Sony PS4 to sync with iOS, Android for dual screen gaming

Sony's new console, like Nintendo's Wii U launched last year, will support 'second screens' for extra maps and game data

Gamers on the new PlayStation 4 will have a lot to keep track of.

Sony said the new console will embrace "second screens" in gaming, where the main action takes place on a large TV or monitor, but a sub-screen shows maps and other supplementary information.

Gamers will be able to download a "PlayStation App" that runs on the iPhone and iPad, as well as Android devices, to use them during game play, the company said.

[ MORE: Sony's PlayStation 4 announced after long wait ]

The app appears to be a rare entrance for third-party devices into the PlayStation gaming environment, though the main console will still handle most of the action. The app will also allow users to watch others play games remotely, and to purchase PS4 games that are then downloaded to their home consoles.

The effect is similar to that offered by Nintendo's latest home console the Wii U, which has a tablet-like controller with its own touchscreen that can display game details separate from the user's main screen. The controller for Sony's new console also features a touch-pad and light bars to identify players, but no display.

Sony said its PlayStation Vita handheld will also work together with the new PS4. Users will be able to play the same game on both devices, switching back and forth as they see fit. A few titles for the current generation PlayStation 3 can also interact with the Vita, using it as a controller or allowing match play between the two devices, but Sony's game division, Sony Computer Entertainment, said it plans to make such interaction standard with the PS4.

"It is SCEI's long-term vision to make most PS4 titles playable on PS Vita," the company said in a press release.

The Vita has sold far fewer units than Sony had planned, and the company recently slashed its sales target.

Sony announced the PS4 at a press conference in New York on Wednesday. The company did not announce pricing, but said the game will be out in time for the holiday season this year.

Sony has a totally separate program underway to bring its gaming brand to Android phones. The "PlayStation Mobile" platform provides a software development kit for developers to create games that will only run on Sony-approved devices, which the company has said will offer "PlayStation-like experiences" to users.

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