After around 10 years of waiting, both Microsoft and Sony have newly released their next generation gaming consoles – the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. While we wouldn’t normally be concerned by the gaming industry (we’re more interested in how companies are using Twitter, Facebook and other forms of Social Media in fun and creative ways), the new consoles are more than just gaming machines. Last time, our #SocialSpotlight focused on Microsoft’s Xbox One. This week, we will look at the social side of Sony’s PlayStation 4.
Sony PlayStation 4
A couple of years ago, Sony faced negative publicity when hackers breached security on the PlayStation Network (PSN), collecting customers’ credit cards and personal details. Those security issues have since been fixed and the PlayStation continues to attract gamers. So far, reviews of the new PlayStation 4 console have been positive. It is a slightly faster machine than the Xbox One and is around $100 less expensive. The PSN continues to grow, which is encouraging for the Sony community.
Traditional Social Media
Like the Xbox One, the PlayStation 4 is currently missing a traditional social media platform such as Twitter or Facebook. This social aspect is likely to appear in the future, presumably once the licensing and apps have been developed. However, the PlayStation 4 is missing a universal messaging service. In the Xbox One system, Microsoft included Skype. Some messaging capability is included with the PS4 but its reach falls short.
The PS4 started to flex its social muscles on the new controller. For the first time, Sony launched a dedicated ‘share’ button, which players can press at any time. Users can share their game achievements, videos of them playing (similar to the Machinima integration Microsoft has), photos and screenshots.
PlayStation 4 Social Experience
Sony partnered with Ustream to offer gamers a new interactive experience. Now, players can broadcast themselves playing or watch along in a spectator mode, which allows them to learn how to play the same games effectively by picking up hints and tips. These Ustream videos are shared on the Internet and with other gamers. To strengthen the social community, viewers can leave comments and post questions.
If a gamer is really stuck with a certain game, there is even a feature that allows someone to hand control to another player online to help you get past those really challenging moments. [Tweet “Are consoles and games becomming more social?”]
Sony recognizes that consoles are made for great video games, and the PlayStation 4 is aimed squarely at gamers. The console isn’t packed with social gimmicks that attempt to replace smart phones or tablets, and the social aspects are focused on the games. Will this strategy appeal to the gaming community more than Microsoft’s approach? Will these social elements really matter on gaming consoles? Or, is this the start of consoles and games becoming more and more social? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below – as always, we’d love to hear from you!