Sony’s PlayStation 4 pushes the technology envelope on many fronts, so it’s not surprising to see PS4 pre-loading added to its list of innovations.
PS4 pre-loading will start with pre-orders of Bungie’s Destiny, the co-op shooter so highly touted last year at E3. Activision will undoubtedly show more of the game at E3 in a couple of weeks, while Sony will likely tell a bit more of the larger PS4 pre-loading story.
How PS4 pre-loading works sounds simple enough. It starts when you pre-order any PS4 game, with the game title tagged to your unique PSN ID. When the time is right, and at some point before the game’s release, the necessary files will download directly onto the PlayStation 4 hard drive.
At that point, the PS4 pre-loading is complete. Done. The game’s pre-loaded. Although that’s kind of anticlimactic, things get interesting from that point on.
Once midnight strikes on the game’s release date, the pre-loaded game will become playable. No more waiting in line for a midnight launch, no more braving the elements. Just sit on your sofa, wait for the first moments of the launch date, and the already-downloaded game will magically unlock. At that point, you’ll be able to play the game as normal.
Some PS4 pre-loading details are still unannounced. For instance, will PS4 pre-loading only be an option if PS4 owners buy games directly through the PlayStation Store? Will retailers like GameStop, Walmart and Target start asking for your PSN ID to associate it with your order in their system, thus enabling you to download the game in advance? Will Amazon.com do the same?
If that sort of advanced tracking comes together, PS4 pre-loading will be a much more complex affair than it sounds. However, it would be complex on the back-end rather than be an impediment to PS4 owners, which is always a good thing. We’ll learn more at E3 for sure, or maybe this NeoGAF thread will be updated with more info. In the meantime, it sounds as though PS4 pre-loading will be available for all pre-ordered games after Destiny this September, so those surprise holiday presents may be less of a surprise if they show up in the PS4′s interface somewhere as “on the way.”
What do you think about the whole thing? Is PS4 pre-loading going to be a useful tool, or will you feel “trapped” if Sony requires you to pre-order games from the PlayStation Store? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.