It seems like with every announcement Microsoft makes regarding the Xbox One, Sony has a response. It started with Microsoft’s harsh DRM limitations and price point, and now it continues with game sharing.

While both Microsoft and Sony are on equal footing as far as used games support is concerned, it appears the latter is tipping the scales in its favor once again. More specifically, Sony has announced a digital library that sounds suspiciously similar to the one Microsoft original envisioned for the Xbox One.

At the Develop Conference in London, Sony R&D Senior Team Leader Neil Brown outlined how the PS4‘s digital library will work. In essence, gamers will be able to access their digital games regardless of whose PS4 they are playing on.

“You can visit your friends house you can log into your account and play any game from your digital library, which is good. But how useful is that if it takes half a day to download the game you want to play? With Play As You Download you get much quicker access to at least the first section of the game so you can start playing quicker. So this makes a digital library a practical option in the real world.”

Since the unveiling of the PS4, Sony has been discussing the benefits of background downloading, and what it will add to the Sony console experience. But this is something new and potentially exciting. At first, it seemed like background downloading — made possible by the PS4’s secondary processor — was going to alleviate those oftentimes excruciating install times, but that appears to be only one of the benefits.

Now, gamers will be able to head to their friend’s house, login to their SEN (formerly PSN) account, and access any digital titles they have purchased. In the past, accessing digital games has required the aforementioned install time, but the secondary processor and background downloading have presumably eliminated that wait altogether.

The idea of a digital library also means that if a family shares an account they will have access to every digital purchase, almost like the Xbox One’s family shared library feature. Unfortunately, Microsoft nixed that idea when they reversed their position on 24-hour online check-ins and used games.

Even when gamers are not accessing their digital gamers library, the PS4 will offer a similar background installing feature whereby gamers can start playing instantly while the game installs off a Blu-Ray disc. This is not the same as the digital library, but it’s pretty useful nonetheless.

As we move ever closer to an all-digital future, Sony is taking strides to make the idea of a digital library more palatable. Players will be able to access their games no matter where they are, and they won’t have to wait for the game to install.

What do you think of the way Sony is letting gamers access their digital library? Do you think it’s only a matter of time before all console titles work this way?

The PS4 will hit store shelves in Holiday 2013.

Source: OPM UK

tags: PS4, PSN, Sony