Opinion: How LiveArea Could Be Enhanced for PlayStation 4

According to a wealth of recent rumours, the PlayStation 4 will be much more community driven than its predecessors. Trusted Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported earlier today that the console will “be furnished with the ability to exchange opinions amongst one's friends while playing games”. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal recently hinted that the console will be heavily focused on “social gaming aspects”. But what exactly should we expect?

Keeping tabs

Well, the articles appear to be referring to the console’s new ‘Share’ button. North American website Kotaku recently got its hands on some documentation for Sony’s next-generation machine, which referenced the ambiguous input. We hypothesised at the time that it may be used for uploading screenshots to various social networks, a theory that was in part backed up by British magazine EDGE’s sources.

According to the publication’s development spies, the upcoming system will allow you to share screenshots and gameplay videos on the fly. “The PS4 hardware will continually record the most recent 15 minutes of onscreen action, which users will then be able to edit and broadcast via the Internet,” reported the outlet. Presumably, you’ll be able to access the aforementioned features with a tap of the community centric button.

LiveArea, which is one of the Vita’s main selling points, already allows you to interact with fellow gamers

Of course, while the functionality itself is new, the idea of connecting gamers is not. LiveArea, which is one of the PlayStation Vita’s main selling points, already allows you to interact with fellow players in a more limited capacity. The system – accessed via each game’s title screen – offers the option to peruse your friends’ most recently unlocked Trophies, in-game achievements, and more. You can click on updates and ‘like’ them and even leave comments for your buddies to read.

LiveArea also enables developers to have a direct communication with the people playing their games. Messages can be sent to promote DLC – including direct links to the content on the PlayStation Store – in addition to tips, stats, and general comments. Naturally some studios are more proactive with this functionality than others, but it’s a lovely idea when used properly.

Imagine spotting an Easter egg in a game and being able to share it with friends

And we believe that this is an area that the PS4 will expand upon. The core functionality of the Vita could be easily replicated on the console, with the opportunity to keep track of your friends’ achievements and more. But the whole feature could be overhauled thanks to the inclusion of the console’s multimedia options.

Imagine spotting an Easter egg in a game and being able to immediately take a screenshot and share it with friends. They could then comment on the content and ‘like’ it in a similar fashion to a social network. You’d also be able to upload the image to websites such as Facebook and Twitter, extending the reach of your discovery.

All of the latest content

Incredible kills in multiplayer games like Call of Duty and Battlefield are big business. It’s rare that a week passes where we don’t get sent a video of someone tossing a throwing knife across a map and landing a lucky point as a result. But, again, imagine being able to share that content within the console. You could edit your gameplay clip – perhaps even add filters, titles, and transitions – and upload it to the PlayStation Network. The best global content could even be promoted on the game’s LiveArea for other people to watch and comment on.

Nintendo is already providing a similar service to this in the form of Miiverse, and it’s proved one of the more enjoyable areas of the Wii U experience. At the end of the day, it’s unlikely to change the way that we play, but in terms of augmenting each a game with a more vibrant and inviting community feel, it could definitely change the way that we interact with our console. And that’s something that the Wall Street Journal has promised that the PS4 will do.

Would you like to see more social features integrated into Sony’s next console? Do you have any other great ideas for the evolution of LiveArea? Let us know in the comments section below.