At the Tokyo Game Show this past week, Microsoft got a question about whether or not the Xbox One’s HDMI-In capability will support the ability to run its rival, the PlayStation 4. Xbox senior director of product management and planning Albert Panello dodged the question at first, but later on his presentation said:
“Any application can be snapped to a game…this could be the live TV feed, so if you wanted to be playing Ryse and Killzone at the same time, you could snap that.”
Killzone, of course, being a PlayStation exclusive.
The rumored idea was that the Xbox One might possibly block the PS4′s signal, even though any HDMI device is suppose to work through its input. It would have been a dig at Sony, but a rather unnecessary and mean-spirited one. It also would have stripped functionality from their console for no reason.
I’m still not convinced about the whole “snapping” system of the Xbox One being terribly useful. Yes, it’s cool that you can use Kinect gestures or voice commands to switch inputs or put a One game side by side with a TV show, Skype call or apparently even a PS4 game, but how useful is that really?
Even in households where members are constantly fighting over the TV, I’m not sure if this solution is really a solution. It reminds me of picture-in-picture, a feature that used to be quite big on TVs, but sort of faded away over time as really no one ever used it. I even remember my old rear projection TV that could play Xbox on the big screen and watch TV in the tiny inset PIP window, or vice versa. Granted, I couldn’t activate it with gestures, but the idea isn’t all that new.
And really, all splitting the screen does is make both parties have an unsatisfying viewing experiences with smaller or obstructed screens, and only one gets sound. I think Nintendo’s “transfer to gamepad” system is more useful if we’re talking about families fighting over the TV. As for input switching? I’m still not sold on the fact that it’s just such a chore to press a singular input button on my TV remote control that I need an entirely new gesture or voice-based system to do it instead.
Playing PS4 through your Xbox One sounds cool in theory, but I don’t know if it’s much more than a gimmick. Whether you’re plugging your PS4 HDMI into your TV or your Xbox, it’s really not going to affect how you use the system 99% of the time. These are features that sound like advancements, but I’m wondering if they really contribute anything meaningful to the living room experience.