that it can also do this and can also do that. We wanted to show a focus on just the most important aspect of the console.
“We want to change for the better the way people play games and the way people make games. Yes, you can use this console for things like watching a Blu-ray or Netflix, but that is not its main purpose. The hardware is designed specifically for games. After all, new games will never be in short supply.”
As the length of the interview proves, changing the way people play and make games is a verbose discussion, but Yoshida centers it around one concept: ease. Ease for the player and — something the PlayStation 3 was notoriously lacking — ease for the developer, whose support can make or break a console’s success. That’s what the Share button seeks to embody.
The functions that Sony has discussed already for the button — live look-ins to multiplayer matches, instant preservation of highlights (or lowlights), even assuming control of another friend’s gameplay session — have elevated its potential far beyond that of a mere gimmick; there’s no reason to believe it can’t become a powerful tool for the online gaming experience. With that in mind, however — with players acquiring more means to mold a piece of content for their own use — Sony wants to ensure that developers can still disable the Share button’s functionality at any time:
“There will be parts of a game that the maker does not want people to be able to see. For example, on Vita, developers can in certain scenes disable the feature that lets users take a screenshot, and (the Share function) will have a similar mechanism. The creator may not want to make video of the final boss sharable, for instance.”
As with the rest of the PlayStation 4’s hardware, we’ll likely have to wait until E3 before we see the Share button in action (that is, its intended features; we’re fairly certain it moves up and down). Assuming that the footage players can broadcast to the rest of their friends list will have a way of displaying itself… prominently, however, it seems like a wise, and prudent, decision to grant developers the final say in preventing spoilers, hidden secrets or challenging obstacles from ever being recorded.
Do you agree with the limitations being put in place by Sony?
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