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Opinion

Opinion: The PS4's Share Button Needs To Be All Or Nothing, Publisher Censorship Won't Work

"There will be parts of a game that the maker does not want people to be able to see."

The PlayStation 4 is doing many things right. It’s ticking the boxes the developers want to see – it’s certainly powerful enough and that RAM is well received; it’s making gamers happy with great first party titles and solid third party support; and it’s making publishers happy – it’ll even offer publishers the ability to block which sections of the game players can share.

Yep, that Share button will come with restrictions, at the publisher’s will.

“There will be parts of a game that the maker does not want people to be able to see,” said Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida, speaking to 4Gamer (and translated here). “The creator may not want to make video of the final boss sharable, for instance,” he adds by way of an example.


That button. Only use it when the publisher or developer says you can, though.
So, a tool that can upload (at least) seven minutes or so of a live Killzone Shadow Fall demo for instant download anywhere by anyone, can be crippled by publishers so that so-called key parts of game can’t be shared.

Gamers can talk about how to beat the boss, video it themselves and push to YouTube, but they won’t be able to use that Share button.

This is a button that – you’ll note – takes pride of place on the DualShock 4. It’s directly next to the d-pad and it’s on the way to the touch screen. For a reason: Sony want you to use it – the PS4’s built around the button and it’s core, central to the way it works.

Yoshida makes the point that the Vita does the same thing, in a sense. “For example,” he says, “on Vita, developers can in certain scenes disable the feature that lets users take a screenshot, and (the Share function) will have a similar mechanism.” It’s not really similar, though – the Vita’s screenshot function (hidden away unless you know the button combination) can’t really compare with the dedicated PS4 tool.

“We were trying to think of a way to make it easier for users to upload video, and one day a member of our in-house production team just said, ‘How about a Share button?’ We called out in unison, ‘That’s it!’” says Yoshida, talking about the birth of the idea.

The desire to share videos comes from Yoshida’s recent Dark Souls run-through. Yoshida couldn’t play the game all day long, so he’d look on Japanese video site Niconico to see others playing it. “By doing that, you can find other ways to play the game and read comments by other users,” he says. “I felt that sharing videos is a really important part of enjoying games.”

Which, to me, goes against the restrictions.

For starters, how will this even work? If the PS4’s recording constantly, does it just throw up white noise when I’m running around with Nathan Drake taking down whoever’s this game’s bad guy? Does it turn voices into chipmunks when the final cut-scene plays? An ugly message that just says “You Cannot Share This Section Of The Game?”.

If you can’t share the last bits – and I appreciate this is publisher dependent – then what’s the point? Hey, look, I just started the game, watch me play the same bits you’ve all played? No.

All it needs is the ability to label uploaded video with some kind of spoiler flag – although I’d argue that every minute of a game is a potential spoiler, highlighting which bits are truly crucial would prevent those not yet at that point from being spoiled.

It’s not like there’s going to be a constant stream of videos pushed to you, surely the PS4’s UI will be a carefully managed collection of videos from your friends, and if you follow folk that repeatedly post videos of a game’s ending, well, that’s obviously what you’d rather do. So who’s to stop you?

Maybe I’m missing the point. Maybe Yoshida’s words are mis-translated, but to me it shouldn’t be down to a publisher which parts of a game can be shared. Give them an inch, and all that.

Thoughts?

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43 Comments
  1. hol
    Member
    Since: Oct 2009

    Agree there’s no point if publishers can block it, renders the entire effort of putting it there a waste of resources. Plus sharing that bitch of a last level or tricky opponent is just as important as that hole in one or that perfect lap.

    Comment posted on 05/05/2013 at 19:55.
  2. Roynaldo
    Member
    Since: Nov 2008

    Recording gameplay is already a thing that people do. Publishers would do themselves no favours by restricting the purpose of share.

    I think this may have been misconstrued somewhat, maybe he means chopping off certain aspects of the story (cutscenes etc) rather than the bit you are playing.

    Comment posted on 05/05/2013 at 19:59.
    • Paranoimia
      Member
      Since: Aug 2008

      That’s my thinking too. Preventing use of the share button for gameplay would serve no real purpose, as people will still connect to other recording devices just as they currently do.

      Still, just because it *can* be blocked, doesn’t mean it *will* be. Presumably one or two developers have asked for this option for some reason; it doesn’t mean they’ll all make use of it.

      Comment posted on 06/05/2013 at 12:38.
  3. gazzagb
    Master of speling mitakse
    Since: Feb 2009

    I always assumed it would be stuff like cut-scenes that would be censored out of videos, or un-shareable as they are the parts which are most likely to spoil the storyline for other people. I like how with Steam, when you upload a screenshot you can chose to tag it as a ‘spoiler’.
    Parts of the game like when you’re taking on the final boss for example should be shareable, because if you get stuck, it would be a great way to see how someone else tackled them.

    I’m not that interesting in the social media part of the PS4 anyway. I want a PS4 to play amazing games, not have it as a £500 browser for facebook.

    Comment posted on 05/05/2013 at 20:19.
  4. blackredyellow
    Member
    Since: Mar 2009

    It does seem a bit odd. I mean, as you’ve rightly pointed out, people already record and post all manner of gaming business on Youtube.

    Perhaps it’s to prevent users from sharing certain aspects of a game that can be exploited. Glitches etc? And whilst these may not be obvious or apparent to the developers at release, they are often quick to be discovered. Then, via means of a patch, the team can restrict more/different areas? I dunno.

    Of course, there’s always Youtube.

    Comment posted on 05/05/2013 at 20:20.
  5. Loxstokk
    Member
    Since: Aug 2010

    I think you’re over reacting. I’m happy for a games ‘spoilers’ to be locked out of the share function. I personally am not too interested in using the share function, but I wouldn’t want to have all of a stories best bits splashed all over the Internet. Some people aren’t as considerate as you guys in that regard.

    Comment posted on 05/05/2013 at 20:26.
  6. mrfodder
    Member
    Since: Nov 2009

    Other reason, which will be why all music games will turn it off is the ever present issue of rights.

    Comment posted on 05/05/2013 at 20:37.
  7. Kevling
    Member
    Since: Dec 2008

    “It’s directly next to the d-pad and it’s on the way to the touch screen.”

    You mean touch *pad*. Right?

    (Unless Sony are keeping something back for E3…)

    Comment posted on 05/05/2013 at 21:16.
  8. Adam Garrett
    Community Manager
    Since: Feb 2009

    I loved the idea of the share button when it was announced and I still do after this. I dont really want to upload any videos of boss fights or even standard gameplay, anyone playing the game can see that for themselves. What I want to share are the unusual or funny moments you come across in gaming that are either rare or arent supposed to happen, the stuff some of us have been putting in the screenshots thread in the forum is a good example.

    Having people upload videos for walkthrough and helpful purposes is fine and all, but I really don’t see that being the main purpose behind the button, a game capture card would be better suited for those people too. I want to use it to share great gaming moments with friends so that we can look back on it afterwards and laugh at what the hell happened.

    Comment posted on 05/05/2013 at 21:30.
    • teflon
      Community Team
      Since: May 2009

      Exactly this. If I wanted to put together walkthroughs, then I would want to get the footage onto my computer and edit it before posting it online. If there’s a proper walkthrough channel, then they would be adding overlays and intros to the videos too.

      What the Share button gives is the more personal friend-to-friend exchange, and for that the spoiler warnings which Al suggested in the thread make much more sense.

      Comment posted on 06/05/2013 at 01:03.
    • KeRaSh
      Member
      Since: Nov 2009

      The only problem would be if something really funny happened during a blocked section of the game… :(

      Comment posted on 06/05/2013 at 08:20.
      • Adam Garrett
        Community Manager
        Since: Feb 2009

        I think it’s very unlikely, as the parts that will be blocked out are probably the most scripted parts of the game where there’s little reason to upload something anyway. It’s multiplayer and general foolery (like in a sandbox game) that I’ll be using it for.

        Comment posted on 06/05/2013 at 12:19.
      • bunimomike
        Member
        Since: Jul 2009

        That’s what I’m hoping. If it has discretionary use then they’ll probably find a happy balance very early on and then most (if not all) devs will just go with that and take it from there.

        Comment posted on 06/05/2013 at 16:42.
  9. BULLofDOOM
    Member
    Since: Feb 2013

    Me thinks the feature will be more widely used for multiplayer footage / FIFA goals / Lap times and Sandbox collection trophy guides.
    Halo and the fileshare option.
    Uncharted MP and YouTube upload.
    Dirt 3 and YouTube upload. etc etc many have already done it. One button to make it easier and unified will be great. But not for story driven content. I want such a feature disabled during MGS, Uncharted, and other single-player “experiences”. I’ve never once watched anyone defeat a end of level boss via YouTube / tinterweb and I never will.
    Would you wan someone sending you a “shared” PDF of the page they just read from the same book you are reading / intend to read?

    Comment posted on 05/05/2013 at 21:44.
  10. dude90
    Member
    Since: Nov 2009

    I’m more interested on people Game/DLC sharing of downloads, if you can’t afford to pay for it yourself why get it from someone else, no wonder why they dropped activations from 5 to 2 PS3s and 2 for PSP or Vita.

    Comment posted on 05/05/2013 at 22:25.
    • Sad Panda
      Member
      Since: May 2010

      For someone in my position, being able to buy a game and give it to my kid brother, for whom gaming is pretty much the only thing his disability allows him to do. Game sharing was a huge plus. Just a shame it was abused.

      Comment posted on 05/05/2013 at 23:29.
      • dude90
        Member
        Since: Nov 2009

        I do agree with you on the family point, its people who allow access to their accounts to more than one person(such as a friend or a complete stranger).

        Comment posted on 06/05/2013 at 18:20.

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