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A Small Detail About The PlayStation 4 Could Have Big Implications


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Initial post: Feb 28, 2013 6:33:43 PM PST
got mayo?™ says:
Who's ready to get social? I KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

http://kotaku.com/5987406/a-small-detail-about-the-playstation-4-could-have-big-implications

A Small Detail About The PlayStation 4 Could Have Big Implications
Kirk Hamilton

Among the bits of information dropped during last week's PlayStation 4 announcement was this from PS4 lead architect Mark Cerny, as he discussed the system's enhanced social features:

"[With the] PlayStation 4 we are transitioning to a friends network based on real world friends. We'll keep around the alias and icon used in today's multiplayer matches. These are great to have when anonymity is important. But most of the new social dimension to PS4 will be interacting with friends using real names and profile pictures most likely seeded from your existing social network."

Some crucial-sounding words in there: "Alias." "Real names." "Profile pictures." "Anonymity." But what exactly does all that mean? Like so many other things introduced at the PS4 event, it's not entirely clear.

Since its inception, the PlayStation Network has for the most part been a gateway to buying content and a loose way to connect with your friends to play games. But Sony appears set to turn their service into much more of a "proper" social network. And parts of that social network are going to involve your real name.

Let's scrounge for crumbs of information and see if we can't get a sense of what Cerny is saying, as well as what he's purposefully leaving unsaid.

1. "We are transitioning to a friends network based on real world friends."

Vague language, but he's really just talking about emulating Facebook. When Sony launched PSN, Facebook wasn't nearly the juggernaut it is today, and it stands to reason that Sony (and likely Microsoft) will be taking cues from Facebook when designing their consoles' new social environments. From the look we got at the PSN's new social profile page, it appears as though your friends list will made up of "real" people, by which Cerny just means that you'll actually see the name behind the alias.

I actually like that, as a broad idea-I've found that on both PSN and Xbox Live, I've lost track of who a lot of my "friends" are. Often on my Xbox, I'll see pop-up notifications that "Player X has come online," but it'll feel like I've never even seen that gamertag before. Have I simply forgotten? Or did the person change their tag? It's difficult to tell who they are. It'd be nice to simply see peoples' names.
I've found that on both PSN and Xbox Live, I've lost track of who a lot of my "friends" are.

2. "We'll keep around the alias and icon used in today's multiplayer matches. These are great to have when anonymity is important."

This bit is the escape hatch Sony has left, should the whole real names idea fall flat. An assurance that feels designed, more or less, to circumvent the sort of user-outrage that rained down on World of Warcraft- and StarCraft-makers Blizzard when they announced their Real ID program back in 2010. Blizzard's thinking was that by forcing users to post in the Blizzard forums under their real names, it would cut down on jerks and trolls. But the community quickly pointed out a lot of unforeseen downsides that Real ID would have, in particular that it would make women much more visible than they had been and therefore even easier targets for creeping and forum stalking.

Following an overwhelmingly negative reaction from almost every corner of their fanbase, Blizzard scrapped the Real ID system. Surely Sony was paying attention to that debacle, and will offer some sort of alias-based, anonymous online existence for those who want it. The question that remains is: How will that work, and will there be aspects of the PS4 that can only be used under your real name?

This image from the PS4 conference gives a sense of what a player's profile page will look like:

A Small Detail About The PlayStation 4 Could Have Big Implications

It goes along with the final part of what Cerny had to say:

3. "Most of the new social dimension to PS4 will be interacting with friends using real names and profile pictures most likely seeded from your existing social network."

When Cerny says, "Your existing social network," he probably means "Facebook." That dovetails with later remarks from Gaikai president David Perry, who said outright that the new PSN will be integrated with social networks, including Facebook and Ustream.

And, like Facebook, it sounds like they're going to connect all of that to your real name and profile picture. Maybe you'll also be able to import your Facebook friends list into your PS4, or go through some PSN app to invite your friends to play with you via Facebook. Or other such cross-platform stuff.
When he plays Call of Duty multiplayer, it's likely that Henry can set things so that his foes only see DayZ100 headshotting them.

The image of Henry Bayle's profile page lines up with that. Note how this (handsome!) Bayle chap has got an icon and an alias underneath his real name. When he plays Call of Duty multiplayer, it's likely that Henry can set things so that his foes only see DayZ100 headshotting them. (Also: Nice DayZ reference, Sony. Very "now.") It seems probable that he will be able to set his profile so that no one can see his real name unless he wants them to, so even if someone wanted to track him down after a match, they couldn't.

But beneath that, note that it says "Henry Bayle shared a video from KNACK." It does not say "DayZ100 shared a video from KNACK." That makes me think that the extra-game social functions of the new PSN will require you to do things under your actual name, and not under a pseudonym. All of the slick video sharing, streaming, spectating and game-visiting that Perry described will likely be tied to that social network, and therefore users' actual names.

Stepping back and just looking at the whole page, I'm struck by how much closer it is to a Facebook page than a current PSN ID page. In fact, there kind of... isn't even a PSN "home" or "profile" page at the moment-it's just a list of my friends, with the option to send them messages or compare trophies. Like I mentioned earlier, scrolling through my friends' PSN IDs is disorienting-I have no idea who half of them are, even though they're likely people I know and added at some point. (It doesn't help that I do almost all of my multiplayer gaming on PC and 360, so my PSN list is sorely underused.)

It's worth noting that any of this stuff could change between now and the system's fall launch. Looking over what we saw at the PS4 conference, several big questions remain:

What exactly will the PS4's privacy settings entail? Which actions will be tied to your real name, and which will be anonymous? Will it be possible to set up a PSN account under a made-up name with a fake profile, and continue to operate in complete anonymity? Those questions all remain unanswered, and will likely be shrouded for a good while longer.

I'm curious to know what you think. So I made a poll

Posted on Feb 28, 2013 6:35:37 PM PST
I.Flores says:
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Posted on Feb 28, 2013 6:37:18 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 28, 2013 6:47:06 PM PST
DVvM says:
I will not make a PSN account if it requires me to use my real name and photograph (and I can't just lie) to use PSN on the PS4.

If the PS4 is usable without PSN, I would still consider getting one. But ideally I'd want to be able to buy DLC, digital games without making a real name account.

Anonymity is important to me. Internet people are scary and I'm shy.

Posted on Feb 28, 2013 6:39:10 PM PST
Gameresq says:
I play games with my real-life friends on the couch. I do not even have a Facebook account.

Posted on Feb 28, 2013 6:45:43 PM PST
I don't want all of this social network crap. Hell, I keep my real world friends and family on my main PSN account and internet weirdos on another.

Posted on Feb 28, 2013 6:50:13 PM PST
Benpachi says:
This is just stupid. If I have to use a photo, I will have no choice but to use a closeup of my nvts.

Posted on Feb 28, 2013 7:01:43 PM PST
saskamazon says:
yeah, I noticed the real name thing in the chat too ... wasn't too thrilled. I certainly don't wish to use my real name on it ... I have a FB acct. that I haven't logged into in 3 yrs. & the profile picture is my dog ... my real life friends would know my name anyway, & having it a part of my PSN profile, is not something I'm comfortable with - nor do I want pictures of me for my gaming console .... I want more info & to have control of that ... of course PSN has my real name already for the acct. sounds intrusive to me ... & I don't have many real life friends who are gamers, & when they do, they come to my house & we co-op from here - so they don't need that info for PSN ...

Posted on Feb 28, 2013 7:04:17 PM PST
I personally don't see what the big deal is. I think I act the same the same way on the internet as I do in real life so I don't have anything to hide. I have friends from here on my Facebook page which is the same page that my family is on. I have met a few people here even in real life and it was amazing. Anonymity causes more issues on the internet than it solves issue so I don't see less of it as a bad thing.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2013 7:08:46 PM PST
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Posted on Feb 28, 2013 7:09:27 PM PST
saskamazon says:
I also act the same way in real life, however, I don't want unknown individuals being able to track me down to my home ... not everyone is upstanding & sane ... on here, we have the opportunity to come to assess folks over time & decide if we feel they are trustworthy, via PSN on line gaming, I don't have the same ability to form an opinion, as we are all just thrown into say an All Stars battle - I don't want those people having my real name ...

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2013 7:21:18 PM PST
got mayo?™ says:
Agreed.

Posted on Feb 28, 2013 7:22:37 PM PST
It looks like the PS4 will be the console of choice for creepers/stalkers/pedos.

Posted on Feb 28, 2013 7:26:39 PM PST
I don't think this change will allow people to stalk you any more than it normally would unless you accept someone onto your PSN friends list. The article states that people will only be able to see your current information while playing online and only your friends will be able to see anything more than that.

Posted on Feb 28, 2013 7:30:09 PM PST
A. taylor says:
The emphasis on the social stuff is not a selling point to me at all. They are making a big deal about the record feature but I can't see myself ever using it. I just want it to play games really well.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2013 7:32:51 PM PST
DVvM says:
I don't have a PS3 since there are very few PS3 games that I want to play that I cannot play on devices I already own. I'm not paying $300+ to play Disgaea 4 and Valkyria Chronicles. I want to play those two games, but $300+ is too much to pay for any two games.

I have no particular loyalty to any gaming company that would affect my decision of what console to buy next gen.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2013 7:34:06 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 28, 2013 7:36:29 PM PST
got mayo?™ says:
The record and share feature is something that developers or members of the gaming press could certainly use. But the avg user doesn't need that thing a button slip away.

I'm surprised they did not place the button in a more obscure location, like the top or bottom ridges of the controller...or better yet , behind a menu. The front and forward design choice for something so trivial and unimportant is a real head scratcher.

Posted on Feb 28, 2013 7:36:19 PM PST
John McClane says:
This sounds worse than chatroulette.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2013 7:40:45 PM PST
I.Flores says:
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Posted on Feb 28, 2013 7:42:08 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 28, 2013 7:47:38 PM PST
got mayo?™ says:
This reminds me when Sonymites made a big stink about the downloadable Facebook and Twitter apps on XBL.

"Last thing i want is someone knowing what i'm doing on my spare time', 'social is for attention getters with no lives', 'why do i want my real life friends, co-workers, business associates knowing how much time i spend playing vidayagamez?'...

PS4 is now being completely engineered around it. That's some tasty crow.

I can see Flores at his Bingo games whipping out his new phone..."Hey fellas, i'm Facebooking now"<wink wink>

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2013 7:43:57 PM PST
Yeah, actually it does.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2013 7:56:02 PM PST
How is the PS4 being engineered around it? The PS4 is providing a much easier option to share things such as videos to the online gaming community which is rather large. It's not saying that it's a requirement at all. Now money and time doesn't have to be wasted on recording videos through things such as video capture devices.

I'm not sure how much I will use these new features but I guarantee I will try it out to see how I like it. If someone else doesn't like it then they don't have to use it.

Posted on Feb 28, 2013 7:57:39 PM PST
saskamazon says:
none of the people on my PSN friends list are people I know in real life - most are folks from this forum, & sometimes - LBP mp games or Mod Nation racing ... so I know even less about them ... so yeah, I don't want my friends list having more access than it currently does ... from a PSN blog post some user got angry & in one day sent me like 40 emails via PSN - I found it alarming & immediately blocked him, but I am more comfortable with things as they currently are ... I also allow my son to use the console, & I wouldn't want for him to befriend an online person & bang they have my real name etc ....

Posted on Feb 28, 2013 8:43:37 PM PST
M. says:
Facebookstation 4 confirmed.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2013 9:08:27 PM PST
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Posted on Feb 28, 2013 9:46:17 PM PST
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Discussion in:  Video Games forum
Participants:  47
Total posts:  178
Initial post:  Feb 28, 2013
Latest post:  Aug 23, 2013

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