Many gamers are familiar with the concept of a Let's Play video, commonly found on video sharing websites such as YouTube. For those unfamiliar with the concept, a Let's Play video contains one or more gamers playing a video game from start to finish while commentating on it, usually in a humorous manner. Some companies, such as Nintendo, have unsuccessfully taken action against Let's Plays due to the fact an entire game is streamed on the Internet, negating the need to play a game to see its story. Sony has stayed silent on the issue, with many gamers thinking that the ability to stream games live through the console was the company embracing the technology. Turns out, this might not be the case.
Ars Technica has reported that Sony will look to block capture cards through the HDMI input, which is the only type of input the PlayStation 4 will recognize. While this barrier did exist on the PS3, gamers were easily able to get around this due to the analog inputs on the system. With the PlayStation 4, it seems the only way to share gameplay is to stream it from the system, which requires a PlayStation Plus account which means Sony is now getting a cut of the Let's Play action.
However, this solution isn't ideal, as it's already been reported that developers will have the ability to make certain sections of gameplay unstreamable. Additionally, Sony hasn't officially confirmed that gameplay can be uploaded to YouTube yet, the biggest home of Let's Play videos, which further puts the future of the Let's Play series of videos in doubt.
Let's Play fans and creators were excited when Ars Technica received word that the PS4 would allow HDMI recording, but there is a catch: full details are coming soon. That's never a good sign. Ars Technica postulates that this may mean the feature will be up to the developer, which is Sony's way of shifting the blame lately. First DRM, now the ability to record and share gameplay are all left to the developer, who will take the heat for enabling these features and not Sony. It's a clever tactic, simultaneously giving developers what they want but steering clear of the ire of angry gamers.
But while the industry heaps scorn on Let's Play videos, they aren't all bad. In an age when many games don't include a demo, watching a Let's Play video can give you an uncensored look at how a game really is. For independent developers, having a popular YouTube personality do a Let's Play of your game could increase sales by a large percent. It's a way of advertising that feels real and genuine, partially because it is. Censoring Let's Play videos is a bad move on Sony's part, as it's one more step to making gaming a cold, corporate world, a far cry from the radiant splendor gaming could be.
Are you a fan of Let's Play videos? Or do you feel Sony is making the right call in potentially preventing them? Sound off in the comments, our legion of PS4 Experts readers, and let your voice be heard!
Article by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 9/23/2013