While Microsoft (News - Alert) has made much in recent days about its plans to dominate the living room with its Xbox One's ability to offer not only games but also video, the PlayStation 4 won't be conceding the living room without a fight. Indeed, for PlayStation 4—and even PlayStation 3—owners with Dish Network service, there will emerge in the spring of 2014 a new functionality that gives the PlayStation line a lot more force in the battle for the living room: the Virtual Joey.
What the Virtual Joey will do is allow PS4 and PS3 users alike access to the Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR system via the gaming console. This may sound unnecessary to some users—why would anyone want to access the Hopper's contents on a gaming system when users could just access the content from the Hopper itself?--a key point adds some important utility to the idea of the Virtual Joey. Essentially, the PS4 and PS3 would be able to connect to the Hopper wirelessly, meaning that the PS3 or PS4 could be set up in, say, a bedroom or a game room, and then the Hopper could essentially feed signals to these devices in areas where a direct cable connection would be impractical or outright impossible.
It likely won't come as a surprise, but Dish plans to bring demonstrations of the Virtual Joey on PS3 to its booth at the CES (News - Alert) 2014 event in Las Vegas to show off just what this concept both looks like and what it can do. While the full version won't be available until closer to the middle of the year, it's still a noteworthy concept in and of itself.
Yes, some might have thought this was a bit on the redundant side, but it's that wireless connectivity that's going to save this one from utter irrelevance. The distribution of devices in households isn't always universal, particularly in family homes. Sometimes a gaming system isn't always located in the living room—a point that Microsoft doesn't exactly seem eager to note—but in a bedroom or even a designated playroom. Sometimes there's even a game room in the mix, or failing that, a “mancave.” Meanwhile, the Hopper or the like could be located in the living room, or it too could be in the basement, mancave, playroom or bedroom, and getting signals from one to the other isn't always as simple as might be preferred. Something like this, however, would allow for that extra layer of versatility and potential decentralization, and for some users, that would be a development that's greatly preferred.
Of course, it's not likely to be universally preferred—neither is the PlayStation 4, really—but the idea of having an easily-accessible point to view Dish Network content and play games in one place should prove appealing to at least part of the market. This likely isn't a good development for Microsoft, who will now have to contend with one more reason Sony's winning in the field, but it remains to be seen just how far it can go.
Edited by Cassandra Tucker
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