During the big announcement of the PlayStation 4 yesterday, game developer Evolution Studios mentioned that companion app for Android tablets to its Drive Club title would allow gamers to communicate with others from a tablet running Google’s software. At the time, it wasn’t clear how far compatibility would go with other mobile devices, but Sony has just announced a new version of its ”PlayStation App”, which in turn offers a little more information on the matter. As well as being available to both the Android and iOS-using faithful, it will turn tablets and smartphones into ‘second screen’ controllers.
This means, for example, that gamers will be able to download games while on-the-fly, and have the title ready to be played when they arrive home. Although the PlayStation 4 features a nifty feature allowing games to be played even before they’ve finished downloading, this is still a pretty useful feature, and having seen hints in the past few years of how consoles and mobile devices can be integrated, this announcement represents a massive step.
It’s impossible not to draw comparisons between the PlayStation App and the current Microsoft Xbox app which allows the viewing of stats, editing of profiles, and other such snippets. Microsoft has perhaps made an even bigger emphasis on diversifying the console experience, and with Sony wading in with its pledge to remove the traditional ‘console’ label, it appears both companies have similar ambitions for the immediate future of this competitive market.
As somebody who has really taken to mobile gaming over the past couple of years (I have ditched my PS3 and Xbox 360, and I am certainly not alone), it would seem Sony has done something it doesn’t seem to do often enough, in actually assessing the market’s needs. The insistence on continuing to bring out these standalone handhelds like the PS Vita for the "high-end" – despite the graphics performance being trumped by the latest iPad – indicates an element of denial and / or disillusionment, but the emphasis on these ‘second screen’ apps will ensure attachment to a mobile device needn’t mean forgoing console time.
Although, an official PlayStation app for iOS does exist at this point in time, which was released back in 2011, but it only serves as a mere companion app with a lot of voids which the new offering definitely fills.
There has been no specific release date placed on the PS4, but Sony insists it’ll be here for the holiday period. Stay tuned for all your latest PlayStation-related updates here at Redmond Pie!