One of the major portions of Sony's PlayStation 4 unveiling that happened on February 20th, 2013 was the implications of the DualShock 4's brand new "SHARE" button. Sharing, after all, is one of today's connected buzzwords.
We share pictures of the food we eat, videos of our lazy cats and status updates concerning the crappy music we're listening to. We share everything, so why not share the stuff we play?
What is the Share button?
On an extremely basic level, the Share button will be the one-touch feature that connects your friends (and the internet at-large) to the games you are playing. Players will be able to press the share button and spread screenshots, gameplay videos and other moments with their upcoming PlayStation Network friends.
Will it actually work?
Unfortunately, we live in a post-launch patch culture. Why crunch features into existence before a game or console launches when we can just push an update out to users weeks, months or years after we bring our goods to market?
This concept of selling gaming stuff half-baked happens abundantly in today's market. Heck, one could probably argue that the potential of patching has made game makers a little less diligent than they used to be.
If I were writing this article ten years ago, I wouldn't even be considering the possibility that a console manufacturer would be advertising features for their hardware that might not even make it to the device at launch. Yet, here I am, conjecturing that the Share button might not be a legitimate thing for the first months that the PlayStation 4 is on the market.
Why? Sony showed off other exciting PlayStation 4 features that we already know won't be available for launch. Gaikai making classic PlayStation family games available through streaming? That won't be a launch feature.
Look at the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. Nintendo used to be a company that wouldn't even dare launch a piece of hardware that wasn't ready. They shipped the Wii U and 3DS without stuff like Nintendo TVii, Netflix and Internet browsers.
When it's ready, though…
Sony could potentially be bringing one of the most beneficial features in this medium's history to the community of gaming.
The whole notion that anything and everything you're doing in games can be enjoyed by anyone the world over is massive. With PC gaming, users can already stream in-game action over free web services. But, building that capability into a device and making it a single button press away?
Anyone who owns a PlayStation 4 will stand as a pillar of the gaming community. Anyone. That opens the doors for a lot of terrible gameplay footage, but it also dramatically increases the scale of the family of gamers.