One of the big reveals that came out of the Playstation 4 announcement last month was the new abilities the system will have for multiplayer and connectivity with others, a huge leap into social media and sharing. Things like the “share” button, linking your social media accounts directly through your system, and especially the ability to have “spectators” or even helpers from your PSN remotely come into your experience are stretching the limits of what “playing together” can really mean. Sony is really stressing a continued focus on multiplayer, togetherness and sharing for its next generation console. Which got me thinking – how many of us out there are really shaped by playing with others?
Growing up with a younger brother, we were forced to “share” our consoles, taking turns and setting timers on who got to play when. Over time, we developed a system where I would play the “storyline” and Kyle would take over for boss fights and battles. This eventually became me watching him play, but not because he took over – because I liked watching. And growing up experiencing games in this manner has really shaped the way I approach gaming now. I still gravitate towards experiencing games together rather than alone, and still enjoy watching others play, especially games that I would find challenging and frustrating. To this day my friend Dave and I get together to play Mass Effect, where he plays and I sit on the edge of the couch and yell at him to shoot at things. Nothing has really changed in 20 years.
Personally I am excited for the array of options Playstation will soon allow gamers to take advantage of. The share button will be awesome for that “holy s**t!!” moment you wish you could share that epic headshot or utterly embarrassing death with the world. You never know when these moments will happen, and more than once I’ve done something epic and then thought “I wish I had that recorded!”. Well, problem solved!
I also am really looking forward to the aspect of “spectating” or even getting help from your PSN list while playing games. I love playing with friends online, and sometimes I would love to just chill out and watch someone else play their game and chat in my headset. I also am not the most skilled of gamers, and it would be nice that instead of rage quitting and chucking my controller away at an impossible God of War boss I could turn to my PSN and ask for assistance in ass-kicking.
Gaming with friends is something that I really enjoy doing, because it allows me to spend time with awesome people while still diving headfirst into my love of video games. This is what multiplayer and co-op games were made for – working together (or fighting it out) with people you know, or people you’re meeting for the first time. The sociality is key. However, sometimes you want to play a game that is only built for one, and in fact some people (like my husband) play these exclusively – he does not enjoy multiplayer online, shies away from co-op, and only really plays with others when some old school Mario comes out or I beg him to help me with a LEGO game. For him, the new additions to the Playstation 4 mean sharing what he’s doing after the fact, and chatting with others while he plays solo. It opens a range of applications, whether you like to play with others, or not!
This is where I throw it out to you. How do you play? Together, alone, or some combination? And how will the new innovations coming with the Playstation 4 change the way you game? Let me know in the comments below!