News Article

Talking Point: Are You a Fan of the PS4's Social Features?

Posted by Sammy Barker

Broadcast yourself

Game sharing is nothing new. While it’s never been this particular author’s cup of tea, numerous YouTube personalities have made a living out of uploading commentated footage of games, and the rise of social streaming services such as Twitch and Ustream have only increased the prestige of these online pundits. On the PlayStation 3, you’d need special equipment to engage in this practice – but Sony’s vision of a social system means that the PlayStation 4 is built to share out of the box. The big question is: do you intend to do so?

Game streaming functionality is not entirely new to consoles. The ill-fated OnLive cloud gaming machine boasted a similar feature, but the platform’s limited success means that it’s largely been forgotten. Sony’s next generation device, then, is aiming to popularise the practice – and there’s already a fair amount of excitement surrounding its inclusion on the web. In the days leading up to the platform’s North American launch on 15th November, several streams popped up from consumers who had secured their systems early. For eager fans on forums and social networks, this represented the first real opportunity to get a glimpse at some of the PS4’s day one games.

It seems to work well, too. We’ve spent a little time tuning into various Twitch streams, and we’ve been fairly impressed with the quality of the footage. If you’ve got a PlayStation Camera, you can also broadcast yourself, allowing you to communicate with your followers and – potentially – build up a fanbase of people who are eager to see you play. It’s all rather neat, but we’re curious whether the novelty will wear off once the excitement of the launch has passed. Only time will tell in that instance.

If you’ve got a PlayStation Camera, you can broadcast yourself, allowing you to communicate with your followers and build up a fanbase

Of course, broadcasting complete gameplay sessions is not the only social inclusion on the PS4. The vaunted share button allows you to upload up to 15 minutes of gameplay at any time, while you can also grab screenshots for Facebook and Twitter. We’ve seen plenty of suspended gameplay snaps crop up in our various feeds over the past 48 hours, with Killzone: Shadow Fall proving a popular choice for players aiming to showcase the visual grunt of their new super powered piece of hardware. The lack of YouTube support has impeded the number of gameplay clips that we’ve seen posted around the web, but the folks over at Giant Bomb did do a great job of organically outlining the feature’s potential during one of its own launch livestreams.

All of this functionality is embedded into the hardware, too, allowing you to quickly access popular clips and streams as soon as you power on your console – but is it something that you ever actually intend to take advantage of? Have you snapped any screenshots or posted any videos yet? How about streaming – have you uploaded a feed of any of your gameplay sessions to Ustream or Twitch? Is it something that you intend to do regularly, or do you expect that you’ll largely overlook this feature? Tap out your thoughts and hit the share button in the comments section below.

Are you a fan of the PS4’s social gaming features? (48 votes)

Yes, I love them and intend to use them a lot in the future


I’m glad that they’re included, but don’t expect to use them much


No, they’re a waste of resources as I’ll never touch them


Please login to vote in this poll.

User Comments (25)



Epic said:

After giving it some thought this can be really amazing.
I will be finaly be able to save those random/awesome gaming moments, really looking foward to use this.
At the beginning was not a fan of this but after playing some Dragon Dogma and not being able to save how I butchered that Gryphin in mid air, made me realize that this could be really awesome.



get2sammyb said:

I love the screenshot feature on Vita, so I can definitely see myself posting out images from games. I also can see myself posting up video clips if I do something amazing or there's a glitch. I doubt I'll use the streaming much, though - I just don't understand the appeal of watching other people play games. I only have so much spare time as it is - why would I waste time watching a game, when I could be playing one?

Still, I'm happy that the options are included. I've always believed that more choice is a good thing.



sajoey said:

It seems great, but I'm a sub-account, so I can't share anything



NathanUC said:

I've been using a it a lot. A few of my friends didn't get PS4 yet but wanted to see what some of the features are like.

I'm having some issues getting comments to work in my streams, but other then that it works very very well. I'm not sure I'd tune into some random streams, but it will be fun to watch my friends play from time if I were taking a break.

Other than streaming, I've already made good use of the saving a few funny/cool clips from games. I wish I were able to upload them to more than just Facebook, but I'm sure that will all be added soon enough. Screenshot tool is nice, but seems to have a brief delay. Top tip: if you long press the Share button, it takes a screenshot.



InsertNameHere said:

When I get my PS4, I'll use spectator mode as a scouting tool for tough opponents. I may stream from time to time, but I won't make a habit of it.



Uberchu said:

Voted for a waste of resources. I am the 8% ATM. lawl.

I have no need for social features.



Gemuarto said:

Eh, from some point of view people in Sony are meh...

Press Home and Start simultaneously... long press The Share button... It's almost impossible to grab action moments. Why on Earth don't let people to grab screens from buffer after pressing Home button...WHYYYYY?????



divinelite said:

One feature I would really dig in the future
I also love screen shooting in vita, so much that I hate some games can't be shotted... (encounter two to this date, resistance and gundam breaker)



Cloud7794 said:

I'm really liking it. I have already uploaded quite a few videos to Facebook for people to be able to see just what PS4 brings to the table. Have yet to upload Knack footage, but I uploaded a beautiful level of Resogun where I did particularly well, a few Killzone videos, and some Injustice fights between me and my younger brother. The people who actually care to watch them on my page think it's rather cool.



ShogunRok said:

I've been watching @GRIFFEN14 stream his games live on Twitch, and it's fantastic. I don't think I'll ever watch TV again - just watch friends play games I don't have!



AaronYeager said:

For me the share function is more of an added perc. Something I won't use a lot, but could be handy at times. I think this and streaming is more of Sony's way of bringing the console up to date with the current trends. While it may not initially appeal to a lot of us old school gamers, I can definitely see it catching on with the youth. Just look at how Vine has taken off? At 1st I thought Vine was silly and couldn't understand what all the fuss was about, but then one of my younger co-workers started doing Vines at work and I gave it a try, and have been going Vine crazy ever since. I can imagine something similar happening with the share feature especially with Multiplayer games.



TOMBOY25 said:

i'll definitely take a look but dont wanna see killzones ending so i'll just drop in every now and then.



Deadstanley said:

I've been testing out the video sharing, but haven't made a stream yet. Though for the live streams, I think it's a good idea and while I wouldn't watch a single person regularly, I do like that it lets me quickly see some gameplay right from the PS4 — so that I may decide if it's the game for me or not.

Anyway, with the video sharing a few drawbacks I came across, though overall not a deal breaker for me.

1. You can only upload to facebook or twitter. YouTube isn't available yet, but maybe it's in the works.

2. Trimming a video before upload has been hit or miss for me. I did a Resogun video that spanned a failed level attempt followed by a successful one. I trimmed the bad attempt out, and I think I needed to reselect the trimmed content for upload because when I did upload it, I got the full recording including the bad attempt.

3. 15 minute limit should be configurable based on your hard disk space.

4. If you don't care about recording videos, they still take up hard disk space because the PS4 is always capturing. Not sure if the 500GB HD is really something like 600GB with 100GB set aside for system functions like this, or if you eat away at the 500GB for things the video buffer recording. Point being I found some old captures that I had not uploaded still lingering.

5. If you hit the share button during game play, you get taken to the share screen. If you cancel out and go back to the game, the video you were recording is considered finished and a new one starts up. Not a problem if there was a concatenation function in the video editor, but there isn't. I have to try it, but you can probably pull the recordings off the PS4 and onto a PC if you wanted to do some advanced editing.

6. The recording is done right off the GPU at render time, and the system overlays don't appear in the recordings. Not a big deal, probably preferred, but if you wanted to show off receiving credit for a trophy, you won't be able to.

7. I found the volume from the DS4 speaker being mixed into the audio for the game, but it was way too loud compared with the audio of the game. You can adjust the volume for the controller, and by default it's almost set to max, but I don't yet know if the volume adjustment is reflected in the recordings.



PMasterTy9 said:

@Deadstanley You might know this and I should probably post this in the forum but how do you change the layout of what you are streaming. On some streams the video is fullscreen and on some streams the video is smaller and it shows like how many viewers are watching with a chat box. Also I see some streams the camera stream is on the left and some streams the camera is on the right. The other drawback I see is that if you want to steam video with the camera it just picks a random spot to zoom in on and it doesn't appear that you can adjust this setting.



Deadstanley said:

@PMasterTy9 I don't know. In my opinion, the streams you watch are post processed from twitch or ustream. So they may be adding those chat boxes and whatnot. As for the camera, I didn't pick that up so I can't speak to that.



Paranoimia said:

In the early days of PS3, I made a totally amazing kill with a grenade in a game of CTF on Resistance, which had me feeling great for days. Mostly because I generally suck at online FPS. I would have loved to have been able to save it and show the world, but alas it wasn't possible.

So I'll definitely use it for moments like that, as and when they happen.

The streaming stuff I'm not so sure about. I've created Twitch and UStream accounts just in case, and to reserve my username. I'll certainly give it a try to start with. I dunno, maybe I'll create a channel called "Watch me suck at..." and become boogie2988 famous for being sh*t at online gaming..? XD



Paranoimia said:


Potential work-around for lack of direct YouTube support:

Both Twitch and UStream have an option to archive (record) your streamed gameplay, though it isn't enabled by default. They also both feature the option to upload archived videos to YouTube.

I know this isn't quite the same as directly sharing the last 15 minutes, but it's something to consider.

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