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PS4 Can Use Phones and Tablets as Controllers

By - Source: Ars Technica | B 14 comments

Wednesday night during Sony's Tokyo Game Show keynote, Sony President and Group CEO Andrew House and Division President Masayasu Ito went on stage to talk about the upcoming PlayStation 4 console. One of the new features revealed during the presentation was an upcoming PlayStation App -- not to be confused with the lackluster PlayStation Mobile -- that can turn an Android/iOS smartphone/tablet into a PlayStation 4 controller.

SCE WorldWide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida actually demonstrated the app on an Xperia Z1 smartphone. He first touched a button to access the latest information on PlayStation Network friends, such as what they're currently playing, games they've purchased, Trophies and so on. Users can even send invitations to multiplayer games, and watch player broadcasts right on the device.

An actual video demonstration is pasted below, but the translator is obviously having issues converting Yoshida's presentation into English, and the app itself is in Japanese. However, he clearly taps on a "Connect to PS4" button that activates the virtual controls on the phone itself. In one example, he demonstrated Remote Play by loading up one of the console's Play Room AR games, allowing him to draw pictures on the phone and "fling" them into the game world.

Yoshida said Sony is trying to address the "casual" gaming market with the PlayStation 4, and that the PlayStation App is part of that strategy. Whether or not the app can actually replace a PlayStation 4 controller is unknown at this point, but console owners will definitely have a "second screen" solution similar to Microsoft's SmartGlass and the Wii U's tablet-like controller. This app will reportedly link to YouTube and social networks so that everyone can see your gaming habits.

Sony also demonstrated Vita TV streaming during the keynote, and announced that a future version of PlayStation Network will allow the use of both PSN IDs and real names. "We decided to introduce real names to encourage light users to join our world," Masayasu said. "Casual users don't mind using anonymous names, but when they get friend requests, will they accept it quickly if it's a weird PSN ID? I don't think so."

The company also confirmed the new camera for the PlayStation 4, reporting that it will feature face- and voice-recognition technology, but will not replace the PlayStation 4 controller. IGN has the full keynote video here; otherwise, the PlayStation App demo can be seen below.

PlayStation App - PS4 Demo

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  • 1 Hide
    sean1357 , September 19, 2013 11:09 AM
    Cool. I can use my iPhone and iPad to play games, but I like controller better.
  • -2 Hide
    legacyBIOS , September 19, 2013 11:23 AM
    So this is something I will never use. I prefer a physical controller thank you.
  • 3 Hide
    Stimpack , September 19, 2013 11:35 AM
    This is more for ease of access, and I don't think it's meant to replace the controller. For when you're wanting to type something in without a keyboard, or you're sitting on the toilet and you really want to sign in for that multiplayer match.
  • -5 Hide
    tbake , September 19, 2013 11:40 AM
    I realize that the translation is shoddy at best, however there is no mention of iOS compatibility.
  • 0 Hide
    ubercake , September 19, 2013 11:50 AM
    This is the first thing I've heard about the PS4 in months.
  • 1 Hide
    compprob237 , September 19, 2013 11:56 AM
    tbake - The end of the first paragraph, as well as the link inside, do state support for the iOS smartphone.

    Article - "that can turn an Android/iOS smartphone/tablet into a PlayStation 4 controller."

    Link - "Sony demos its PlayStation app for Android and iOS at Tokyo Game Show keynote"
  • -1 Hide
    tbake , September 19, 2013 12:02 PM
    I do realize the text says IOS, and also the link, however the video does not. Just a thought.
  • 0 Hide
    compprob237 , September 19, 2013 12:28 PM
    I do realize the text says IOS, and also the link, however the video does not. Just a thought.

    If they decide to alienate the "casual"/"light" crowd they're aiming for then I believe they'd be making a mistake.

    I do not care either way since I have none of these device myself.
  • 0 Hide
    KillYourConsole , September 19, 2013 12:35 PM
    When you have that extra buddy around and no controller for him. No problem, just use a supported phone. It serves a practical use. Good for maybe adjusting a music playlist while someone else is in game and there are not controller's available (could be charging one).

  • -4 Hide
    redeemer , September 19, 2013 1:04 PM
    lol what a useless feature, give us dedicated servers instead
  • 1 Hide
    catfishtx , September 19, 2013 2:14 PM
    I know I am in the minority of users who doesn't like all of the "social" features being touted nowadays, but using your phone or tablet as a remote control to browse Netflix or Hulu Plus seems useful to me. I would never share a game clip but I would use this app.
  • 1 Hide
    ricky_d , September 20, 2013 3:26 AM
    I'm on a crusade against touch as game control! We don't need phones as controllers, we need controllers for the phones! It should be illegal to create action games that don't require a proper controller.
  • 0 Hide
    soo-nah-mee , September 20, 2013 7:26 AM
    I've been using my phone as a remote for my PS3 for along time now. Blueputdroid.
  • 0 Hide
    ubercake , September 22, 2013 7:55 PM
    I've been using my phone as a remote for my PS3 for along time now. Blueputdroid.

    They've had this similar functionality for Xbox 360 for a while as well through the Smart Glass app. This is to continue to the Xbox One. It's not new tech.