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Sony pushes streaming and sharing with PS4

The company's next console focuses on social gaming and a fast download experience. This means you'll be able to start playing games before they are done downloading.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony's new PlayStation 4 will focus on streaming games across a network of devices and tapping into social gaming, executives said today.

This means faster downloading times, video clip share buttons, and the ability to take over a friend's controller when they are in need of assistance, the company highlighted at its event in New York today.

Mark Cerny, the lead system architect for PS4, said the console system's OnLive network will have a seamless upload experience. This means players can start playing the first part of a game before it is done downloading.

Additionally, PS4 boasts integration with third-party services, phones, and tablets -- you'll be able to use your smartphone to view gameplay videos and challenge friends. Executives demonstrated this on Sony's PlayStation Vita and streamed a game from the PS4 to the Vita handheld. The long-term goal is to make every PS4 game playable on Vita, according to Gaikai CEO Dave Perry.

Sony bought Gaikai, a cloud-gaming firm, last year for $380 million, so it's not a surprise that the PS4 focuses on online content and experience.

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.

To build on this, Sony is also partnering with social networks like Facebook and Ustream to share gaming preferences and history.

Additionally, players' friends will be able to virtually look over their shoulder and interact with them as they play, as well as post comments on their screens.

Update, 4:22 p.m. PT: Updated with more details.

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