As of this last Friday, the next generation of game consoles officially kicked off with the launch of the PlayStation 4 and continues this week with the Xbox One. These consoles are bringing new games with HD graphics, as they should, but they also have some new features that many people may overlook as being really cool reasons to upgrade to the next gen. Here are the five best features of the next generation consoles:
Sure, you could live stream to Twitch on the current ten, but you’d need a PC capture card and additional hardware for it to really work. The PS4 and Xbox One both support live streaming directly to Twitch right from the consoles. The PS4 version of this works extremely well (and you can also stream to Ustream), and while we’ve seen the Xbox One version demonstrated at E3, there hasn’t been confirmation on whether or not the functionality will make it in for launch. Live streaming games is an even better innovation than achievements, as it real makes playing a game a communal activity with people able to comment on what you’re doing as you play. This was an unexpected feature to emerge as the best on these new consoles, but it’s starting to change how people play games…
The Xbox One has Smartglass support, and the PS4 has a PSN mobile app, and the ability to access things on your console remotely is pretty cool. PC and Macs have been able to do this for years, and with the consoles becoming more and more PC like, it’s about time you are able to access things on the system when you’re away from home.
Low Power/Standby Mode
Another thing brought over from the PC is a low power standby mode on both consoles. While put to sleep, the consoles can charge your controllers and even do background downloading and updates. Away from home when a new digital game is released? Just use the mobile app to buy it and it’ll begin downloading and installing to your console while it’s in standby. That way when you get home, it’s waiting for you to play.
Remote Play (PS4/WiiU)
This is one feature on the list the doesn’t apply to the Xbox One. Last year, the Wii U introduced off-screen play with the GamePad. While the PS3 did offer some limited off-screen play with some games and the PSP, most titles on the Wii U and PS4 allow you to play them without having to have the TV on. The PS4 does this through the Vita, which makes that handheld almost a must-have if you own a PS4. Remote play is very cool, and you can even start a standby PS4 with the Vita and initiate Remote Play without ever having to turn on the TV or grab the controller.
Despite what Microsoft fanboys will try to tell you, both the PS4 and the Xbox One support voice controls for the UI. The Xbox One does it through Kinect, while the PS4′s are a little more limited at this time but they can be issued either via a microphone on your headset or through the mic on the optional PS4 camera. It’s pretty handy if you’re doing something in the kitchen and want to launch a game so it’s loaded by the time you get to the couch, and with the voice control you can do just that.