Live from PlayStation Review

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App Title: Live From PlayStation
App Type: PlayStation Vita
File Size: 9 MB
NA Availability: Digital Download
EU Availability: Currently Unavailable
PSTV Support: Yes

Since streaming has gotten so popular with services like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube, the gaming community has evolved into its own form of that service.  This evolution started as “Let’s Play” videos on YouTube.  These are videos of someone recording and narrating as they play through a game.  Lots of people enjoy these videos for various reasons.  Maybe you don’t have the console a game is on, or just enjoy the comedy of a certain YouTube user.

This evolution continued in the form of streaming services, like Twitch and Ustream.  These services allow users to connect directly with their following and have Live Feeds from their computers to showcase them playing the game as they go.  Lots and lots of people watch live streams on Twitch, especially when they find a Twitch user they love to follow.  Even some of the Vita Community uses Twitch to showcase games to their fans.

For a long time, PS Vita users were wanting some way to access sites like Twitch from their PS Vita systems.  Sony did hear all of those requests and brought out part of its “Live from PlayStation” services to not only the Vita, but also the PlayStation TV and the Mobile App.  Having released not long after the launch of the PlayStation TV, here is our official review of the PS Vita app, Live from PlayStation!

Functionality

Live from PlayStation isn’t an incredibly well-known term in today’s world.  One quick Google Search will likely leave you confused, only turning up little mentions of this application in the Mobile app as well as this app.  A simple description for what this app does is by simply calling it a Streaming app.  That’s a very vague term, but that’s its main function.  You use this app to watch gaming streams from Twitch as well as Ustream.

Once you boot up the app and connect to the PlayStation Network, it loads a list of different streams you can watch.  These load and can be watched in a very YouTube-like manner.  You can sort them by type or even by web site.  If you only want to view Twitch streams, you can filter it, or you can type in specific search material if you’re looking for a specific stream.

The thing about the streams is that they are streams from PlayStation devices, hence the “Live from PlayStation” title.  As you cycle through each stream, you will see game icons by each one.  So, as you look through, you may see streams for Destiny, Grand Theft Auto V, Madden NFL 15, or even The Last of Us Remastered.  The biggest thing here is that you’re looking at PS4 gameplay.  On the other side, Ustream generally has streams of people showing themselves doing things in real life, like painting or just chatting and talking, as if you were watching a Video Blog.

The biggest thing about this is for big Twitch or Ustream users.  You are able to log into your account while in the app as well as cycling through comments on the streams and videos you look at, offering more in-depth interaction than simply watching and nothing else.

Interface

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When you boot up the app, the interface is very user-friendly and should be pretty easy for Vita users to get accustomed to.  In the middle of the screen is the list of streams to watch, and there are buttons on the top, side, and bottom-right corner of the screen for interaction.  The bottom-right corner has a button to access your Settings, such as logging into your Twitch and Ustream accounts, and the other buttons are more for accessing and filtering your content.

On the left hand side, there is a hidden menu you can toggle to come into view.  This allows you to choose your main course of action, as far as what you want to look at.  This menu is divided into five sections: Search, Live, Interactive, Twitch, and Ustream.  Search lets you search for anything you want, and the others filter the content to only show that type of streaming, like only videos from Twitch or only videos that are streaming live that very moment.

The buttons on the top of the screen are for filtering the order the videos are shown in as well as refreshing the list to have the most up-to-date videos.  The filtering can be done by the Number of Spectators, Date it began, or the Number of Comments on that stream.

These menus can be navigated in two ways.  You can use the directional buttons / Left Analog Stick as well as the X and Circle buttons to navigate these.  You can also tap Triangle to go straight to the Settings menu.  You can also navigate them by means of the touch screen, though the PlayStation TV does not have this feature added to the app, since it’s a console and doesn’t have a built-in touch screen.

Performance

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Performance is where every App Review gets interesting.  Some apps have great content on them, but handle very poorly.  Netflix and Hulu are examples of that, with lots of glitches and lag filling them up.  Thankfully, the Live from PlayStation App is void of these shortcomings.

The first thing to note about the performance of the app is that all of its load times are pretty short.  We never had to wait more than 5 seconds for loading anything, be it a stream or filtering a search.  Everything loaded nice and quick for us, and also did so in a very smooth transition.

To go along with the transitions, everything runs well through and through.  All of the controls and buttons work really well, especially for a PS Vita app.  Everything responds lightning-fast and doesn’t show any sort of lag at all.  I was very impressed at how well the app runs, especially compared to other apps like it that do not run nearly as well.

The only complaint to be had is the quality of the videos that are being played.  When you play a stream and move it into full-screen view, there is a lot of low quality video being shown to you.  Imagine you record a video and then compress it into a less-than-HD format and that’s what these videos look like.  For the most part, they don’t look bad, but they don’t look great, either.  We also didn’t see any options to change the quality of the video.

Summary

Live from PlayStation is: Great
Live from PlayStation brings Twitch streaming to Sony’s handheld along with the PlayStation TV in a very nice way.  Unfortunately, the video quality of the streams has much to be desired.  Overlooking this, though, we are looking at an app with lots of great stuff to watch that has short load times and is one of the smoothest-running applications on the Vita to date.

9/10

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