Sony’s PlayStation 4 combined with a second screen mobile app looks set to thoroughly trounce the Nintendo Wii U’s unique selling point – fancy second-screen antics.
The PS4 will work with an app that will let players buy games on the move, watch live feeds of multiplayer games and turn their second screens into in-game maps, inventory screens and sat-navs.
The app, the not-so-cryptically-named ‘PlayStation App’, will work on iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets as well as the Sony PS Vita.
While it was a given that the PlayStation 4 would be a more powerful, highly specced beast than the Nintendo console, this app sees the PS Vita doubling as a PS4 controller. This is some serious sand getting kicked into the Wii U GamePad’s face.
The GamePad works well enough, but the touchscreen is lacking in both the resolution and responsiveness departments. The Wii U’s second screen measures 6-inches across and has a resolution of 854×480. The PS Vita’s 5-inch touchscreen is a little smaller but has a much higher res of 960×544. The smaller size means that the PPI (pixels per inch) count is higher, meaning video and games will look much crisper.
We mentioned in our review of the Wii U that most mobile screens these days have better displays than that of the GamePad. So even if you’ve not got a Vita, chances are your phone will provide a better visual second screen experience than the GamePad.
Being able to queue up game downloads for the console from your phone appeals to us. Broadband connections are often faster during the middle of the day as the network is less busy. So with the PlayStation App, you’d be able to remotely action downloads of Killzone: Shadow Fall and the like while you’re at work and the game would be ready to play when you got home. Again, the Wii U GamePad just isn’t as viable as a portable device.
Everyone has their phones about their person pretty much 24/7 and the PS Vita stands on its own as a portable gaming device. You can’t really take your GamePad with you on the train, unless perhaps you’re this guy.
Now all Sony needs to do is work with Netflix on launching an app for the PS Vita in the UK, enable a dual screen mode for the PS4 and watch the colour drain from Nintendo’s face.
We’re not yet sure if the PlayStation App will support a dual screen viewing mode for video on-demand services but we can dream. Given that Sony has revealed much this week without actually showing off the physical console itself, we can expect more PS4-shaped revelations down the way.