The new consoles make sharing video game experiences fairly easy. Today, Sony announced a planned update to make it even easier on the PlayStation 4.
The PS4 update, which has no release date yet, will include three useful features to improve content sharing on the console. Sony is adding a video editor “with a simple tool to personalize your video clips.” A press of the “share” button will save screenshots and videos to a USB drive plugged into the console. And finally, and most important, the update will enable PS4 players to turn off High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP). This will make it much easier to capture and share video with third-party devices, a popular method for serious gameplay broadcasters.
HDCP prevents most video-capturing devices from working with the PlayStation 4. Because of this, people have no Sony-approved way of sharing videos and screenshots captured by the console to YouTube or other websites. The console’s built-in sharing only supports sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, and Ustream. If players want to publish to any other platforms, they must bypass the restriction by using additional external hardware. While people can do this in many ways, Sony supports none of them.
Around the time of PlayStation 4’s November launch, Sony promised that it would work on providing an option to turn HDCP off, according to Joystiq. Now, it’s likely that the update to fulfill that promise is just weeks away. Once it comes out, installing it will make the PS4 compatible with standard video recording devices that work by intercepting and storing the HDMI feed between the console and the display.
Over the past few years, broadcasting video games has become a major phenomenon, spawning successful careers for many Internet personalities. YouTube is a major platform for this, as evidenced by the popularity of “Let’s Play” videos, in which someone plays through a game while providing commentary and narration. YouTube celebrity PewDiePie built his channel with this type of video, amassing 2.3 billion views in 2013 and making it the most watched YouTube channel of the year. Sony’s update will make it much easier for aspiring broadcasters to get started by giving them a simpler and more legitimate method of capturing their gameplay.
In other news, Sony announced that a separate upcoming update will enable the archiving of Twitch broadcasts and upgrade their maximum video quality to 720p.