We all know that the Playstation Network is likely to change with the arrival of the PS4, but what do we know so far and what should be expected exactly? Well, the Sony conference provided a few answers to these questions, but as we said many times, the conference served more as an entry point for Sony than an all-out revelation of the PS4’s functionalities. This has been saved for E3! Still, we can imagine and predict a few aspects of the Playstation Network from the information that we now have.
The PS4 user interface
The first thing we can expect to change is how the PSN experience looks as a whole. Our profile pages will go from being bland pages with very basic information to full-blown worlds that truly reflect our personalities. This is mainly due to two things: the inclusion of video and the full-integration of social networking. Indeed, in the past the only thing that was able say something about ourselves on PSN was a small 50x50 avatar picture, but now our videos and picture collections will speak for themselves. And more importantly, it should now become “socially natural” to include pictures, videos comments on our PSN page. It won’t appear as try-hard to setup an amazing profile page and it should how become a part of the casual fun. In the PS3 era of things, social networking was only “another app” available on the Playstation store, but now it should become more of a mandatory thing. Forget the time when you opened the Facebook app to do some “facebooking” on your TV. You will now interact with your friends as part of your daily gaming experience. Indeed, the PSN world should now revolve much more around real names and getting closer to the people you play with. Simply take a look at the video above to witness how the new PSN interface should now be more lively and interesting to spend some time with.
The new instantaneous aspect of PSN
The Playstation Network as we know it is pretty much a place where we get our updates, content and games from. In other words, it is a resource that we use to get what we want, to then come back to our system to enjoy that same content. Therefore, on the Playstation 3 we don't actually "spend time on PSN", but rather mostly use it as a store. On the PS4, we are more likely to feel the Playstation Network as part of our daily experience. With the ability to instantly stream games and to interact with friends much more closely, we could be having just as much fun on the PSN interface than within the games themselves. We will be able to feel like we're an integral part of the PSN a whole lot more now. Spending a few hours scrolling through your friends' pages shouldn’t be a rare thing anymore. Than, we must not forget how we were promised that most the content of PSN will be accessible instantaneously, which means that the times when we had to wait for a friend to update his game and to download a new title will be a thing of the past. With the new instantaneous aspect of PSN, everyone will be in sync with each other, so that will enhance and favor even more interactions between friends.
Free or not?
This argument is still up in the air, but let's just say that this new service could easily justify a monthly payment, not in the mind of customers of course, but naturally in the mind of those that are making the money. The instantaneous aspect of the PS4 might spark an impression in the customer that this is an expensive thing to run (you know... bandwidth, infrastructure, etc.) so perhaps people will be more willing to pay a monthly fee by default. We shouldn’t get ready to open our wallets just yet though, as this will all come down to an organizational decision. Also, Playstation Plus is a player in this debate as it’s currently considered to be the paying version of PSN, and we’ve yet to see what role it will play in the next version of the network.
In conclusion, the new Playstation Network is shaping up to be something really refreshing. With the current generation, it would be hard to say that PSN is as much of a trademark platform as Xbox Live for example, but with its new features and interface, it is likely to gain more notoriety after the PS4’s release. E3 is our next destination to learn new details about the exciting evolution of PSN!
Article by - Marc-André Messier
Insert Date: 03/08/2013
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