While concrete details on the PlayStation 4 are few and far between, Sony illustrated in their February presentation its insatiable desire to create a new, greater social experience for its abundance of PlayStation Network (PSN) users.
Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida revealed in an interview with EDGE magazine recently that first-party developer Sony Santa Monica played a crucial role in the creation of one of the upcoming console’s central features: the share button.
The social nature of videogame consoles has only increased over the years, and Sony’s order of business in molding the PS4 is greater evidence of this.
“After the core hardware, the CPU and GPU, had been decided the project shifted to designing and discussing what should be the user experience of people who be playing games on PS4,” said Yoshida.
This is where Santa Monica’s creative director, Nathan Gary, pitched the idea for an easy-to-use share button on the PS4’s controller:
“I think it was [creative director] Nathan Gary in Santa Monica studios who suggested it: how about adding a dedicated button on the controller so that everybody can just press that button to share?" continued Yoshida.
"So Nathan put together a Powerpoint and pitched in this Share button idea … And we all went, that’s a brilliant idea! So it was a pretty quick decision after he suggested it and I’m sure he’s pretty proud of his contribution. That was after many months of discussion of how people should be using the PS4 system and sharing was one of the central experiences we wanted to include in the system’s development.”
The efforts to create a seamless user interface, as Yoshida revealed, required help from a variety of sources.
“We formed the cross-functional groups of people from SCEI hardware group and Worldwide Studios and Sony network services teams to meet every month,” he said. “And the idea of sharing and seamless integration with social networks, that was heavily discussed.”
The impact of social networking on the videogame industry has only been partially realized in the current generation. Sony has made countless efforts over the years to bring its community together by integrating with Facebook and YouTube, creating PlayStation Home and attempting to immerse its gamers in memorable multiplayer experiences, achieving mild success along the way.
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Steven Chaffin is a US staff writer for PlayStation Universe who, whenever the tremulous obligations of life permit, enjoys sitting down to play a variety of role-playing, first-person shooter, and action titles. You can often find him in the cold climes of northern Skyrim, or knee deep in a zombie apocalypse. You can find him on Twitter.