Now that the PlayStation 4 has been around for almost two years, it’s becoming easier to see just how much the industry has changed on a social standpoint since the previous generations of consoles. With that, Daily Reaction is discussing the changes that they have personally seen over the years, and what they would like to see changed to help evolve our current ability to share our experiences.
Dan: The one thing that has become an undeniable asset to gamers has been the ability to be able to play games with friends. When I was younger and playing on older consoles, the only way I was able to involve my friends was to bring over a game to their house so that we could play together. When I was really into PC gaming years ago, the only real ability to get everyone together was to bring my computer over and set up a LAN party. Now, the industry has evolved so much that, just about no matter where you are in the world, you can always be right there with your friends.
Eventually online PC gaming became a standard, but on the console market things moved a bit slower. My first time hearing about the ability to play with friends over the net on consoles, was over a Super Nintendo dial-up connection service called XBAND, and as a kid, I couldn’t have wanted anything more. Sadly, I wasn’t able to convince my parent to also pay for its subscription fees, so I was never able to use it. So my first taste of a connected console network came when the PlayStation 2 released a network adapter that screwed into the back of the console, and let me play SOCOM 2.
Now with the PS4, gamers are able to capture footage or screenshots, and share them almost seamlessly between friends. Combining this with services like the PlayStation App, gamers are now being connected to each other even when they are at work, or on the bus. We are now being connected even when we aren’t even available to play, and I think this is a concept that is only going to be growing as we push our industry forward.
But, just now console gamers are starting to discover their ability to communicate. While many have been able to play online for some time, the ability to truly reach a market bigger than those directly around them is becoming more of a possible future. Services like Twitter and Vine are allowing for instantaneous mass communication, and letting those opinions and ideas flow through countless people around the world.
What this means for the future is that I think that gaming will find itself relying on these concepts more and more as a method to relay information between users and for the industry itself. Not only by simply using Twitter, as many already are, but by learning from how it’s categorizing a great amount information across millions of users while letting them control what type of information they are interested in. As has already be said a number of times. We are at a very early stage in the games industry, and the only way for us to successfully grow is to adapt with the times, and while services like PSN are off to a good start, we still have a lot to learn about communication.
Chandler: I have mentioned it before, but I love being connected. So the increasingly social aspects that we are seeing on consoles is exciting to me. Dan, you mentioned the sharing capabilities of the PS4, and this feature is a huge one in the modern era. Regardless of if you use it or not, the Share functionality has been a huge win for gamers. We can now instantly share anything, from massive fails or glitches, to amazing accomplishments. Whether I want to take a screenshot of a high score or a platinum trophy, or a quick clip of hilarious video game physics, I can have it on Facebook or Twitter within seconds.
For any review that I do for a PS4 game, I grab screenshots directly from the game. Gamers deserve to see the actual shots from the game. My video review is captured directly from my gameplay session. Gamers deserve to see the game in motion from a retail copy. With the instant sharing possible on the PS4, gamers no longer have to rely on screenshots or coverage from direct sources. Anyone with an internet connection can easily share their experiences, which is possibly why we are seeing an escalation in the perception of games being broken or having glitches.
On my previous consoles, if I encountered a glitch or a problem in the game, I could talk about it, but I couldn’t provide strong evidence. It was possible, but it was certainly a lot more difficult than they make it now. Now, if a game crashes, I even have an option to send a video with a report of how the crash occurred. This kind of instant feedback for developers and publishers is awesome and goes a long way in getting issues fixed quickly.
The other thing that comes to mind with sharing is trophies. Achievements and trophies are a huge part of modern gaming, with basically every platform having their own form of those goals to achieve in games. A recent PS4 update automatically screenshots and records the moment the every single one of these accomplishments is earned, and that screenshot is linked to the earned trophy on your console. You can then very easily share these screenshots and trophy details from your PS4 interface without having to worry about capturing the moment yourself.
Sitting around and sharing stories of gaming is a deep part of our culture. It’s amazing how you can connect with other people through the very simple aspect of sharing gaming with them. Whether it’s hearing someone talk about their experience with a game, or sharing excitement for an upcoming title, our passion is the thing that bonds us together. Gaming is becoming an increasingly accepted part of the world because we can more easily share that passion with those around us, bringing us closer together and highlighting a connection with people where we may not expect to find one.