During video game fair gamescom on Tuesday, Sony (NYSE:SNE) announced that a new featured called Share Play will be available this fall as part of the PS4’s 2.00 software update. Share Play was first discussed during the console’s unveiling in during a PlayStation meeting in New York City in February 2013.
Share Play will allow any of your friends on the PlayStation Network to log in and play your games as long as that person is also a PlayStation Plus subscriber. This means that only one person will have to purchase the game. Sony wants users to utilize this feature as a fun way to help one another through difficult in-game campaigns or to earn trophies.
In some ways, it’s similar to handing your controller to a co-player if he was sitting next to you. Sony compares the feature to a “virtual couch."
“The best way to think about Share Play is like a virtual couch. PlayStation 4 will create an online local co-op experience by allowing you to invite a friend to join your game—even when they don’t own a copy of it,” Sony explained on its PlayStation blog on Tuesday. “With this first-of-its-kind feature, you’ll be able to play games with a friend just as if you were together in the same room.”
Originally, Microsoft wanted to include a similar ability for its eighth-generation Xbox One. Before the device’s release date last November 22, Microsoft toyed around with the idea of allowing players to buy physical copies of games and install them without ever having to use the disc again. This capability would have allowed friends and family to play games from one another's library. Microsoft didn’t go through with the idea, because many players disliked the idea of the console phoning their homes every day to make sure they were still connected.
We’ll update with more details about Share Play as we receive them. Sony also promised additional features will be included as part of update v2.00, including dedicated app support for YouTube.
“Share Play will be coming to PS4 as part of the upcoming system software update v2.00, scheduled for release this fall,” the company promised. “The update will also add highly requested broadcast and video share features, including both uploading you game play footage and dedicated app support for YouTube, which we mentioned on stage at E3. Finally, What’s New will get enhanced real-time activity through friend-of-friend suggestions, allowing instant access to friends’ and recently played games’ broadcasts, and a real name search function will also be added. More features to come when v2.00 is made available this fall, and we will have more to announce in the coming months.”