Sony Playlink

So Sony announced Playlink at E3 this year 2017.

It’s a little frustrating. It’s basically HappyFunTimes.

The part that’s frustrating is in that video Shuhei Yoshida is happily playing a Playlink game and yet about a year ago I saw Shuhei Yoshida at a Bitsummit 2016 party and I showed him a video of happyfuntimes. He told me using phones as a controller was a stupid idea. Is objection was that phone controls are too mushy and laggy. He didn’t have the foresight to see that not all games need precise controls to be fun. And yet here he is a year later playing Playlink which is the same thing as happyfuntimes.

In 2014 I also showed Konou Tsutomu happyfuntimes at a party and even suggested a “Playstation Party” channel with games for more than 4 players using the system. My hope was maybe he’d get excited about it and bring it up at Sony but he seemed uninterested.

Some people don’t see the similarity but I’d like to point out that there are

  • There are happyfuntimes games where you draw on the phone
  • There are happyfuntimes games where you use a virtual dpad
  • There are happyfuntimes games where you tilt and orient the phone like a Wiimote
  • There are happyfuntimes games where you set the phone on the table and spin it
  • There are happyfuntimes games where you’re given various menus of choices
  • There are happyfuntimes games that take live video from the phone and display it in the game
  • There are happyfuntimes games that use the phone like Google Cardboard, multiple people looking in shared VR
  • There are happyfuntimes games that play sounds from the phone
  • There are happyfuntimes games with asymmetric controls where
    • One player is the driver (uses phone like Wii MarioKart Wiimote)
    • One player is the navigator (map only on his phone so has to direct driver)
    • Two players are chefs making pizzas, pretending phones are boxes of ingredients

And many others.

And of course there are also games you could not easily play on PS4 like this giant game where players control bunnies or this game using 6 screens.

And to Shuhei’s objection that the controls are not precise enough

You just have to design the right games. Happyfuntimes would not be any good for Street Fighter but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still an infinite variety of games it would be good for.

In any case I’m not upset about it. I doubt that Shuhei had much to do with Playlink directly I doubt Konou even brought it up at Sony. I think the basic idea is actually a pretty obvious idea. Mostly it just reinforces something I already knew. That pitching and negotiation skills are incredibly important. If I had really wanted happyfuntimes to become PS4 Playlink I should have pitched it much harder and more officially than showing it casually at a party to gauge interest. It’s only slightly annoying to have been shot down by the same guy that announced their own version of the same thing. 😜

In any case, if you want to experiment with games that support lots of players happyfuntimes is still a free and open source project available for Unity and/or HTML5/Electron. I’d love to see and play your games!