Share wars! Playstation 4 vs Xbox One

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Source: Xbox.com, Sony

One of the new features that both Sony and Microsoft touted for their next-gen gaming consoles was easy sharing of gameplay videos. Now that I've had both the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One for a few weeks I thought I'd compare the two in these terms. Spoiler: Both consoles have room for improvement when it comes to sharing.

Playstation 4
Using voice: While Sony doesn't promote voice commands as much as Microsoft does, if you have the Playstation Camera or the headset attached you can capture a screenshot by saying "Playstation, Take Screenshot." You'll see an icon pop up in the top-right corner of the screen indicated your screenshot was saved, and gameplay isn't interrupted. There is currently no way to capture video using voice.

Using the controller: The Playstation 4 controller has a dedicated Share button. By default, you tap that button to save the last 15 minutes of gameplay, hold it to save a screenshot (this works the same as the voice command) or double tap it to start a recording session (useful if you know in advance what you want to record).

When you tap the button your game is paused and the Share screen opens. Here you'll have 3 options: "Upload video clip," "Upload screenshot," and "Broadcast gameplay." The latter starts Twitch streaming, which the Xbox One doesn't yet support, so I won't cover it today.

Upload screenshot gives you the opportunity to share a screenshot with Twitter or Facebook (assuming you've logged into those accounts on your PS4). Upload Video clip gives you the opportunity to post that clip to Facebook. You can also opt to edit a video clip, which really just means trimming it. If you do this you'll be warned that your game will be suspended, though in my experience that didn't matter much since you can still jump back into it.

Once you've chosen to share a screenshot or video clip it gets queued for upload and you can go back to your game. This also 'resets' the start point for future captures.

If you want to access your screenies and clips later, you'll find them under your Profile. Look for the file folder icon. The tool tip calls this "Captures."

Xbox One
Using voice: While playing a game, say "Xbox, record that" and the Xbox One will record the last 30 seconds of gameplay without any interruption to your gaming session.

If you want more than 30 seconds, say "Xbox, Go To Game DVR" and the Game DVR app will get snapped and your game will pause. You can then say "End clip now" and then answer the prompt to keep the last 30 seconds, 45 seconds, or 1, 3 or 5 minutes. Keep in mind while you do this that the clock is always running. If you launch Game DVR and let it run for 15 seconds before telling it to save the last 45 seconds, you'll wind up with a clip that is 30 seconds of gameplay and 15 seconds of pause screen.

Say "Xbox, unsnap" to close Game DVR.

Using the controller: Hit the Xbox button on your controller to go to the Home Screen, then launch Game DVR (it's probably a good idea to Pin this if you're going to be using the controller). It'll snap, and your game will pause. Next, select "End clip now" and choose the duration of your clip. Then hit B a few times to 'back out of' Game DVR and get your game full screen again.

In either case you can also use Game DVR to start a new recording session.

Once you've got some video captured use the Upload app to view and save them, or use Upload Studio to edit them. Upload Studio lets you trim videos, record a voice over, record a picture-in-picture video using Kinect, record pre-roll and post-roll videos and string together several clips into one longer piece.

Once you're done editing you can save the clip to the Xbox Live servers and optionally to your Skydrive account. While the clip is rendering and uploading you need to leave Upload Studio running. If you background it while it's uploading, the upload will pause. If you close it, your upload will be canceled and you'll have to start all over again.

Once a video is in Skydrive you can access it from a computer and upload it to YouTube or anywhere else you'd like to share it. You'll find your videos in Pictures -> Xbox Game DVR in your Skydrive account. They're in 720P mp4 format.

OK so how about a little scorecard to compare the two machines. Here are my Pros and Cons for each; I'd love to hear yours.

Sony Playstation 4
Pros:

  • Can record up to 15 minutes of gameplay
  • Can capture screenshots
  • Can upload in the background

Cons:

  • Limited to sharing on Facebook
  • Editing tools are very rudimentary
  • No way to capture less than 15 minutes by default

Xbox One:
Pros:

  • Good editing tools
  • Sharing via Skydrive gives you lots of freedom in how you use your videos
  • Super-easy to capture 30 second clips

Cons:

  • No way to take a screenshot
  • Clips are limited to 5 minutes
  • No way to share to social media from the Xbox One

So the winner is...well, neither. It depends on what matters to you. I really hate that the Playstation 4 is limited to sharing on Facebook and I really like that the Xbox One saves to my Skydrive. But I hate having to wait for that upload to happen before I can go back to gaming, and while 5 minutes is plenty of time to share something cool that happened, it's too short for doing level walk-throughs or whole matches. I also like the ability to just share a screenshot on the PS4. Sometimes you just need a static image.

Also worth noting here is that I've read reports that some Playstation 4 owners are having issues with game recording. They hit the Share button and wind up with content from much earlier in a session, or other strange things. This hasn't happened to me but I see enough mention of it on social networks to accept that it is an issue for some users.

Hopefully in the months to come both Sony and Microsoft will continue to refine sharing and borrow the best aspects of each others' system.

How has your sharing experience been? If I missed any details, please comment. I'm also very interesting in hearing what your favorite and least favorite sharing features are.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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