Believe it or not, Sony’s PlayStation 4 has been on the market for one year now. To celebrate its one year anniversary, the console maker has released the first major software update for PS4, namely version 2.0. With it comes theming, a more organized games and app library, new voice commands, and the ability to share game session recordings directly to YouTube, just to name a few functionality and aesthetic updates. But there’s one new addition I’m here to spew about because it’s something that may very well change the game (pun!) forever.
It’s called Share Play, and it’s something Sony teased at Gamescom this year. Essentially it works like a “virtual couch;” two players in a party (with PS Plus subscriptions, of course) can play a game as if they were in the same room. A real-life example helps explain: Let’s say you have a copy of Destiny and you’re stuck at a certain level. With Share Play, you can invite a friend to join your party and actually share your gameplay session with them, across the Internet in real time. Your friend, then, can take over the controls of your character and take a crack at getting you past the hard part. Additionally, if the game supports local multiplayer (let’s say NBA 2K15), your friend can join your session and complete against you. The magic here: your friend does not have to own the game you are playing. That’s right–you are hosting an “online local co-op experience,” Sony calls it, where you can share your screen with a spectator, hand over your gameplay session to a friend, and invite a friend to join a multiplayer session. If you thought the inclusion of Twitch and UStream was an effective tool of the future for the console market, Share Play takes things to a whole ‘nother level.
Now, there are a couple stipulations. As mentioned earlier, you and your friend your sharing your session with must be Plus subscribers; additionally, Sony says Share Play sessions can last “for up to one hour at a time.” Not exactly sure what this means; will the session time out after the hour has passed? If you’ve got a PS4 you can test it out for yourself today; software update v2.0 is out now. See how Share Play works in the video above.