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Embracing new technology lets PS4 shift strategy over its 10 year life, Sony says

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

The addition of complementary technology for Sony's PlayStation 4 through features like cloud-based game streaming and mobile apps will allow the console to stay in-step with new trends and new technologies, Sony says.

In an interview with Polygon, software product development head at Sony Worldwide Studios America Scott Rohde said those software services will help keep PS4 relevant over its 10 year or more lifespan.

"With the whole ecosystem that PlayStation has in place, using Vita Remote Play for a second screen, and things we haven't done in the past, like launching the iOS and Android app that helps you interface with the machine and Gaikai — the future is very bright with what we're planning to do with cloud gaming — I think we have our bases covered," Rohde said. "Depending on the way the world of technology evolves, we can shift our strategy a little bit to the left or right and be right there in the mix for the next several years."

While Rohde said he couldn't elaborate on plans for Gaikai beyond what Sony had already announced — the service will launch sometime in 2014 and first in the U.S. — the company is "making sure that when we roll this out, it's the best experience possible on day one."

Rohde said the PlayStation team has a massive, rolling list of features that it plans to add to the PS4, a service "that's going to evolve over a long, long period of time." Sony is considering updating anything and everything, including ways for PS4 owners to organize their games as their game libraries grow.

"If you go back and look at the launch OS for any platform, whether it be PS3, Vita or iOS," he said, "these things just always evolve."

Rohde said he sees Remote Play through PS Vita as a factor in PS4's success, which Sony is enabling by making the feature as easy as possible on game developers.

"PSP [Remote Play] was not very developer friendly or consumer friendly, to be frank," he said. "We've taken all that to heart. You've seen some stories that a lot of teams have implemented Remote Play from Vita to PS4 in, like, a day. It's very developer-friendly.

"It's the closest you're going to get in software development to pushing a button and having it automatically happen for you."

Remote Play, he said, will be best experienced in the home and on the same wireless network, but Sony won't restrict out-of-the-house attempts at playing PS4 games on Vita. The quality of that experience will vary as a result of wireless and cellular technology limitations.

But he sees the option to play next-gen console games on a handheld as a compelling feature, especially in households where the TV is shared.

"When you experience it for the first time," he said. "It's a surprisingly great experience when you see how great it looks on your Vita."