Editorials, Featured, Microsoft, PS4, Sony, Xbox One

Making Sense of no MP3 or DLNA Support on PlayStation 4

by on November 4, 2013 11:30 AM 42

Last week, SCEA took to the PlayStation Blog to publish a rather large and thorough FAQ for the upcoming PlayStation 4. It was a way for the console-maker to get its own facts straight a solid two weeks before launch. The FAQ quickly drew negative attention to itself as it began to look like a long list of things that the hype-beasting PlayStation 4 apparently can’t do. The two biggest standouts being the lack of DLNA functionality and MP3 playback. And then the pitchforks came out.

At this point, I think you can gauge how “well” it went with would-be buyers and core PlayStation fans. Folks weren’t exactly thrilled by the lack of functionality, especially with the console releasing at a time where the tech world is experiencing a renaissance of digital convergence. Even I was thrown off a bit, considering that the PS3 — when it launched seven years ago — touted its DLNA functionality proudly and used it as a means of becoming a tentpole in an end-user’s entertainment center.

Within 48 hours of hearing the news, Microsoft seized the opportunity to make it known that it would not change its current stance on DLNA, MP3, and Audio CD playback (telling Ben Kuchera from Penny Arcade that the functionality would in fact make its way to the Xbox One). Some may feel that it was Microsoft’s way of “getting one up” on Sony, but I don’t think that it’s just that simple. There are two distinct strategies at play here, and it’s much more about the “big picture” for both companies.

Video-Unlimited-PS4

Sony as a company, is in the middle of writing its own comeback story. Since former PlayStation boss Kaz Hirai has taken over as CEO, there’s been a re-focusing of the ingredients that make up Sony’s DNA across the more successful branches of their various businesses. While it isn’t the immediate turnaround that I’m sure shareholders or the Sony faithful are hoping for — with the current initiatives the company has set in place — they are at least  headed in the right direction. They are finally embracing the value of their content and services, especially now; a rarity for what has historically been a company whose primary focus has always been on hardware.

Unlike Microsoft, Sony owns a handful of major film and television studios, and thus have serious clout throughout Hollywood. They used that influence to win the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray format war a half-decade ago, and now they’re going to leverage it into what they can offer prospective PlayStation (and Sony product) buyers. Specifically a service like Music Unlimited, which is being offered in lieu of MP3 playback, CD support, and DLNA. Sony has the confidence to pit this service (and eventually Video Unlimited) against rival services like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Spotify on pretty much every platform with a screen.

Sony is a content creator. They invest billions in that content. When you look at it from a business angle: why would they want to make easy for users to steal… err I mean borrow that content, when they can streamline things to make it easier to sell content to users instead?

Sony-Entertainment-Network-Home

Sony transitioning the PlayStation Network into the Sony Entertainment Network wasn’t without its purpose. The addition of Video Unlimited to the PlayStation 4 wasn’t by accident either. This is part of the new Sony that is making sure it becomes a one-stop-shop for entertainment needs. And while they, “appreciate your feedback and are exploring possibilities ” about including the DLNA functionality on the PlayStation 4 down the road, in my opinion, you are being placated, and nothing more.

Shuhei Yoshida, SCE President of Worldwide Studios has since taken to twitter to re-affirm that the exclusion was not a business decision. Unfortunately, I can’t help but think that this is more of a Sony initiative that’s above the PlayStation brand. In other words, it’s likely not up to him or even system architect Mark Cerny to decide either.

On the other hand you have Microsoft and the Xbox One going the opposite route by sticking to the same approach they had on the Xbox 360 by including DLNA and they have their own reasons as to why.

Unlike Sony, when it comes to content, Microsoft has positioned itself more as a gatekeeper than anything else. Sure, they have Xbox Music and Xbox Movies, but in the end, the content available on either of those platforms isn’t their own. They merely act as a buffer of sorts, charging users a toll to access a library of content.

It’s not that Microsoft doesn’t care about losing a content sale to a savvy end-user; the kind who takes part in certain swashbuckling activities on bittorrent sites (you know who you are). It’s that for Microsoft, it is more about the big picture: the Windows ecosystem. Microsoft wants you to know about all of the “amazing things” you can do when you’re using a Windows PC, a Windows Phone, and of course the Xbox One. “With Windows, you can share all of your things across all of OUR things.”

xbox-one-windows-8

It’s a three screen strategy for them and it needs to remain that way for them to stay competitive not only on the gaming front, but on the personal computing side and on mobile as well. So while their main competition in gaming is primarily Sony, outside of gaming, they’re fighting constant battles on all different fronts against the likes of  Apple, Google and others. Their strategy is to lure users in by placing as many features as they can on the box in hopes of keeping them within the confines of the Windows ecosystem.

It’s never a good feeling to have something taken away once you’ve had it. However, I think it’s safe to assume that the majority of users taking advantage of DLNA on the PS3 and bummed by it’s exclusion on the PS4 this time around weren’t exactly using it for their user generated home movies to begin with.  So in that respect, I can understand — not necessarily agree with — where Sony’s coming from and why they eventually decided against certifying the PlayStation 4 for DLNA.

Like the PS3 helped to propel Sony’s Blu-Ray format to the forefront seven years ago, I think the PS4 will serve as a catalyst for Sony’s content and services to shine as it goes up against Netlix, Amazon, and (in the case of music) even Spotify and Rdio. Unfortunately, DLNA functionality (or the lack thereof) is simply a casualty of the content war.

Join the Discussion

  • Krakn3dfx

    Multiple sources have confirmed DLNA and MP3 support coming a post 1.5FW update, the issue is that neither component made it through cert in time for the launch firmware, chances are good that it will be in the 2nd update for the system, alongside the game suspend feature that also didn’t make it through the 1.5 certification.

    • http://dualshockers.com Joel Taveras

      Where are these sources? PlayStation Blog states otherwise and it’s linked in the article.

      • Krakn3dfx

        http://couchjockeyz.com/mp3-support-dlna-and-more-features-to-follow-on-2nd-ps4-update/

        I’ve also had separate confirmation from a developer working on a game that’s exclusive to the PS4 early next year who contacted Sony and confirmed the issue wasn’t one of omission, but of the features not being certified in time for launch.

        The 1.5FW is already posted on Sony’s site and has been for over a week now, Sony was working to nail down other features like Twitch/Ustream streaming, Facebook video uploads, etc, and the DLNA and MP3 functionality wasn’t seen as a priority.

        There are also at least 2 mods on Neogaf who have also received separate confirmations from other sources to this effect.

        • http://dualshockers.com Joel Taveras

          500 error on that link.

          I <3 when unnamed developers and insiders give out confirmations too.

          And if it's not coming from Cboat (great track record lately), I don't believe it, sorry.

          EDIT: So the link finally worked for me. You mean to tell me that the functionality was *confirmed* and not a single (bigger) gaming (or even tech site) ran with the story.

          Yet they all relayed what Yoshida said on twitter. Confirmation would be a big deal, no? Why didn't any other site report it as confirmed, if true?

          • Krakn3dfx

            I can only tell you what I myself was told and what several people on Gaf who have connections to people in the industry have been told. If there’s a way to contact you directly, I can let you know who I was told by, I was asked to keep quiet on the issue since Sony hasn’t actually come out and said anything official about it.

            You’re right, it is poor communication on their end, but we are talking about Sony here, it took them the better part of 2 decades to realize people outside of Japan actually play video games.

          • http://dualshockers.com Joel Taveras

            That last part made me spit my drink a little. LOL

          • SwappingFrom360toPS4

            ahem… read my comment above? please <3

            and it has been edited so remember to refresh =D

          • http://dualshockers.com Joel Taveras

            I read it. I just find it hard to take unnamed sources into serious consideration as a form of confirmation. I’m sorry, it’s not you… it’s me.

          • SwappingFrom360toPS4

            lol that’s fine, they are rumor’s after all… but these particular people have very good track-records with this kind of stuff, so just know that the support is basically confirmed to be coming, and like i said, we must wait for sony to officially acknowledge it =)

            interesting article though, good work =D

          • Joseph Lan

            “…but we are talking about Sony here, it took them the better part of 2
            decades to realize people outside of Japan actually play video games.”

            Oh please. What does that statement even mean? The PSX and PS2 didn’t provide good gaming experiences to non-Japan gamers?

      • SwappingFrom360toPS4

        MP3 and DLNA support on PS4 is definitely coming. Multiple Inside sources have confirmed this on NeoGAF.

        In regards to the backlash about no mp3 and DLNA support;
        Kagari: Mmm yeah. I wouldn’t worry too much. Some of these overreactions are going to look hilarious in the near future. http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=88089387&postcount=891

        When asked if it was just mp3 support that was being added, or DLNA as well;
        Kagari: For both, actually. I wouldn’t be shocked to see some priorities get shuffled because of this. http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=88183015&postcount=3183

        Further Confirmation;
        Kagari: I had a second confirmation last night so it’ll come. It’s just a shame they got Music Unlimited up first, but the appropriate backlash has at least gotten a couple of responses out of them rather than flat out ignoring it like they used to. http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=88180903&postcount=3170

        In regards to this article: http://couchjockeyz.com/mp3-support-dlna-and-more-features-to-follow-on-2nd-ps4-update/
        bishoptl: I told you this would happen, like, days ago. http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=88250863&postcount=52

        Further Confirmation;
        Krakn3Dfx: I talked to developer working on the PS4 right after hearing about this. He made a few calls and came back to let me know DLNA missed 1.5 FW cert, but was coming http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=88259403&postcount=178

        so basically, the DLNA and mp3 support were always planned for the PS4, but Sony didn’t have enough time to implement them for the PS4′s launch. They’re on a time limit, and have bigger priorities. Some people also seem to forget that the PS3 didn’t launch with DLNA support, but it was added at a later date, so worry not! A future update will add DLNA and mp3 support to the PS4.

        all we are waiting for is an official confirmation from a Sony Executive, once they have finished enjoying all this free advertising, and then they look like the hero-company who listens to their customers =P mission succesful

        • Krakn3dfx

          Yeah, I was super pissed about the fact that it was represented as never coming at the time, I had actually considered holding off on picking up a PS4 seeing that it was going to directly replace the PS3 I have in my main home theater and DLNA is pretty much a requirement IMO. I buy a BD disc, back it up to a NAS, and throw the movie itself in storage, so the sudden inability to stream those would be pretty crappy.

          • GameonAll

            making excuses for the removal of a feature that used to exist it lame. I dont care it is coming in 6 months – it should have been available at launch its not like the concept is new and lots of people rely on these systems to stream data. It seems more like they would rather sell you the rights to use the movies and mp3s you already have all over again. They can color it as an omission all they want, I am not buying it.

            Another thing, after all the hooplah about what the system can do when I get mine on the 15th it can basically only play games and not even play movies until an update – which is strange no? The PS3 at least allowd blueray and dvd playback

          • Krakn3dfx

            I agree, it’s super weird. I would say it was to force the PS4 to go online at least once, but since they offer the firmware as a downloadable that you can run offline from a USB key, probably not.

            Regardless, I can’t disagree with anything you’ve said here, this console launch across the board is super weird with the rumors, delays, etc. I’m still getting my PS4 launch day (and maybe an XB1, haven’t decided, have a Day One Edition sitting on Amazon, we’ll see how I feel in a week or so I guess), but I expect launch weekend to be pretty insane from a stability standpoint. Looking forward to seeing 300k people trying to stream Resogun on Twitch, all at one time.

          • GameonAll

            LOL, man I forgot all about that – how about 300k trying to download resogun all at the same time. I recently picked up a Vita for the remote play and I still see some issues with the online store – its stll slow do download – not nearly as bad as the Nintento eshop but not near as fast as Live.

            I know Sony has put some effort into this space so I am hoping to see some speed boost when the ps4 hits. Also really interested in seeing how Killzone turned out. Love the other ones to this point and this is the showpiece for the system imho.

          • Necro

            No the reason the DVD BluRay player needs a patch to run, is because it needs to locate your region and region set it. The dvd player/bluray isnt region unlocked like games. But it cost them a lot of money and is to complicated to ship with the dvd player already region specific, since the system itself isnt region locked and they dont want to F people who import., So when you launch the system, it then patches accordingly.

          • GameonAll

            Do you recall – was the ps3 region locked? I do not recall this being a launch issue last gen

          • http://dualshockers.com Joel Taveras

            It wasnt region locked for games just for BluRay movie playback. I believe it was Region 1 for US and Japan.

          • harry67

            agree we use it alot

  • islan

    “Specifically a service like Music Unlimited, which is being offered in
    lieu of MP3 playback, CD support, and DLNA. Sony has the confidence to
    pit this service (and eventually Video Unlimited) against rival services
    like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Spotify on pretty much every
    platform with a screen.”

    If they actually had the confidence to “pit this service” against other options, then they would actually ALLOW the other options (speaking specifically of music). You can play non-iTunes music on the iPad, and Apple has a reputation for being one of the most restrictive “walled gardens”. Allowing music but only through their private pay-for service is more than a little insidious.

    What’s next? Can’t play movies unless you bought it through Video Unlimited?

    EDIT: this is specifically in response to the articles’ (and other’s) belief in this being a forcing of Sony services, and if that was actually the case. Personally I believed it was going to come eventually, just wasn’t considered high-priority enough to spend already strained resources on it in time for launch.

    • Zenithracked

      I like this comment. I like it a lot

  • HalfBlackCanadian

    I would have liked to see how the format war would have ended had MS put HD-DVD in every unit and kept the 360 price relatively the same (although the ease of development was the major reason factor early in the life cycle)

  • ruefrak

    I’m going with the idea that they had to prioritize the features on the PS4 since they only have so many resources. Job one is making sure the console functions to play games. That’s core. The OS needs to be ready, the SDK, the drivers, everything game related needs to be done first. Once that’s taken care of, then the other media features can be added in.
    I think this is evident in the news coming out about some of the launch games. They’re performing better on the PS4 because the system is more complete. Sure the Xbox One can play CD’s, but it can’t play Call of Duty at 1080p despite IW putting in a lot of work to try and make it happen.
    It’s not a grand conspiracy to push everyone into Music Unlimited.

    • GameonAll

      Partially good point, sony obviously had their apis optimized earlier for those games and Microsoft was still sorting details which is why both Cod and BF4 are lacking on X1

  • http://www.thepenciler.com ThePenciler

    No thanks, I’ll build an HTPC/Gaming-PC that has access to/can play more than one studio’s movies, music, and games. Console gaming is being strangled to death by greed. Every launch we go through this song and dance, the companies testing us to see what they can get away with, and there’s no reason to think that it won’t happen again.

    • Necro

      No man, they sometimes have to focus resources to more important things. Then patch in everything else in the coming months. THis happens every time. Its sucks, but it will be patched in.

  • FeaturePreacher

    This article leaves out the very important point that the Vita can play mp3′s even while playing a game. If the vita can do it, there’s no reason for the ps4 to not be able to do it. But as others have said, dlna and mp3 playback will be coming with a patch.

  • Synthetic Construct

    So with PS Plus becoming mandatory for most online play on PS4, they think I’m gonna sub for 4.99 – 9.99 monthly (or whatever the cost) for a music service that costs more than a year of PS Plus just to play Justin Bieber or other horrible music I don’t like while playing Uncharted 4 or Battfield: Bad Company 3? Nope…

    And how much will Gaikai cost? If that’s going to be an extra charge, those are 3 paid “services”.

    • theodor70941

      Gaikai is a part of PSN meaning you won’t have to pay for it… geez get some facts before trying to bash on something…

  • GameonAll

    Good luck with this one. the whole point of DLNA inclusion last gen from Microsoft first was to allow Data streaming from pC. Sony followed suit but their addition always seemed tacked on.

    Movie services are great but few can openly match Netflix and Amazon to a lesser extent and most people will continue to use what they know unless the new service is free. The reason I use DLNA is because I’ve built up a huge library of music and movies from CDs and tapes I converted and well DVDs and vhs tapes I converted. Losing access to thes 30k+ assets is a problem and I expect most of my systems in my house to support some level of streaming. In fact devices like Google tv , complimented my 360s and ps3 is the pass generation for my streaming needs.

    That being said there is no way I am going to pay to get access to the 100′s of cds I already own when I have a perfectly good media server that the PS4 should be able to read. The X1 being about to read that data puts it smack dab as the main system in my living room and relegates the PS4 into being a game system only. I think it was a bad decision for them to remove the function as now the X1 just does one more thing that I prefer.

  • Axe99

    This was a poor move by Sony, and has left a bad taste in my mouth. I have many CDs which have music which isn’t on _any_ download service (I’m a fan of many of the local bands around this way), and now there’s no way to listen to them on the PS4, when I’d happily ripped them to the PS3. DLNA is no biggy for me, but I know others who use it heavily, and were planning for the PS4 to replace their PS3 in their living room – and they weren’t necessarily using it for piracy. It’s an odd, anti-choice approach from the platform-holder with the strongest record on choice.

  • VW

    I understand it’s business & Sony invested so much into music unlimited.
    However it comes down to convenience & as many options as possible for the consumers buying or wanting to buy their product.
    As not a deal breaker no MP3 playback is it’s still a small plus for microsoft if the X1 has it.

    And i think it’s stupidity for companies sinking investment dollars into something then forcing consumers to use it by taking away all other options, just as microsoft tried doing by sinking millions into the cloud then trying to force gamers to use it by saying X1 has to be always online.

    There’s a difference between listening to gamers then doing what’s within reason to provide it & dictating what gamers should have.
    And in the case of Sony & microsoft it’s been nothing but dictating how gamers should enjoy the upcoming gen systems.
    80% dictatorship
    20% listening

    I’m a Sony fan since PSOne but the PS4 is disappointing me.
    Gaming has become more corporate & less fun entertainment then ever.

    • VW

      How is it better when it can’t do some things the PS3 can without requiring an update.

      A superior console that’s inferior in convenience.

  • Nicholas Perry

    Doesn’t the XBOne not support MP3s either? Only DLNA and CDs?

    • nomad682

      It can stream MP3s through a supported device such as a Windows 7, 8, 8.1 enabled PC and Windows Phone as well as through the Xbox Music Pass Subscription. The Xbox One is a Play To receiver through those devices.

    • GameonAll

      FACTS:

      DLNA certified devices can: find and play movies; send, display and/or upload photos, find, send, play and/or download music; and send and print photos.

      Its a basic standard.

      The X1 cannot rip mP3 which is a function the original Xbox and Xbox 360 had, but if its on your network then you can still play it.

  • RealityCheck2013

    Most of my MP3′s won’t be on Music Unlimited i bet :( That is why i really want MP3 playback on the PS4 & i can play any track in the background while i play any game if i want. I don’t get why SONY left out MP3 playback(& DLNA & even CD playback) Because they are BASIC features on every tech stuff nowadays. Oh well. Hopefully it can be patched in ASAP ;)

  • DaTruth521

    I already buy my music from iTunes and I share it to my ps3 by making my phone into a media server I shouldn’t have to buy the same song twice or pay for a streaming service when u already own different forms of that media. I definitely won’t buy a digital copy of a movie I already own on blu Ray so I shouldn’t have to pay for a service I can’t use all the time

  • B_Boss

    “And while they, “appreciate your feedback and are exploring possibilities ”
    about including the DLNA functionality on the PlayStation 4 down the
    road, in my opinion, you are being placated, and nothing more.”

    You’re quite confident in your assertion and I find it interesting considering that no matter what Sony’s plans are, ultimately it is to make more capital. They need consumers for that. if they piss us off with what they’re trying to shove down our throats, we will not give in to them nor buy their product (just ask Micrsoft about May~July 2013).

    You also fail to mention that not even days went by where Sony quickly changed its tone in terms of the stability of their stance concerning DLNA & MP3 (I will give you credit for the Yoshida tweet but this expands on that). If you notice on the FAQ now there remains an asterisk in the 2 sections that asks:

    “Will I be able to play MP3s on PS4?

    No*.

    *We appreciate your feedback and are exploring possibilities

    Will PS4 support media servers or DLNA support in order to stream videos or movies from a home PC?

    The PS4 system does not support client functionality* for media servers.

    *We appreciate your feedback and are exploring possibilities.”

    They can try to ‘bamboozle’ us if they want to…..it won’t be pretty at all. In any event there have been a couple of sources that have stated that the firmware is in place to include DLNA & MP3 playback (while in-game as well.) so the consumer being placated?……well, we’ll see but I highly doubt that. They would be damned foolish to try that…

  • LordCancer Kain

    i didn’t know i was stealing my music from amazon and emusic and if you want to trust sony as a music platform how many times have they canned there service? what is it called when sony abandoned sonicstage, atrac format when they closed there store? business as usual? and now its stealing when you listen to music you already payed for… okaaay.

  • videoosso

    Most modern day tv sets – including Sony’s – support DLNA, so while it sucks – it’s not that big a deal really.

  • Piero

    Wow this article is offensive in that you’re calling everyone thieves. I buy music from eMusic.com and have ripped every CD I own to my DLNA server. All of my home videos, smartphone video and photos are also loaded to my DLNA server. I use DLNA stream daily and heavily. Every smartphone and TV now has DLNA built in. I have little appetite for a music or video service that does not work across devices and platforms.

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