Imagine you’re out in the world and you get a hankering to buy a game. It happens. In today’s practically neolithic society, you’re forced to remember what it is you wanted to buy, wait until you get home, turn the console on, wait for it to boot up, then buy the game. And that’s assuming you want a digital copy – we won’t even bring Gamestop into the picture. Well, those days are about to change. Sony SNE -0.99% President of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida revealed a cool new Playstation 4 feature via Twitter today. Apparently, if you buy a game on your smartphone, your PS4 will wake up to download it, then go back to sleep afterwards. By the time you get back, it’s ready to play.
There’s no word on whether or not Xbox One will have a similar feature, but we’re reaching out for comment.
Not only is that a great feature, it’s part of the broader story we’re hearing with both the PS4 and the Xbox One. The companies are trying to turn their consoles into device hubs that sit in your living room, tying together phones and tablets, as well as the Playstation Vita for Sony, and any Windows device for Microsoft MSFT -0.86%. Features like this one make “Playstation” less of a box that sits under your TV and more of a cloud-based entertainment service that crosses between devices. If Sony can play that concept right, it could provide the ancillary benefit of finally moving some of its struggling Vitas.
Features like this harken back to the great used games debate that dominated discussion of next-gen consoles for months before and immediately after their announcement. If these companies want to regain more control over games sales, downloads are an obvious solution. The strategy here is to slowly incentivize downloads with cool features like this, until customers become more comfortable with a purely digital games collection. At the end of the day, we end up with something like Steam for consoles.
One also assumes that the Playstation 4 would have to be “always on, always connected” in order for this sort of thing to work. It goes to illustrate how some of the difference in marketing between Sony and Microsoft here. If you want people to use your console a certain way, give them reasons to do so, don’t just tell them they have to.
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