New-Gen Console Features That Are Still MIA
Post-launch updates have rolled out for the new systems, making them even more attractive. However, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are still missing some promised amenities.
The benefit of a connected console is that manufacturers can push updates with new features at any time, but that's also the downside. Both systems shipped at the end of last year with a few IOUs out to consumers for features and functionalities that were promised.
The Xbox One March update has already strengthened the console with its Twitch support and improved features for friends, but what about the other promises that Sony and Microsoft made on behalf of their consoles?
Here's a look at some of the features that were stated as coming but still haven't arrived.
Note – I reached out to Sony and Microsoft for comment on these features, but Microsoft reps declined to supply any updated information.
Furthermore, it has come to my attention that the Xbox One does allow players to resume playing a game after powering down without having to go through the start menu. I tested this before the article and at the time (post-update) it didn't work. However, it has apparently worked with other titles. The original text has been amended to reflect this info. I apologize for the error.
External USB Hard Drive Compatibility
A February update allowed gamers to manage their save data, but as the Xbox One's library grows, they're going to eventually need a way to put their game downloads somewhere other than the system's 500GB hard drive (391GB of which is actually available) given that currently a number of Xbox One titles rock 20 GB+ installs.
When the March update for the system went live, Xbox chief product officer Marc Whitten said, "We know external hard drive storage is another big one on your list, it's on our list too. We're working on that for a future update and will keep you posted."
Seeing Your Friends' Real Names
Before the system came out, Microsoft stated that you'd be able to see the real names of your friends, but this feature didn't make the launch. The company was up front about its absence, but didn't clarify when we'd see it. Frankly, since it seemed locked and loaded before launch, we're surprised it wasn't in the March update.
Digital Game Gifting/Loaning
Microsoft famously reversed course on its original disc-based game sharing policy well before the release of the Xbox One, but the gifting or loaning of digital titles remains on gamers' wish list. Larry Hryb, director of programming for Xbox Live, told Reddit on this topic, "Great feature we'd like to add in someday, but won't be there at launch." Judging by Hryb's use of the word "someday," we don't expect this to happen any time soon.
Selecting the Sound Source of Snapped Windows
Currently when you have a snapped app up alongside your main window, you can't pick which window you want to be your sound source; you can hear audio from both simultaneously. Penello told us Microsoft is working to give players a choice of which audio to hear.
Making Use of An Extra 10% of the GPU
There has been talk Microsoft is planning on freeing an eight-percent chunk of the GPU that the Kinect camera currently draws for video processing for use by developers as they see fit. This stems from a quote that Microsoft engineer, Andrew Goossen, provided to Eurogamer before launch. However, according to Microsoft's detailing of the March update and to our knowledge, this restriction has not been lifted yet.
Coming Up Next: A breakdown of the PlayStation 4's missing features...
HBO Go App
Microsoft's systems have provided the app for a while, but this year Sony said that exclusivity would end. The PS3 version of the HBO Go app recently appeared for that system, but Sony's still working "diligently" to bring the app to the PS4.
Remote Gameplay for Friends
When the PlayStation 4 debuted, architect Mark Cerny said that players would be able to take control of a friend's game if they needed help in a tricky spot, for example. While the system shipped with the promised screenshot sharing and game broadcasting, we're still waiting on the remote gameplay feature. Sony has no updated timetable for its debut.
CD/MP3 playback and DLNA support were nice ancillary features for the PS2 (CD only) and PS3, but the PS4 isn't quite the media monster that you'd think it could be. Sony was hit with a backlash of gamer incredulity when the company announced that its $399 machine couldn't handle such last-gen tech, so it quickly tried to appease fans by saying it would add MP3 playback and DLNA support in the future. The company hasn't updated the status of these features.
External HDMI Video Capturing Compatibility
Gamers who like to record their own videos (apart from the Share button) with external capture software are still waiting to show the world footage of their epic gaming sessions. Before launch Sony said the feature was "coming soon," and a representative recently told us it will be included in an upcoming software update.
The PS4 supports Facebook video sharing, but hasn't officially announced a deal with YouTube. Given the popularity of the video site, we hope Sony puts this in soon.
Twitch & uStream Archiving
The PlayStation 4 may have had Twitch streaming up and running from the start, but it fell behind the moment that the Xbox One added Twitch (and in higher resolution, too) as well as the ability for users to archive their content. Sony says this will be added in the future.