One of the staples of the PlayStation 4 will be the new ‘Share’ button, found on the new DualShock 4 controller. The new button is designed to give gamers more social features like posting to Twitter and Facebook, and uploading video gameplay directly to YouTube. With the explosion of social media and gameplay streaming on sites like Twitch.tv and uStream (which is the service Sony will be using), it came off as a no brainer for Sony to make the PS4 more social from its core up. As a gamer himself, Shuhei Yoshida, Sony’s Worldwide Studios President spoke about the importance of the ‘share’ feature:
I wanted to play Dark Souls all day long, but I couldn’t do that because I was too busy. So instead I would watch people playing it live on Niconico (a popular Japanese video sharing site) whenever I had some spare time
However, it now seems that there might be one large caveat with it.
Speaking more in depth about the ‘Share’ button, Yoshida put things into perspective:
For example, on Vita, developers can, in certain scenes, disable the feature that lets users take a screenshot, and (the Share function) will have a similar mechanism. The creator may not want to make video of the final boss sharable, for instance.
He further elaborated that, despite it having many capabilities, it will be up to the developer to choose which functionality of the ‘Share’ button they wish to utilize.
There will be parts of a game that the maker does not want people to be able to see.
While giving developers freedom can result in creative content, a too-relaxed approach can also lead to a lack of uniformity. This in the long term can hurt Sony as consumers can never be sure of what to expect from a game’s social feature. Sony similarly experienced this when they rolled our trophies for the PS3 which was optional during its initial outing. Eventually, Sony would require this as a part of any game shipped. With a feature that many have thus far championed, Sony should do everything in its power to – not require – but give incentives to developers in order to inspire them to take advantage of these features. While uncertain at what the next Xbox will feature, this alone could help set a multi console game apart on the PS4 versus the next Xbox.
With core features like the ‘Share’ functionality, should Sony be more demanding with its utilization or should they leave that decision to developers?