PS4 to let you play with friends – even if they don’t own the game!

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Sony has announced plans for a new PS4 feature called “Share Play”, that will let your friends jump in and help you in games – and for players to share the experience.

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The feature, which will come as part of the 2.0 system update later this year is rather clever. Essentially, using the share button you’ll be able to invite other players into your game – and even hand them control. What this means is that they won’t get their own copy of the game (so no multiplayer Call of Duty with only one disc), but they will be able to control the game taking place on your console. This means that if you’re stuck on a particular bit of, say, The Last Of Us, your friend can jump in and play it for you.

The way it will work is similar to “PlayStation Now”, Sony’s new on-demand streaming service. But instead of using copies of the game running on Sony’s service, your PS4 will act as the streaming server – sending the video pictures to your friend (just like when you stream to Twitch), and taking the controller input not from your PS4, but your friend’s.

Sony are calling it a “virtual couch” because it will be like sitting in the same room as your friend and passing the controller to each other… albeit without the warmth of genuine human interaction by actually being together. We think its a great idea though as it will add a social element to what were previously single player experiences: and not everyone likes endless deathmatches anyway.

Along with this announcement came the news that Sony is (unsurprisingly) adding a YouTube streaming option to the share button (guess who recently bought Twitch) and also revealed plans to make the “What’s New” news feed more useful by making real time suggestions based on your friends activity.

We’ll let you know when the updates roll out.

James O’Malley