Heading into E3, we were were worried that our games and accounts would be tied to a single system making used games a thing of the past. How things have changed in a month! Today at the Develop Conference, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe R&D team lead Neil Brown told attendees that game sharing will be even easier with PlayStation 4. Digital games will be tied to your PSN account, like the current PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. The real game-changer is the fact that all PS4 digital titles will be built around the PlayStation 4's Play As You Download system. With Play As Your Download, the game will download the minimum amount needed to get you into the game as soon as possible, while still downloading the rest of the game in the background.
"You can visit your friends house you can log into your account and play any game from your digital library, which is good," Brown said, according to the Official PlayStation Magazine. "But how useful is that if it takes half a day to download the game you want to play? With Play As You Download you get much quicker access to at least the first section of the game so you can start playing quicker. So this makes a digital library a practical option in the real world."
Blizzard's World of Warcraft has had a similar system since the launch of 2010's Cataclysm expansion. Players can join their game as soon as the core game is downloaded.
"This means that after the first few minutes your game can rely on having faster read speeds from the hard drive," added Brown. "Which provides a better experience for players, and this is a completely background process for the player. They don’t have to wait for anything to install before playing the game. The game will launch as soon as the disk has been put in the drive."
It's not as robust as the system Microsoft was originally proposing with the Xbox One, which would have had disc-based games unlocking digital versions of the same title. That system went away when Microsoft rolled back the always-online DRM it originally outlined. Xbox One fans recently started an online petition to get Microsoft to go back to the proposed option. The petition currently stands at just over 3,600 supporters.