Writing on the PlayStation Blog, Sony's director of product planning and software innovation Scott McCarthy outlined what PlayStation 4 users can expect from the next major system update -- version 1.70, which is coming "soon."
The headline feature for the patch is ShareFactory, a new piece of system software that allows you to edit gameplay clips together, tweak them with themes and transitions (some of which seem to be themed after specific games such as Infamous: Second Son) and record video commentary over the top of them using the PlayStation Eye camera for fancy-pants picture-in-picture effects. You can also add text and stickers to your footage as well as a selection of background music tracks -- and yes, you can import your own music, too. Essentially, Sony is giving PlayStation 4 owners all the tools they need to create everything from Let's Play videos to "best moments" compilations with custom soundtracks.
Here's a brief video showing how it all works:
ShareFactory videos can either be shared directly to Facebook from the software itself, or exported to external USB storage in order to be shared on other sites such as YouTube. It's disappointing that there's no direct YouTube upload functionality in the ShareFactory software itself, but the export function allows for a considerable amount of flexibility in terms of what you do with your video after it's recorded and edited. Depending on the format the software renders the video in, it's likely you'll be able to upload your masterpiece to a variety of sites, or even burn it to a DVD or Blu-Ray if you're a "hard-copy" sort of person. (I'll say now, though, home-made DVDs of your Top Ten Best Infamous: Second Son Moments will probably not make acceptable birthday or Christmas presents, however much effort you put into them.)
The PS4's built-in Share functionality is getting an overhaul, too. With the new update, you'll be able to customize how long you record for and who you share with by default, which should allow you to take a bit more control of what you're recording and, consequently, how much of that precious hard-drive space you're consuming.
Another big improvement is the ability to switch off High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection, better known as HDCP. On both the PlayStation 3 and the vanilla incarnation of the PlayStation 4, this prevented the use of HDMI cables to connect to external devices, whether to record footage or stream online. There were various solutions available, usually involving either plugging the console into an "HDCP stripper" device or using component cables instead of HDMI, but this could result in reduced picture quality or lag. The ability to switch off HDCP will mean that PlayStation 4 owners who do not wish to use the built-in Twitch functionality will instead be able to connect their consoles to their computers via suitable capture hardware and use that to capture or stream footage from their favorite games.
Finally, the 1.70 update adds the ability to "preload" games that you have preordered. Similarly to how Steam handles preorders, the preload system enables your console to download all the data for a game before it's released, then decrypt and unlock the game once the official release date rolls around. This means that you'll be able to play the game the moment it's released rather than having to wait for a chunky download -- and a lot of PS4 games sure are chunky. Just be wary of bandwidth caps if your Internet service provider has them!
McCarthy's post seems to suggest that there are more features coming in the 1.70 update that they're not talking about just yet, too, so we'll have to wait and see what those are. In the meantime, McCarthy notes that a number of improvements in this update were based on user feedback, so if there's things you'd like to see in future incarnations of the PS4 system software, be sure to let Sony know and you might just see them a little way down the road.