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PS4 to use Gaikai for instant demos, Ustream multicasting, social gameplay

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

David Perry, CEO and founder of Gaikai, took the stage at today's PlayStation 4 announcement to reveal new details on the next generation of Sony's PlayStation Network and Gaikai's integration into the service.

Perry said the PS4's version of the PlayStation Network will be the "fastest gaming network in the world."

Sony will use Gaikai's streaming technology to offer instant demoes through the PlayStation Store, Perry said. With Gaikai in the PlayStation Store, you'll be able to try anything instantly, Perry explained. "Simply press the X button to hop in and start playing the game," Perry said. "With Gaikai, you'll be able to instantly experience anything you want."

Using a Share button on the PlayStation 4, players will be able to share their gameplay experiences through networks like Facebook and Ustream.

"By combining the PS4, the PlayStation Network, and these social platforms, our goal is to become the social platform for gaming."

Perry touched on real-time streaming of PS4 games, "allowing your friends to look over your shoulder virtually while playing."

Perry even promised that players will be able to ask a friend over the internet to take over their game, should they find themselves in a rough spot in a game. Perry teased a "director" mode for games, letting other players interact with your game by dropping you health, maps and other items over the internet.

Sony acquired Gaikai for $380 million in 2012. In July, Sony Computer Entertainment president Andrew House said the addition of Gaikai technology would "deliver a world-class cloud-streaming service" with a "broad array of content ranging from immersive core games with rich graphics to casual content anytime, anywhere on a variety of internet-connected devices."

Update: Shuhei Yoshida, president of Worldwide Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment, tells Polygon that Sony is "highly recommending" that PS4 games support streaming play through Gaikai as players download titles, but that the feature isn't a requirement.

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