PlayStation 4 recently hit retails outlets, and riding shotgun is Sony’s free new PlayStation App (available on Android and iOS). This companion app is actually a replacement for the previous, relatively useless PlayStation app, and it offers a handful of cool features such as messaging, shopping, and second-screen functionality. Sony’s PlayStation App isn’t yet essential to the PlayStation 4 experience, but it does let gamers tap numerous Sony services and keep in touch with their PSN friends when away from the console.
Social and Shopping
PlayStation App’s interface has been redesigned to match the PlayStation 4′s aesthetic. Across the top are icons that notify you when you have new friend requests, game alerts, and more. In fact, PlayStation App has an increased focus on social content. For example, there’s a messaging system that lets you fire off not only text-based messages, but images and audio recordings as well. It’s an effective way to set up Madden NFL 25 sessions with the brahs.
Gamers can use PlayStation App to tap the PlayStation Store for game and movie purchases. In fact, app users can purchase their entertainment on the go and have it pushed to the console—very cool. If you have a credit card tied to your Sony account, it can become very tempting (and easy) to impulse-spend.
Second Screen and Navigation
One of PlayStation App’s more intriguing features, second screen functionality, is pretty much a no-go at the moment. I tested several launch games—Madden NFL 25, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Knack, and Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition. The second-screen feature is designed to bring maps, dialog windows, guides, and extra options to your smartphone. We’ll update this review when we find a game that actually supports second-screen functionality.
You can also use PlayStation App to navigate PlayStation 4, which comes in handy when gaming or simply firing up a Blu-ray flick. Additionally, PlayStation app users can input text into dialog boxes such as username and password areas. Using my phone to input text was far, far more intuitive than hunting and clicking using the PlayStation 4 controller and onscreen keyboard.
Unfortunately, if someone else is manually controlling PlayStation 4, you can boot them off and control the system—and those with a controller can do the same to you. At one point a colleague and I booted each other off the system four consecutive times. PlayStation App may prove a trolling device in the wrong hands; unfortunately, we couldn’t find an option in PlayStation 4 that would prevent a PlayStation App user from taking over.
Play on, PlayStation App
PlayStation App has potential, but, as with most products released in a new console’s launch window, its current state is ho-hum. Developer supports and software updates will no doubt do wonders, and we’ll be sure to revisit this review. For now, however, PlayStation App is a decent, if unspectacular, messaging and navigation tool.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc