All the major console manufacturers have announced their next generation of products and it seems that all have in mind the idea that your console should interact in some way with you phone or tablet.
Microsoft’s Xbox SmartGlass app for Android already lets you sign in to your Xbox account and use your handheld device to enrich your experience. You can use the phone’s keyboard to type on the Xbox and control the integrated music player or the web browser with the app’s interface and other nifty things. But when used with compatible games, it can deliver summarized details of the current game. For example after playing a multiplayer game of Halo 4 it shows you all kinds of details of the round, like your most used weapon and a bunch of stats. Another great example is when you play Forza the phone displays the world map and allows you to set destination markers.
But Play Station 4’s idea of their version of a companion app is more than what Microsoft offers. Your friends will be able to take a peek at your current game as you play it, or even let them take over the game, a feature that pretty much mirrors what the video game streaming service OnLive offered for years now. Another feature the PS4 will have in common with OnLive is the ability to stream games to your handheld device, a feature made possible thanks to their latest acquisition of the streaming company Gaikai. As far as they mentioned at the conference, they are planning to make this possible for all Play Station 3 games. The best part of streaming games to other devices is that the client device doesn’t have to be a powerful device, all of the processing taking place on the console letting you have the same speed as on the platform. The downside of course is that your trading the dedicated controller for a bunch of on-screen buttons. OnLive offers its users a gamepad (which costs around $50) that can interact with the mobile device giving the user he’s physical buttons back. Of course this means another device to carry around and another cost.
Sony also mentioned that the console will have other new features that they didn’t talked about, that the console will get after the launch. We can only cross our fingers and hope that Sony will knock our socks off with their next-gen gaming platform.