In the gaming world, things are starting to heat up. In November, both Microsoft and Sony are releasing their next generation of video game systems. In addition to the visual upgrades, both systems will also deeply integrate social media.
Gamers and developers alike are getting excited about the promise of the next generation of gaming, which kicks off November 15th with the release of the PlayStation 4, followed by Microsoft’s Xbox One on November 22nd. Here are a few of the ways those companies will make use of the social media features.
Blending the Online and Offline World
One of the largest ambitions of the next generation is the blending of the online and offline world. According to Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag director Ash Ismail, it’s a feature that he’s looking forward to the most. Thanks to the extra power provided by the next generation of systems, certain features will only be available because your friends found them first. For example, in Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, if your friend finds an elusive white whale, its location will be marked on your map.
In the upcoming game Watch Dogs, Ubisoft plans to seamlessly blend the experience by allowing players online the ability to manipulate the world of someone who’s playing single player.
Integrated Video Sharing
Taking a cue from other companies making third-party products to record gameplay, both Microsoft and Sony have made video sharing a focus point of their next generation consoles. Users will be able to record gameplay and upload it remotely, allowing users get guidance in certain situations, or just allowing players to have bragging rights.
With the Xbox One, the videos will get posted to your profile, and anyone that sees your profile will be able to see your video. You’ll then be able to upload the video to YouTube and Facebook, allowing your friends without an Xbox One to see the video that you recorded. Unfortunately, videos are limited to five minutes.
The Playstation 4, on the other hand, allows you to pause your game, select a portion of the video, edit it, and upload it to a social service. It hasn’t been explicitly revealed that YouTube is supported, but Sony has implied that it will be.
Social Networking on Next Generation Consoles
Microsoft and Sony are directly integrating social networks into their next generation consoles, and even Nintendo is getting in on the action. With all three systems, you’ll be able to send messages to your friends, or even start a group chat. With the PlayStation 4, you’ll be able to update your Facebook account directly from your console. With U-Stream, you’ll be able to watch other players play games live, and, if they let you, you can provide assistance. The PlayStation 4 will also encourage using real names, similar to Facebook. The console will also feature video chats.
With the Xbox One, Microsoft hasn’t confirmed social media integration from Facebook and Twitter, but rather, Microsoft has formed its own sort of social network. With the Xbox Live friends app, you’ll be able to see what people are playing in real-time, and join their game directly from your activity feed. Thanks to Microsoft’s purchase of Skype, you’ll be able to keep in contact with all of your friends, regardless of if you’re watching a movie or playing game.
Nintendo, on the other hand, has created its own social media network, the Miiverse. Similar to a message board, the Miiverse allows Wii U users to go to separate different gaming forums, each one dedicated to a specific game, and chat about the game. They can draw pictures, share screenshots, or just discuss the game.
Second Screen Experiences
In a first for both companies, both Microsoft and Sony have created a second screen experience for both the Xbox One and Playstation 4, which will transform any smartphone or tablet into a second screen for the console (the Wii, significantly, already does this). Using this second screen, you’ll be able to interact not only with the game, but other users as well. You’ll be able to invite others to games and send messages to each other, presumably via social networks.
The PlayStation 4 Learns From the User
Social media sites have long been able learn more about the user and tailor personalized experiences for those users. The PlayStation 4 does the exact same thing, but in the gaming world. As you play, the PlayStation 4 will learn about you, such as your preferences, or the types of games you frequently play. Based on the things it learns, it can recommend games for you and download demos it thinks you might like to play.
The next generation of gaming consoles will bring about a lot of changes, and they’re both heavily influenced by social media and ideas from social media. Which one will win the hearts of gamers? We’ll find out in November.