Sony Access Library Anywhere

Digital games are great. They’re available instantly at launch, they download conveniently, and they’re often a lot cheaper than their physical counterparts. Up until now, there have only been two real downsides: sharing and mobility. A trip to a friend’s apartment generally meant sacrificing the depth of your game library, as there wasn’t an easy way to transfer content between devices. That’s about to change.

Disc-based games have always fit pretty snugly into purses and backpacks, but their digital counterparts? Not so much. Sony, the tech giant responsible for the hotly anticipated Playstation 4, has some great news. In the future, gamers will be able to access their entire digital game library from any PS4 console.

Neil Brown, a senior engineer from Sony’s research and development arm, spoke confidently of the new system at today’s Develop conference:

“You can visit your friend’s house, you can log into your account and play any game from your digital library.”

Even better, you won’t need to wait for an entire game to download before you can start playing it. According to Brown, users can begin playing “at least the first section of the game” while the rest of the title downloads in the background. The device will continue to work on installation as you play, meaning that “after the first few minutes, your game can rely on having faster read speeds from the hard drive.”

It’s still unclear whether or not this functionality will be implemented for registered disc-based titles, but it’s likely that Sony will keep this utility limited to purchases from the PSN store.

Industry zealots may remember that Microsoft had previously been toying with a similar concept for their upcoming console, the Xbox One. Unfortunately, the company cut this functionality when they infamously reverted back to a DRM-free, Interent-optional service model.

“This makes a digital library a practical option in the real world.”

William Herbert

Boston-based writer, artist, designer, critic, loser & storyteller. Focused on the intersection of games, culture, narrative, and art. KillerStrokes on XBL, Steam, PSN. @Wherbit on Twitter.