The recent launch of Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s new Playstation 4 have had enough success to soon be a popular fixture of nearly everyone’s living room. While the new console sales are still breaking records, many don’t know of their integration using mobile smart phone and tablet apps.
Back when Sony and Microsoft first launched their first generation consoles, smart phones and tablets were uncommon devices that were just at the dawn of their popularity. Then the launch of Apple’s first iPhone changed that in a hurry. Soon after the iPhone launch the gaming industry had a new entity to compete with in mobile gaming.
Now that mobile devices are as common as the VCR was to the 80’s, Sony and Microsoft are both taking advantage of this by integrating their new consoles into mobile apps. Users can now access some of the features and functions that the new consoles have provided, right from the convenience of their smart phones and tablets.
Users of Microsoft’s previous gaming system, the Xbox 360, are probably already aware of app integration with the Xbox 360 SmartGlass app. Gamers are able to navigate the user interface (UI), have access to social-based achievements, messaging and friends, and they were also able to launch apps and games. Now their old SmartGlass 360 app has been totally separated from their new Xbox One SmartGlass app.
The Xbox One SmartGlass app was designed along side of the Xbox One console and users are finding that it is much faster and much more stable than its predecessor.
The app is free and available on Windows RT, Windows 8, Windows phone 7.5+ and not to forget to mention, Android 4.0+ and iOS. For the Apple products, the app requires at least a fourth-generation iPod Touch, the iPhone 3GS, but it works with every version of the iPad.
The Xbox One SmartGlass relies on the user’s Microsoft account, and offers 4 choices after signing in. The “Now Playing” tiles display the information that is pertinent to the gamer’s current actions, while “Recent” selection displays the activity recent to the Xbox One play. The “Featured” section allows access to Microsoft’s games, TV shows, and new movies, while the “My Pins” section allows access to apps and games that a user has pinned to their Xbox One’s home screen.
The Xbox One SmartGlass app also has a left to right swipe action that will allow a user access to an app’s settings, messages, pins, achievements, friends and their profiles. By clicking the “Connect” button a user can connect the device to the user’s Xbox One. The console and the mobile device need to share the same network in order to connect to one another, or users can manually enter the IP address which is located in the Xbox One’s Network selection, then Advanced Settings.
The SmartGlass app can turn the mobile device into another controller or allow a user to select games and access extra information about the console.
The app also integrates into some Microsoft games like Dead Rising 3, where it uses the mobile to “Control Personal Digital Assistant” and provide a gamer with a “Zombie Defence” device. This enables the mobile to interact with non-player characters and also allows for a gamer to call in airstrikes, and more.
To avoid the screen dimming on the mobile, be sure to use the “Stay Awake” function in the settings of the app.
The Xbox One SmartGlass app also allows a user to be able to search for whatever they are looking for, which is a handy feature to have if a gamer is still green and unfamiliar with the interface.
The Xbox One is not the only console to integrate so deeply with a mobile app, Sony’s Playstation 4 also provides there owners with mobile integration. The Playstation app was released in tandem with the launch of Sony’s latest console.
The Playstation app is very similar to the Xbox One’s app and provides much of the same functions and features. Sony’s new app will also allow access to the Playstation Store, various social features and tutorials, plus a few other things.
The PS4 app is available for free at the Apple App Store and Google’s Play. The minimum requirements are Android 4.0 and higher, and iOS 6 and above devices like the iPhone, iPad Touch, and the iPad.
The Sony app integrates into the player’s Playstation account before one can access all of the features. It has a “What’s New” box containing the recent games played and provides a user with updates from their PSN friends.
Sony’s app will give a user access to social-based features like messages, gaming alerts, invitations and notifications. A gamer can access the latest news and events, promotions and tutorials through the “Links” tab at the bottom of the screen.
Before the app will connect to the PS4, the user must register the mobile device on which the app is installed on. Adding the device can be done by going to the console’s Settings and choosing Playstation App Connection Settings, where the user can click Add Device. Just like the Microsoft version, both devices must be on the same network. To add the PS4 to the app a user just needs to connect to the console by clicking the “Connect to PS3” tab, select the console, and input the 8 digit code they see on the TV.
After connecting a user can select “Disconnect,” “Power the system down,” or they can use the mobile as a second screen. Selecting the screen option displays the two options, which are keyboard and remote. Remote turns the mobile into an extra controller while the keyboard allows a player to use the mobile device as a keyboard for messaging other friends.
Again, just like the Xbox One app, the PS4 app integrates into games like Need for Speed Rivals, where the mobile displays a map to see checkpoints and other drivers. If a gamer currently owns a Playstation 4 or an Xbox One, it’s almost a must to try out the free apps. As more and more games will becoming available very soon that also contain mobile integration.
By Brent Matsalla