Second Screen Experience
Both next-gen consoles are making a big push into the companion app arena. Microsoft has the Xbox One SmartGlass app, while Sony has rolled out the PlayStation app.
Available on Android, Windows Phone and iOS, the SmartGlass app allows users to control the Xbox One dashboard and apps such as Xbox Music from a smartphone or tablet. The app also works in conjunction with certain titles. For instance, SmartGlass transforms into the Zombie Defense and Control Personal Digital Assistant when used with “Dead Rising 3.” In addition to adding extra parameters to some missions, we could also call on our non-playable characters for help when the zombie hordes were a little too much to manage.
PS4 owners also have the ability to navigate their console’s dashboard using the PlayStation app (iOS and Android). Similar to SmartGlass, this app lets users use the keyboard on their smartphone or tablet for easier data entry. The app also enables gamers to receive notifications and invitations as well as chat with friends. However, our favorite feature lets users purchase games from the PlayStation store and push them to the PS4 to install ,so they’ll be ready to play once you arrive home.
While the app does have some second screen capabilities, Sony is leaning on the Vita to handle the bulk of those responsibilities. Hoping to expand PlayStation Vita adoption, Sony has added the PS4 Link app to the handheld for Remote Play functionality. Unfortunately, Remote Play only works when both systems are on the same local network. Also, we’re not sure if shoppers are willing to fork out another $199 for the Vita.
While the Xbox One’s SmartGlass app offers a more fleshed out second screen experience, the PS4 won this round based on the PlayStation app’s ability to remotely purchase and download games to your console. The ability to chat with friends and receive notifications is just icing on the cake. The Remote Play feature of the Vita is a tempting proposition for streaming games.