playstation-app-ps4-02The "second screen experience" is a buzzword (buzz-phrase?) being tossed out a lot lately as everyone out there tries to figure out how they can offer deeper integration with their products/services and the device you carry with you everywhere you go. Of course next generation consoles are leaning heavily on this, but it still remains to be seen just how useful it's going to be in the future. This morning, Sony published a bunch of details on how the new PlayStation App is going to work.

It's hard to get excited, at least right now, as the base functionality is basically going to allow you to do things you'd typically just do on your console anyway. Specifically mentioned was being able to communicate with people on your friends list, compare trophies, browse the store, check out game replays, and view live streams.

Like most of these second screen experiences, more interesting functionality is promised in the future:

PlayStation App will also offer ‘second screen’ gameplay features on enabled titles. For example, during the TGS presentation Yoshida-san showed how the app interacts with THE PLAYROOM – he drew a picture of Knack on his smartphone’s touch screen and then pushed it into the PS4 game on his TV, allowing the game’s bot characters to play with the item he’d created.

“There are many big publishers creating their own apps for their games, like Watch_Dogs or Battlefield, and that’s great,” he added.

“But smaller developers can use PlayStation App to connect to PS4 and load an application, like drawing software for example, so that you don’t have to download and install a specific app on your smartphone. It’s open to all PS4 developers to use.”

I don't mean to sound like a downer on all this, I've just really yet to see a second screen experience that makes me go, "Alright, now this is awesome." Instead, especially in the case of all the Xbox SmartGlass implementations I saw, it seemed to be more of a solution in search of a problem. We'll see how that changes in the future. Certainly the potential is there, but, will it be realized as anything more than an afterthought in console game development?

  • themostunclean

    I'd say let me use my iphone as a blu ray remote like I can with my PC and TV, but then they wouldn't be able to sell us the overpriced accessory.

  • Zepfhyr

    All of the best second screen experiences came from Nintendo during the GameCube era. Specifically, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles used GameBoy Advances as controllers in multiplayer mode. Each player had a unique display, one had a map, another had a treasure chest detector, another had a monster detector, and a fourth was given info about an enemy's health, weaknesses, and more. Players could even trigger mini-games and play them on the device at times. Players could also pull up their inventory at any time to avoid interrupting gameplay for others, which was a huge help.

    I've been waiting ever since for someone to do second-screen gameplay worth using, and have been largely disappointed. Hopefully, this push will result in some truly awesome new ideas.

  • Bliquid

    I honestly don't want to use my phone while playing on the big screen.
    I liked the idea ( which could ve implemented in a much more interesting way) of the Mass Effect datapad, since i could interact with the game mechanic of readiness when on the go.
    iFruit for GTA V is a missed chance.
    What if we could manage stocks while not playing, or setting a date with a charachter while not playing and then going back home and pick up the pnc?

  • Techead81

    I agree with the article writer, these second screen experience feel tacked on and under-utilized. Case in point, the second screen for Beyond; it just doesn't make sense. If developers want to wow us, put mini games that interact with the game, gyroscope interactions, innovative ideas that fully realize what a second screen could really do and be! The current implementations feel like they are reaching.

  • ODMay

    What's with the paragraphs though? lmao

  • Rustrobot

    The only exception I've seen so far is The Division where you can still play with your friends while in the go via a controlled drone. That seems genuinely pretty awesome. I imagine we'll see a lot more fleshed out experiences once a few really good ideas are adopted and germinate across the industry.

  • Endscrypt

    Yeah apart from BF4, I ain't heard of many other great uses, we'll see. I suppose being able to talk with buddies while away from your console will be quite useful. Will that be possible?

  • araczynski

    Maps, bitches. That's what they need to use second screens for. Not a second place to shove more worthless twitter/Facebook/chat crap.

  • REkzkaRZ

    Oooh, social networking with ignorant racist 14 yr olds?!?!? WOW!

  • REkzkaRZ

    Here's a good idea for 2nd screen -- I post reviews, feedback, tips, etc -- and get purchase discounts on downloads, etc. Users create content, Sony gives rewards. No brainer!

  • ExcaliburEdge

    I think it'll be nice to chat and add new friends from the app. Scenarios?

    1- Playing multiplayer with some people I want to add to my friends list. I can add them from my phone when the action settles down instead of trying to remember complex usernames.

    2- I'm at work and want to set up a multiplayer session for when I get home. I message friends who have that game that I'll be playing at x o'clock.

    3- Friend tells me about a fun game, I buy it and it's already downloaded by the time I get home.