Sony just announced sales of seven million PlayStation 4 consoles and promised more details on its upcoming software update would follow soon, now here they are. We still don't have an exact timetable for when firmware 1.70 will arrive (update: According to PlayStation Europe's Twitter and this video from Japan, it's April 30th), but now we know more about its new "SHAREfactory" video editor and that game pre-loading is in the update. Many people are familiar with pre-loading via Steam and other PC services, which allows gamers to download pre-ordered games ahead of their release, then simply unlock the digital copy on the day it's "released." All it takes is enabling the PS4's "auto download" feature, and you're done, no more waiting while overloaded servers choke on release day.
The other big addition is SHAREfactory, a rich video editor app that will let gamers spice up their game recordings (which are getting a resolution bump to 720p) with filters and effects, music and picture-in-picture feeds from the PlayStation Camera. The music element is particularly interesting because it mentions both provided tracks and the ability to import your own original songs, even though the PS4 can't play MP3s right now. If that's a surprise addition to the list later, we won't argue. One other tweak is letting users decide which friends they will share a clip or screenshot with from the Share menu itself, instead of having to go back into settings first. Additionally, a Japanese press release indicates the update will bring Remote Play to Sony's Vita TV mini-console and the ability to archive those HD Ustream / Twitch broadcasts online.
While the Xbox One's Upload Studio shares some of the same features, Sony is going a step further by letting users post SHAREfactory videos directly to Facebook, or move them directly to an external USB storage device to upload them elsewhere (YouTube). We called out the PS4's lack of a video editor when we compared the two system's services and apps, and while we'll have to wait for some hands-on time to be sure, that gap may be closed. Of course, if you prefer DIY capture and editing, FW 1.70's HDCP-off that will allow video capture of games over HDMI will be the big addition, but this makes it easier for anyone to try it. Now, if only we knew when we will get to see the new update (and, hopefully, successive ones to fill in missing features like MP3, Blu-ray 3D, DLNA).
Update: Sony just tweeted that FW 1.70 will arrive on April 30th in Europe.
Heads-up: PS4 firmware update 1.70, inc. SHAREfactory and HDCP Off, goes live on 30th April. More soon!