PlayStation 4 countdown begins, details emerge

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More tidbits are emerging from the aftermath of Sony's Tokyo Game Show, including some details on PlayStation 4 functions and on Xbox game upgrades, as well as hints about streaming capabilities to come.

PlayStation 4 details

I mentioned earlier that there would be iOS and Android companion apps for the PlayStation 4. I didn't mention when these apps would arrive. We're now being told they'll be out in November. I'm guessing not at launch, or Sony would've said they'd be available at launch.

Some time ago, word started making the rounds that you wouldn't be able to record gameplay (on an external device) from the PlayStation 4 due to high-bandwidth digital content protection (HDCP). This report probably originated from the fact that on the PS3 you can't record gameplay via HDMI, but the PS3 has alternate outputs. The PS4 only has an HDMI port.

In any event, though it seems to have initially been lost in translation (literally), Sony debunked this report during its press conference, and Polygon later followed up to confirm. You will be able to record gameplay via the HDMI port on the PS4. Of course you'll also have access to sharing from the device itself via the dedicated Share button. (In case you're wondering, Microsoft confirmed early on that you'll be able to record games via the HDMI port on the Xbox One.)

Xbox game upgrade policy

Over on the Microsoft side of things, select retailers are offering an Xbox 360 to Xbox One upgrade path for some high profile game launches. Buy the Xbox 360 disk, play it, then later exchange it and $10 for an Xbox One disk. Sony came to this party late but eventually announced they'd have a similar program. Now we have some details.

First it only applies to four titles: Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Watch_Dogs, and Battlefield 4, and the upgrade cost will be $9.99. In all cases you'll get the PS4 version digitally.

If you buy the PS3 version on disk, you'll get a code to purchase the digital PS4 version for $10, and you'll have to hold on to the PS3 disk in order to "unlock" the PS4 version. If you buy the PS3 version digitally, then the digital PS4 version will automatically be flagged with a $10 price on your PSN account. More details can be found on the Playstation blog.

PlayStation 3 streams . . . where?

Last for today, Sony reaffirmed the fact that PS3 game streaming (via Gaikai) will be coming to North America in 2014. You'll be able to stream select PS3 games to your PS4, as well as your PlayStation Vita and Vita TV. Now isn't it interesting that Sony mentions streaming to the Vita TV in North America in 2014 when it has not announced plans to offer the Vita TV in North America. Was that a slip? A hint? An honest mistake? Who knows.

What we still don't know is how streaming is going to work in terms of cost. My suspicion is that we'll have to re-purchase these titles, and/or get them as a bundled feature with the PlayStation Plus service. However it's possible that (on the PS4 at least) you'd be able to use a PS3 disk to "unlock" a streaming version of a game in much the same way as you'll do to prove you own the PS3 version in the upgrade program we just talked about. That may be wishful thinking on my part, though.

And now I think we're caught up on PlayStation news, at least for now. We've only got about eight weeks until launch of the PS4 here in North America. I'm just getting more and more excited!

This story, "PlayStation 4 countdown begins, details emerge" was originally published by ITworld.

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