During the mid-noughties, a grand battle took place between two of the biggest digital companies on the planet: Microsoft and Sony – both playing for supremacy over the gaming landscape.
The war rages on, today, with each competitor bringing their latest armament to the battlefield: Microsoft’s stoic warrior from the West - the Xbox series S versus Sony, with their agile, silent Eastern assassin - the PS5.
Champion players must take command of their gladiators – and in the world of gaming, your weapon of choice is your controller. It’s time to pick a side, but for that to happen you must use reason to choose…
Xbox One controller
Microsoft’s updated version of the wireless Xbox One controller for the xbox series X aims to be more ergonomic, to fit a larger range of hand sizes. The Xbox Wireless Controller includes all the familiar buttons of past models: two analog joysticks, a circular D-Pad, four action buttons and two system buttons.
However, the new controller also boasts a "Share" button: players can now take a screenshot with a single press; whilst holding down the Share button will record gameplay. Afterwards, players can share their in-game videos to social media, or to their Xbox game feed. Aside from a few aesthetic touches and a USB-C charging port instead of micro-USB, those are the only differences you'll find between the two controllers. As such, there's no learning curve, and no period of readjustment Microsoft have been really conservative with their controller updates in mind set of if it’s not broken don’t fix it.
Sony’s DualSense wireless controller for the PlayStation 5 is based on the previous Playstation system’s DualShock controller - with modifications influenced by discussions with game designers and players. Improved haptic feedback is one of those choices, it has improved rumble and will offer "astonishing effects". This allows you to feel the effects of different surfaces, whether it's resistance or simply a "bouncy sensation."
Again, the DualSense maintains the same buttons as its predecessor. However, their version of the "Share" button has been renamed "Create": allowing players to create and share content in the moment, without it affecting their gameplay. It also features new, adaptive triggers that can change the resistance to the player’s needs, supporting experiences such as virtually drawing an arrow from a bow.
But that’s not all - a built-in microphone array allows players to speak to others using only the controller, with improvements also being made to the controller speaker itself. It has two-tone coloring: white, with a detachable black facing and the light bar has been moved to the sides of the touchpad. It also boasts USB-C connectivity, a higher-rated battery, and an audio jack for headphones. This is brave step forward for Sony and their design for a controller always taking risks to produce something intriguing to say the least .
Both platforms and competitors have really learnt a thing or two from their past battles. With such powerful ammunition now in the palm of their hands, it could be anyone’s guess who comes out on top. Both systems have global appeal, and each one will have their supporters - but in the arena of comfort and control, one thing is for certain – the players ALWAYS win!