Sony held a very special PlayStation 4 panel at the Game Developers Conference this week, showing to game creators from all over the world technical details about the next-generation console, including what its user interface will look like, how sharing works and how owners will be able to play a game while downloading it.
The PlayStation 4 was revealed to the world in February when Sony showcased different games and features that will arrive alongside the new console at the end of the year.
Now, at GDC 2013, Sony held another presentation, this time geared towards developers, and explained some of the console's features, according to Destructoid.
The first thing detailed was the user interface, which won't have common elements with the PS3's XMB or the PS Vita's LiveArea, as it goes into "new directions."
While no actual images with the PS4's interface were revealed, Sony did mention that lots of information will be displayed on it, including details about DLC, videos, social links, and recommendations from friends.
Speaking of friends, the company confirmed that the system has been improved and will support adding a bigger number of friends than on the PS3. PS4 owners can choose to share their actual names or the nicknames with their online buddies.
After that, Sony talked about the Sharing system and how it uses the PS4's hardware encoder to automatically record the last several minutes of gameplay, without taking a toll on the console's performance. It won't require any special work from game developers and the footage can be uploaded to social sites like YouTube or Facebook in the background, while people continue playing.
The PS4 also supports live spectating, allowing an owner to watch others play and even comment on the action on the screen.
PS4 owners can also take advantage of a play during download feature that enables them to start playing a game before the download completes.
This is achieved thanks to a new file structure system for digital titles, as developers can create a "minimum package" that includes the files required for instant play, which will be downloaded first.
Last but not least, an official PlayStation app will appear on mobile platforms like iOS or Android that will turn devices into second screens, similar to Microsoft's Xbox SmartGlass system.