Sony plans second-screen app for PlayStation 4

The app for iOS and Android devices will allow companion downloads, mobile purchases, and the ability to watch other players' game action.

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Sony revealed many details about its upcoming PlayStation 4 game console -- except for its actual appearance. Sarah Tew/CNET

One of the key features of its forthcoming PlayStation 4 game console Sony played up today was its ability to stream games across a network of devices. As part of the effort, Sony is readying a companion app called PlayStation App that will allow iOS and Android devices to become second screens for players.

Sony says the app could allow players to download companion maps on their mobile device while playing an adventure game on their console. Players could also use the app to remotely watch other players' game play and purchase games while on the go that would be downloaded directly to the console.

During at its event in New York today, Sony boasted that the PS4 will feature integration with third-party services, phones, and tablets that will allow players on mobile devices to view gameplay videos and challenge friends in head-to-head play.

There's no release date for the app, but it's clear that Sony is moving the PlayStation experience toward a more online and social affair. Sony bought Gaikai, a cloud-gaming firm, last year for $380 million, apparently for that very goal.

Gaikai CEO Dave Perry said he wants gamers to play only the games they love, so in the PS store, players can have free exploration of any game instantly. Perry said the network will actually learn from players' behavior in order to give you a better experience.

"The PlayStation network will get to know you by understanding your preferences and the preferences of your community," he said.

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