Nov 11, 2013
How did I ever survive without apps? It seems I use an app for every possible task these days; whether that be for entertainment, or for more productive reasons. And recent news has revealed apps are coming to your next-gen consoles.
Both Microsoft and Sony have released a list of apps available at launch for their respective consoles.
For Sony’s US launch, this includes the following: Amazon Instant Video, Crackle, Crunchyroll, EPIX, Hulu Plus, NBA Game Time, Netflix, NHL GameCenter Live, Redbox, VUDU, and YuppTV. This shows a combination of huge corporations, along with lesser known services. Alongside this, there are Sony’s first party apps, Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited, for whoever uses those.
For Microsoft’s UK Xbox One release, the following will be available before spring 2014: 4oD, Amazon, LOVEFiLM, blinkbox, Crackle, Demand 5, Eurosport, Machinima, MUZU TV, Netflix, NOW TV, TED, Twitch, and Wuaki.tv This is alongside Microsoft’s own services, including: Xbox Fitness, Xbox Video, Xbox Music, Internet Explorer, Skype, SkyDrive, and Upload.
With Microsoft’s emphasis on an all-in-one entertainment system, it is looking to provide as many apps and services as humanly possible. Mark Whitten, Microsoft’s chief product officer, stated:
“The one system that offers the best games next to the best entertainment experiences and apps. Along with offering a stellar app portfolio from around the world, Xbox One takes the next step by offering them in a way that is seamless and easy to use.”
Compare this to Phil Rosenberg of SCEA, and you can see how the different console approaches seem to meet in the middle:
“The PS4 is the most powerful gaming system ever created, which enables us, along with our partners to add amazing entertainment options to the platform that we know PlayStation fans are going to love.”
Of course, depending on your region, you may find one list more appealing than the other. But does the Xbox One really offer that much more entertainment than the PS4? The PS3 was host to a number of UK TV services such as LOVEFiLM and 4oD, so they will certainly make the transition to the PS4. The power of the PS4 and the focus upon a gaming console is unlikely to have a real influence upon providing alternative entertainment other than gaming, and will merely lack Xbox One features such as gesture control and face recognition.
There are a number of apps missing from Microsoft’s lineup, including iPlayer and ITV Player, but these are sure to follow in the future.
So the question is whether there is a real difference between either console. Aside from exclusives and resolution debacles, the two consoles will play the same games, and are likely to support the same apps. The winner here is the consumer. But it also opens up opportunities for a number of companies to create apps for the consoles, which could gain more widespread usage whilst the competition is low. Xbox 360 users are famed for their love of streaming content, and this is sure to be a key feature of next-gen consoles. But with the rise of Smart TV’s, do we really need both our TV and console to have the same apps? Within the decade lifespan of these machines, we could end up with an evolution in how we use apps. Currently, my Blu-ray player hooked up to a smart TV have the same apps, and hooked up with a console too? App overload.
One thing is for certain: apps are here to stay. They certainly make life a lot easier, and definitely enhance the capabilities of consoles. But are they a system seller? Perhaps not. But if people truly want an entertainment system rather than a games console, then they could be integral to a system’s success.