Sony’s PlayStation 4 has outsold the console competition for seven straight months now, with PS4 sales roughly double that of Xbox One sales worldwide, according to Metro. But with this new update, the PS4 is about to become a much more powerful and user-friendly gaming platform.
The big reason? “Share Play,” which was promised when Sony announced the PS4 at E3, is a feature that allows you to play with any of your PlayStation Network friends over the internet – even if you don’t own the game. (It’s free to register a PSN account.)
This particular feature uses just a single copy of your game that’s run locally on one system, and then you or others can invite your friends to play that game with you by streaming it to their consoles. So if you own a racing game that your friends don’t have, you can still play your game with them online.
But there’s more:
“For example, if there is part of a game that you can’t quite finish, you can invite a friend to take over your controls,” Sony says on its blog. “Like handing over the controller to a friend on your couch, your screen will be shared as your friend gets through the part of the game that has been giving you trouble.”
But, there’s a catch: a 60-minute time limit. There’s no limit on the number of times you can use Share Play, meaning you can conceivably start Share Play up again and continue playing. Of course, this is hardly ideal, but nonetheless a great feature.
It’s possible the owner will need to be at his or her console to grant access at the same time as when someone wants to play a game. What it means for sure is that the person doing the sharing will be unable to use their system while someone else is remotely playing a game on it.
SCE Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida offered up some additional details on how Share Play will work in an interview with Famitsu. Comparing it to Sony’s new Playstation Now Streaming Service, he said, “How it works is, for example, say, a friend has a game that I don’t. I ask them to let me play it, and if they send me an invitation, I can access their PS4 and play while watching the video that is streamed.”
Some of this certainly dampens the enthusiasm for Share Play, but it’s not all bad news. Yoshida said the feature works with all PS4 games without any effort on the part of developers. Additionally, save games are tied to the player’s account, allowing you to try a friend’s game, buy it, and then pick up from where you left off.