PlayStation 4 owners will be able to access their digital game library from any other PS4 and begin playing almost immediately, Sony's R&D senior team leader Neil Brown has told an audience at Develop.
"You can visit your friends house you can log into your account and play any game from your digital library, which is good. But how useful is that if it takes half a day to download the game you want to play?" asked Brown. "With Play As You Download you get much quicker access to at least the first section of the game so you can start playing quicker. So this makes a digital library a practical option in the real world."
Play As You Download should also do away with the horrible disc install times which many PS3 titles suffered from.
"A similar system also works on Blu-ray, chunks are automatically copied to the hard drive in the background," explained Brown. "This means that after the first few minutes your game can rely on having faster read speeds from the hard drive. Which provides a better experience for players, and this is a completely background process for the player. They don't have to wait for anything to install before playing the game. The game will launch as soon as the disk has been put in the drive."
Game sharing has been commonplace on PS3, with users able to log in with their account details on another person's console to gain access to their game library. It's not clear how the PS4 system will be different – besides the ability to play before the full game is downloaded.
Xbox One will also offer similar functionality with its digital games, with users able to access their library on other systems.