PS4 vs. Xbox One: The console wars take a new turn

Consoles

Depending on how you look at it, the game console wars just took another turn with the launch of the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One consoles.  What is even more amazing is the close and fierce competition between these two consoles in price, design, specs, and game varieties.

How do these two consoles stack up against one another?

The PS4

Playstation has always been primarily a gaming device and the PS4 stays true to the cause. The console and controller have been completely redesigned. A new controller, the Dualshock 4, comes with improved ergonomics with slightly indented trigger buttons while the analog sticks have a slightly elevated rim to keep a player’s thumb from sliding off.

PS4

Other improvements to the controller include a touchpad and a light bar. The touchpad dominates much of the middle space but is fairly responsive to touch especially for in-game navigation. A Playstation camera, sold separately, allows the console to detect the movement and depth of field in front of it via the light bar.

The PS4 comes with an additional app, the Playstation App, on both iOS and Android, which lets you carry your game beyond the big screen, on the go. You can purchase and download games for the PS4 on the move and even play from where you left off right within the app.

Some of the games you can start playing immediately you purchase the console include Killzone Shadow Fall and Call of Duty: Ghosts. The console debuts at $400.

The Xbox One

Xbox One comes in a completely new design in comparison to the previous Xbox 360. Xbox exclusives like Halo may not be motivation enough for you to purchase the console, but the added features like voice command support and motion control to the system via the Kinect will definitely make you want to reconsider your options despite the $500 price tag.

XBox One

What really sells it for Xbox One though is the fact that you can use it for more than just playing games. The machine comes with a cable port for watching your TV. What is even more interesting is the fact you don’t need to switch between the game and the TV. Simply tell ‘the One’ what you wanna watch. For instance, you can say, “Xbox, Watch ABC” and it will switch.

Other services you can access include Amazon, Hulu, YouTube, Netflix, Xbox Movies. You also no longer need to fire up services like Skype and Internet Explorer separately. These have been integrated with the One and you can pull them up onto the big screen just as fast.

The Xbox One also comes with the SmartGlass app for Android, iOS, and Windows.

Bottom Line

The question of which is better, the One or the PS4, is hard to answer when you have two big players with two big consoles. Never before has gaming had two such stand-out consoles to choose from. The Playstation 4 has the best bits gleaned from three generations of systems while the Xbox One offers much broader experiences.

Use a Gamepad for Any PC Game with Xpadder

I play a lot of video games on my Xbox 360, but occasionally I’ll switch things up and buy something to enjoy on my PC. Recently I picked up both Fallout 3 and New Vegas on sale, but I was disappointed to find they didn’t support my Logitech F310 USB gamepad. This isn’t a big issue for people who prefer keyboard and mouse for first-person shooters, but I’ve spent so much time on my XBOX that I prefer to have a controller in my hands.

A bit of searching led me to XPadder, a free piece of software that allows you to simulate your keyboard and mouse with a gamepad. Essentially, XPadder allows you to pair keyboard or mouse actions with the button presses and joystick movement of your gamepad.

XPadder button profile

The ability to make and save profiles for specific games makes XPadder a handy tool for hardcore gamers that have very particular button arrangements that work for them. In fact, the XPadder forums allow gamers to share their custom button profiles with others, which is very convenient for those that don’t feel like messing with button configurations and would rather get to the game. The customization of the profiles can go deep, even allowing you to adjust mouse sensitivity and multi-button pushes, so choose your pre-made profiles wisely. I was impressed to find that one pre-made Fallout profile had been setup to work with rumble force feedback. Righteous.

XPadder is a nifty tool for making your gamepad work with any game, but it’s also fun (though impractical) to use it as a keyboard/mouse replacement. Try setting it up to work with your Internet browser, and you may be on to something if you can get around the “no keyboard input” problem. Give XPadder a try with NES/SNES emulators for an authentic feel to old school gaming.

The uses for this software are extensive, so give it a whirl; I bet you won’t regret it.

It’s Official: Television comes to Xbox

A new panel on Xbox Live Spotlight confirms rumors of a cable-esque service for Xbox Live. According to the video “nearly 40” providers are being added including. HBO Go, SyFy, Bravo, Comcast, and Verizon FiOS and more this holiday. When exactly is this holiday? Let’s hope they’re talking Halloween, but I’m going to go ahead and guess they’re talking about the more significant winter ones.

What’s also exciting is the utilization of the Kinect and voice-activated Bing search to browse through content. Examples on the video include searches such as “Xbox Bing, Fast and the Furious” and “Play.”

Check out the trailer below.