Share Play will let you play any PS4 game with friends online

Sony logoSince the announcement and revocation of Microsoft's "Family Sharing" features on Xbox One, we've been waiting for someone to come up with a fair and logical way of sharing generalized gameplay experiences with friends over the Internet. Steam's library-wide Family Sharing features were a step in the right direction, but Sony's newly announced Share Play feature sounds like the Internet game sharing we've been waiting for.

Announced at Sony's pre-Gamescom press conference today, Share Play is being sold as a "virtual couch" that lets you in effect "pass the controller" to friends online even if they don't own a copy of the game. That means you'll be able to play simultaneous cooperative and competitive games with your PSN friends, even if the game is only designed for local multiplayer. Alternatively, an online friend can take over for you in single-player games to help with a particularly difficult section.

Share Play will let you play any PS4 game with friends online

It all happens without the need for the second online player to buy or download anything, Sony said, although both players will need to have a PlayStation Plus account. While Sony didn't get technical at the press event, it seems the feature works through the same kind of Gaikai-fueled game-streaming/screen-sharing technology that powers PlayStation Now and PS4 Remote Play on the Vita.

While a lot will depend on the implementation, this is the kind of no-brainer, value-added feature that seems like a good, innovative use of what's becoming near-ubiquitous broadband connections in many parts of the world. By designing a game-sharing system that works with any gameand without any onerous purchasing or download requirementsSony is letting players easily reconnect with friends that may live too far away to come over for a quick gaming session but who still want to play together with their buddies as if they were in the same room.

The new feature will come to the PlayStation 4 via the System Software 2.0 update, which is being targeted for release "this fall." That update will also add the ability to share recorded game clips directly to a YouTube channel and a new "friend finder" that helpfully suggests people you might know on the PlayStation Network.

Elsewhere in its pre-Gamescom press conference, Sony announced that its PlayStation Now game streaming service wouldn't launch in Europe until 2015, owing to a stated desire to make sure the experience was up to standard in every locale. Sony also announced that its PlayStation TV micro-console would come to Europe on November 14 at a price of 99, which includes three digital game downloads.

On top of Share Play, Sony's conference was packed with a number of new trailers, including Q Games' newly announced crafting-shooter The Tomorrow Children, previously announced exploration title Rime, animal-filled adventure game Wild, and Supergiant's mysterious horror game Until Dawn, which was first announced at Gamescom two years ago. The PlayStation 4 will also be getting new versions of titles like Tearaway, DayZ, and a number of indie games that are making their way over from the PC.

Perhaps tellingly, Sony didn't mention the struggling PlayStation Vita, or any games for it, a single time during the otherwise wide-ranging press conference.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: computer games, game consoles, PlayStation 4, Sony

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