Sony's Music Unlimited service will let users play music while gaming

Sony's Music Unlimited service will let users stream music while they play games, according to Sony's director of music services Anu Kirk. Kirk also clarified that the available of the service has nothing to do with the PS4 not supporting CD and MP3 playback.

Speaking to Polygon at a PlayStation 4 event in New York today, Kirk said the service is similar to that of Spotify and Pandora. Users will be able to search for artists, songs and albums, access pre-programmed channels and create their own channels based around particular artists. For the first time, users will also be able to stream their own music while playing a game.

"I can see how people could see it as some kind of diabolical plot, but that's not how we roll..."

To access this feature, users will have to manually go into the game and either turn off the music or adjust the game volume. If users don't do this, the songs from Music Unlimited will play on top of the game's audio. Once Music Unlimited is playing, users simply have to press a button to bring up a control where they can play, pause, adjust the audio or skip forward and backward on a playlist.

"We didn't want to automatically mess with the levels of the sound, so you as the individual have to go into each game and turn the music off or adjust the game volume," Kirk told Polygon. "We wanted the user to have control over how that works."

Kirk added that developers will have the ability to disable the feature, and this will mostly likely be seen in dancing games and rhythm games where the music is a crucial part of the game's design.

Kirk also addressed why the Music Unlimited app doesn't have a visualizer and whether the team played a role in determining that the PS4 would not support MP3 playback. On the former, he said the decision to not have a visualizer came down to resources. "When developing software, you have to make a lot of hard choices," he said. "There are lots of cool things we want to get in there, but even in getting this app together there were a lot of things that were essential that we had to put on the back burner."

On the latter, Kirk explained that the Music Unlimited team did not have a hand in deciding whether or not the PS4 would support CD or MP3 playback. "I can see how people could see it as some kind of diabolical plot, but that's not how we roll," he said. "Our brief here at Music Unlimited was to just make the best music app available for the PS4, and that's the extent of our knowledge of it."

The Music Unlimited app comes pre-installed on the PS4 and subscriptions range from $4.99 to $9.99 depending on the number and type of devices a subscriber owns. The flat monthly fee allows users to listen to as much music as they want.

Brian Crecente contributed to this story.

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