You Can Sign Up to Test Sony’s PS5 Beta Software Before ‘Major’ Update Coming Soon

Illustration for article titled You Can Sign Up to Test Sony's PS5 Beta Software Before 'Major' Update Coming Soon

Photo: Sam Rutherford

Sony says it has a “major” software update coming for the PS5 later this year, so to help test out the new software before it gets officially released, you can now sign up for a today PS5 software beta program.

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Starting today, people over the age of 18 living in the U.S., Canada, Japan, UK, Germany, and France can register for the PS5 beta program for free here. Sony hasn’t said how many people will be accepted into the program, but the main purpose is to let users try out new features and provide feedback before the update is eventually pushed out to the public.

Sony says that if someone is selected, the only real requirements for participating in the beta program (aside from having a PS5, of course) are having an internet connection and a PlayStation Network account.

Once selected, participants should receive an email with instructions on how to download the beta. Anyone selected will automatically be registered for any beta tests in the future.

Unfortunately, Sony did not disclose any of the new features or services being tested as part of the beta, though Sony did promise to share more info “in the coming weeks.”

The PS5’s first major software update arrived earlier this spring and added new features like support for storing PS5 games on external hard drives, cross-gen Share Play with the PS4, new personalization options, and more.

Following the launch of the PS5, one of the biggest features Sony promised but has yet to deliver is support for installing a secondary SSD in the console’s expansion bay. Sony claims it’s planning to release a list of approved SSDs that have been tested to be compatible with the PS5 once support for the feature has been released. And with both versions of the PS5 only offering 667GB of base storage, any solution that provides additional room for games and media would be welcomed.

Not to be outdone, today Microsoft announced the return of the Xbox Design Lab after the program took an 8-month hiatus that started shortly before the release of the new Xbox Series consoles.

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The Xbox Design Lab allows people to create custom color schemes for the Xbox Series controller, featuring a range of 18 different colors across various components, including the gamepad’s analog sticks, face buttons, triggers, and its main plastic housing.

Controllers from the Xbox Design Lab cost $70 each ($10 more than a standard gamepad), though you can fork over an extra $10 to get your GamerTag engraved on the controller too.

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Why You’re Probably Not Getting a Switch Pro This Year

A picture of the Nintendo Switch

After launching in March 2017, the original Switch could use a more powerful sibling, but it’s unlikely that happens this year.
Photo: Sam Rutherford

Nintendo packed a lot of news into its relatively tight E3 presentation, with sneak peeks at upcoming games like Metroid Dread, WarioWare: Get It Together, Breath of the Wild 2, and even a remake for Advance Wars 1 and 2. But one of the most anticipated Nintendo products, the Switch Pro, was a no-show, and it’s beginning to seem obvious that we won’t see the Switch Pro at all this year.

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Now I know our friends over at Kotaku have already touched on this subject a bit, but I wanted to chime in with a few more thoughts about why there’s a very small chance we’ll see a Switch Pro in 2021.

Before E3 kicked off, Nintendo sent around a press release telling the media that Nintendo’s E3 presentation would be “focused exclusively on Nintendo Switch games mainly releasing in 2021.” Translation: Nintendo had no intentions of revealing any hardware this summer. And lo and behold, the year’s biggest gaming convention came and went without a peep about the Switch Pro. There’s no reason to panic: This doesn’t mean all the reports we’ve been seeing about the Switch Pro are bogus. Sometimes a company has to adjust its plans.

But by not discussing a next-gen Switch at E3, it nearly guarantees the Switch Pro won’t go on sale before the end of the year. The original Switch was first announced in October 2016 before eventually going on sale March 3, 2017. And if I had to bet, I’d put money on Nintendo doing something similar for the Switch Pro: a potential announcement this fall followed by official sales beginning in the spring of 2022.

Lead image showing timeline of various Nintendo Switch releases.

Photo: Sam Rutherford

Not only would this put the Switch Pro’s release date almost exactly six years after the original (which would make for an almost ideal mid-lifecycle refresh for the Switch), it could also line up nicely with Nintendo’s 2022 launch window for Breath of the Wild 2. The first Breath of the Wild was a launch game for the original Switch, and it was a huge factor in propelling the Switch’s strong first year sales.

And while it’s very possible that Breath of the Wild 2 (and the Switch Pro, or both) could get pushed back to the summer or fall of 2022, I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo is planning to release the Switch Pro and BotW 2 at the same time to ensure there’s a first-party game that really shows off the performance of a more powerful Switch. It’s not just a nod toward tradition, it’s a smart business move, too.

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A picture of the Nintendo Switch Lite

Photo: Sam Rutherford

We also have to remember that Nintendo announced the Switch Lite in August 2019, then released it in September. That’s an awfully fast turnaround for a major console, and I doubt Nintendo is prepared to do the same for the Switch Pro. Regardless, if Nintendo doesn’t announce the Switch Pro before the end of the summer, then that will be the final poison mushroom in people’s hopes of seeing a Switch Pro in 2021.

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Another major hurdle Nintendo would have to overcome to launch a Switch Pro this year is the global chip crunch. All sorts of components, from display controllers to automotive chips and, most importantly for consumer electronics, SoCs, are in extremely short supply. And with major foundries like TSMC reportedly already running at “over 100% utilization,” it’s going to be extremely difficult for Nintendo to squeeze in next to AMD, Nvidia, Microsoft, Sony, and others to produce a new chip for the Switch Pro.

However, by pushing the Switch Pro’s launch date (and therefore its production ramp) into 2022, Nintendo should have more time to source the required components.

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But perhaps the biggest reason why we won’t see a Switch Pro this year is simply because the current Switch is still raking in sales. For the 2020 fiscal year, Nintendo pulled in a record profit of just over $6 billion, with Nintendo’s total revenue for 2020 of $16.6 billion falling just short of its all-time high back in ‘08 and ‘09 when the Wii was selling like hotcakes.

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Even with competition from the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, the Nintendo Switch continues to top sales charts this year, with Ampere Analysis reporting that Nintendo sold 5.86 million Switches in Q1 2021, compared to 2.83 million for the PS5 and 1.31 million for both versions of the Xbox Series. Supply constraints are obviously hurting both Sony and Microsoft, which has depressed overall sales (which gives Nintendo another reason to wait), but even so, the Switch is still outselling the next-gen Xbox and PlayStation consoles combined. In short, Nintendo has the luxury to hold off for now.

It’s a bummer that the chances of the Switch Pro going on sale this year are pretty slim—I personally have been hoping and waiting for a Switch Pro since 2019—but it’s also important to not let the hype get out of control. And hey, if my reading of the teas leaves are wrong, then we get pleasantly surprised rather than sadly disappointed. It’s important to set expectations.

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In a lot of ways, Shigeru Miyamoto’s famous quote about delayed games applies to consoles, as well: “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.” And if there’s something that would be almost guaranteed to disappoint, it’s a Switch Pro that has been pushed out before it’s ready.

Sony’s PSVR 2 Will Reportedly Launch in 2022, Here’s What We Know So Far

Based on reports and previously announced info, Sony's next-gen VR headset is poised to be a major upgrade from the original PSVR (seen here)

Based on reports and previously announced info, Sony’s next-gen VR headset is poised to be a major upgrade from the original PSVR (seen here).
Photo: Alex Cranz

We already knew Sony’s next-gen VR headset for the PS5 is on the way, but recent reports may have revealed additional details about the next PSVR’s specs and launch date.

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According to a report from Bloomberg detailing the rising use of LCD panels in VR headsets, Sony is one VR headset maker sticking with OLED. The company plans to use OLED displays produced by Samsung for its next-gen PSVR, despite falling LCD prices from manufacturers like Japan Display Inc. and others.

Bloomberg also says Sony is targeting the 2022 holiday season for the release of the PSVR 2 (or whatever the VR headset’s name will be), which makes sense—due to the global chip crunch, there are still issues with display component supply. Plus, Sony’s already announced that its next-gen PSVR “won’t be launching in 2021.”

We also know a little bit about the PSVR 2’s features. A previous report based on research papers and patent filings from Sony suggests that the next-gen PSVR could include new hand-tracking tech and more sophisticated proximity sensors on PSVR 2’s controllers, which would help bring Sony’s VR system up to speed with other headsets like the Oculus Quest 2 and the Valve Index. 

Illustration for article titled Sony’s PSVR 2 Will Reportedly Launch in 2022, Here’s What We Know So Far

Photo: Sony

Another previous report from Upload VR claims Sony’s next-gen VR headset will also feature a 4K resolution (2000 x 2040 per eye), improved IPD adjustments, and even gaze-tracking that supports foveated rendering, which allows a VR headset to reduce processing requirements by reducing the fidelity of graphics not in your primary field of view. The addition of support for foveated rendering could be a huge upgrade for the PSVR 2, as the PS5 still doesn’t offer quite the same level of performance as a modern gaming PC.

Sony hasn’t revealed the design of its next-gen headset, but in March the company did show off its next-gen VR controllers, which feature a brand new “orb” design and adaptive triggers, improved haptics, finger-touch detection, and enhanced tracking with the addition of a tracking ring on the bottom of the controllers.

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It will be disappointing to have to wait another year for PSVR 2 to come out, but at the very least this should give people some more time to actually buy a PS5.

Xbox One Consoles Will Get Next-Gen Games Through Xbox Cloud Gaming

The Xbox One S and its controllers in front of a TV.

Photo: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

Deep in a blog post summing up Sunday’s Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase at E3, Microsoft casually mentioned it plans on bringing next-gen Xbox games to Xbox One consoles via Xbox Cloud Gaming. Great news, if you’ve been struggling to find a new Xbox Series S or Series X.

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Xbox Cloud Gaming, formerly known as Project xCloud, is Microsoft’s answer to services like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, and Nvidia’s GeForce Now. The service launched last September and is mostly aimed at gaming on your phone or a browser.

“For the millions of people who play on Xbox One consoles today, we are looking forward to sharing more about how we will bring many of these next-gen games, such as Microsoft Flight Simulator, to your console through Xbox Cloud Gaming, just like we do with mobile devices, tablets, and browsers,” Will Tuttle, Xbox Wire editor-in-chief, wrote in the blog.

While this is a neat way to eke out a bit more life from an Xbox One, it’ll likely be limited to the same constraints that affect all cloud gaming: You’re at the mercy of your internet connection. According to the Verge, Microsoft is upgrading its server blades later this month to better support the Xbox Series X, which should translate to better load times and frame rates.

However, whether you have a good experience will still depend on your individual setup. Some factors, like if you use a wired or wireless connection, are within your control. Others, like network or server issues, are not. When Gizmodo tried xCloud early on in the beta, it was pretty great with the exception of Halo: Reach. (Though later updates seemed to fix that issue). However, this wasn’t the experience for everyone who tested xCloud.

We’ll still have to wait to see how useful this is in the long run. In the short term, first-party games like Forza Horizon 5 and Halo: Infinite are also headed to the Xbox One natively. This xCloud solution will most likely be most useful for, well, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and any third-party titles that don’t come to the Xbox One natively. Still, we like to see companies giving consumers more options, and anything that helps you get more bang for your buck isn’t a bad thing.

Microsoft Makes the Xbox Series X Mini Fridge Meme a Reality, Will Sell It This Holiday Season

Once a meme that delighted the internet, the Xbox Series X-shaped mini fridge is becoming a reality. At the end of its E3 2021 showcase on Sunday, Microsoft announced that it would be selling “the world’s most powerful mini fridge” this upcoming holiday season.

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The fridge meme dates back to the unveiling of the Xbox Series X in December 2019. When standing in a vertical position, the console is tall and has a rectangular shape. Plus, its disk drive could be mistaken for a fridge door handle. This semblance was not lost to the internet, and thus, the Xbox Series X fridge memes were born. Microsoft itself leaned into the meme, publishing a photo of the console with a fridge for scale last year and even making a life-size Xbox Series X fridge to give away.

In its reveal trailer for the Xbox mini fridge, the product’s official name, we can see that the fridge has the Xbox logo in a corner on the outside and is Xbox green on the inside. Powered by “Xbox Velocity Cooling Architecture,” the fridge is indeed mini and appears to be able to hold about 10 cans of your beverage of choice. The price, however, is still unknown. 

“Yes, this is really happening,” Xbox said in the trailer.

But how did we get from laughs and life-size fridge stunts to the production of actual Xbox mini fridges? Although it may seem like another joke, we owe the fridges to a Twitter contest to crown the best brand on the social media platform, known as the “Best of Tweets Brand Bracket, earlier this year. As told by the Verge, both Xbox and Skittles were facing off in the final stage of the contest, and needed to convince users to vote for them in a Twitter poll.

To help push Xbox ahead in the race, Aaron Greenberg, general manager of Xbox Games Marketing at Microsoft, promised that if users helped Xbox win, the company would put real Xbox Series X mini fridges into production this year.

“Yep, you read that right. Not an April Fools joke. Not clickbait,” Greenberg said in tweet in April.

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Skittles, for its part, also put skin in the game and said it promised to bring back lime flavored skittles if users voted for it in the showdown.

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“Help us win this and we’ll BRING BACK LIME SKITTLES! Yup, you read that right. Not an April Fools joke. Not clickbait,” Skittles tweeted.

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Considering Microsoft’s Xbox mini fridge announcement, you already know how this contest ended. It was close though. Out of 341,731 votes cast, 50.5% were for Xbox and 49.5% were for Skittles. At the time, Greenberg said Microsoft would move forward with its promise to make the mini fridges. He stated that the first one would be filled with games and given to Skittles.

All in all, competition makes brands do and promise crazy things. But hey, if these contests have the power to turn beloved memes into reality and bring skittles back from the dead, please, make them compete more. (In case you were wondering, Skittles caved and brought back lime skittles for a limited time anyway).

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Nintendo’s First 3D Console Would Have Been a Hit if It Was More Like This Custom Virtual Boy Handheld

YouTuber ‘Shank Mods’ is a master at turning consoles into handheld portables by trimming down and miniaturizing their original electronics. They’ve gone as far as squeezing a functional Nintendo Wii into an Altoids tin, but their latest creation turns the clunky Nintendo Virtual Boy into a slick handheld that preserves its iconic (or notorious) black and red screen while offering other colors too.

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Released back in 1995 to abysmal sales and poor reviews, the Nintendo Virtual Boy suffered from budget cuts during its development resulting in Nintendo’s biggest failure that everyone likes to dump on. But for those who managed to snag one and a pile of games on clearance (like yours truly) it provided a genuinely enjoyable, if somewhat cumbersome, 3D gaming experience before affordable(ish) virtual reality hardware was a thing. Despite Nintendo’s claims, however, the Virtual Boy was not really a portable console, requiring a table and chair to properly play it. So Shank Mods set out to fix that.

Instead of just throwing some Virtual Boy game roms onto a handheld emulator and calling it a day, Shank Mods took the long route to create what they’ve dubbed the ‘Real Boy,’ starting with an original Virtual Boy motherboard from a damaged unit. Using a custom chip that makes the VB’s native hardware output a genuine VGA video signal (the console didn’t have screens, but strips of flashing red LEDs that scanned back and forth to create images) the Real Boy features a generous 4.3-inch, 16:9 LCD display with a resolution of 800×480 pixels that makes Virtual Boy games look better than they ever have.

As you’ve probably guessed, the Real Boy sacrifices the Virtual Boy’s hallmark feature, 3D gaming, for a strictly 2D experience. That’s definitely disappointing. But the custom hardware that connects the console’s motherboard to the LCD display introduces a new feature the original VB was severely lacking: the ability to switch the color of the games. (A feature left out of the original simply because red LEDs were the cheapest at the time.)

The completed Real Boy handheld features custom PCBs inside to keep wiring manageable, a 3D-printed housing reminiscent of the design of Nintendo’s ill-fated console, glowing buttons, and a rechargeable battery. It even carries over the original’s cartridge slot making it compatible with the entire Virtual Boy library—which is limited at best. As lovely as the final results are it’s a build that mostly asks, “why?,” but for modders like Shank Mods it’s more about seeing if the idea is even possible than producing a device that gamers would actually want to play.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Is Getting Official Browser Support

Illustration for article titled Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Is Getting Official Browser Support

Image: Microsoft

Ahead of Microsoft’s big Xbox and Bethesda E3 showcase on Sunday, Microsoft is announcing some news about Xbox Game Pass Ultimate including upcoming official support for streaming games directly in web browsers.

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In a new blog post from Microsoft, CEO Satya Nadella and Xbox chief Phil Spencer reiterated the company’s commitment to expanding the reach of Xbox beyond consoles.

“We believe that games, that interactive entertainment, aren’t really about hardware and software,” Spencer said.It’s not about pixels. It’s about people. Games bring people together.”

To that end, Microsoft is announcing a number of updates coming to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, the most important of which is official support for streaming games directly in your browser—no need for a dedicated app.

Illustration for article titled Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Is Getting Official Browser Support

Image: Microsoft

Microsoft began testing out Xbox Game Pass streaming in browsers earlier this year, and now it seems it’s ready for primetime, with browser support expected to open to all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers sometime “in the next few weeks.”

Supported browsers are expected to include both Chrome and Edge, along with Safari, the latter being a big deal for any iPhone or Mac users looking to stream games to their devices. Previously, Microsoft had explored making a dedicated Game Pass app for iOS, however, because Apple’s App Store guidelines require that each streaming game must have its own App Store listing, game streaming apps as a whole aren’t really feasible.

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Illustration for article titled Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Is Getting Official Browser Support

Image: Microsoft

Aside from new browser support, Microsoft is looking to expand Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to new markets including Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and Japan sometime later this year. And going forward, Microsoft says it’s “exploring new subscription offerings” and is working with TV makers to include support for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Microsoft didn’t provide any specific examples, but the company did mention that it’s working on creating streaming devices (most likely a dongle of some sort) that would allow people to stream games to any TV or monitor without the need for a physical console.

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And Microsoft said that it’s in the final stages of upgrading its data centers with new hardware from the Xbox Series X, which should result in faster load times, higher frame rates, and just generally better performance when streaming games from the cloud.

Finally, sometime later this year, Microsoft said it will integrate support for cloud gaming into the Xbox app on PC, unlocking more cross-platform integration like the ability to “try before you download.”

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With Microsoft coming up on the 1-year anniversary of the addition of cloud gaming to Xbox Game Pass, it’s nice to see the company continue to push to support gaming on all kinds of hardware and displays.

iOS 15 Allows Game Controllers to Capture the Last 15 Seconds of Gameplay For Unplanned Highlights

Illustration for article titled iOS 15 Allows Game Controllers to Capture the Last 15 Seconds of Gameplay For Unplanned Highlights

Image: Sony

As Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference continues, through the individual sessions we’re slowly getting more details about all the new features coming to iOS 15 that weren’t revealed during Monday’s keynote address, including some updated functionality for gamers who like to share gameplay highlights online.

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The iOS (and iPadOS) 14.5 updates brought support for Sony’s PS5 DualSense controllers and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X controllers to the iPhone and iPad, which previously had limited support for a small number of disappointing third-party gamepads. The update also brought support for the dedicated share and create buttons on each of those controllers, which under Apple’s mobile operating systems would capture a gameplay screenshot with a quick press, or start and stop screen recording with a longer press.

It was a useful shortcut for gamers who wanted to record video of a boss battle or pivotal moment in a game without actually having to leave the app or reach for the iOS or iPadOS screen capture controls, but it also meant that if gamers weren’t already recording the action (which could quickly fill up a mobile device’s storage) they’d miss a spontaneous moment or unplanned highlight.

As revealed in a WWDC 2021 session called ‘Tap into virtual and physical game controllers’ led by Nat Brown who’s part of Apple’s Games Technology Engineering team, for iOS and iPadOS 15 the company is introducing a new share gesture called Replay Capture that continually buffers the last 15 seconds of recorded gameplay until the share or create button on a connected controller is long-pressed, which will then dump that footage to the mobile device’s camera roll where it can be easily shared. It allows unexpected moments in a game to be captured, without having to record the entire session.

In the video, Apple also reveals that under iOS and iPadOS 15, game developers will be able to take advantage of the unique gameplay experience possibilities offered by the PS5 DualSense controllers’ adaptive triggers which allow for adjustable force and tension to simulate the feel of real-world objects, like drawing back a bowstring, which gets harder to do the farther you pull it. To date, Apple’s mobile devices have always been great for casual gaming, but less so for titles with more intense gameplay. As Apple continues to expand its support for excellent third-party controller hardware, these devices could finally be a great option for intense gaming on the go.

How to Capture and Share Gaming Footage From Your Windows PC

If you’ve invested in a decent gaming PC, you’ll probably want to capture and share some of the highs and lows of your gaming exploits. If you haven’t gotten started yet, we’re here to introduce a few of the best software options available to you right now.

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And software is really all you need. Unless you’re capturing an external source like a console, or combining multiple video feeds (so your audience can see your webcam while you game), you don’t need any additional hardware besides what’s already connected to your PC—with the caveat that video capture uses up a slice of system resources and may put slower and older configurations under some strain.

Microsoft includes game capturing and sharing tools as part of Windows, in the form of the Xbox Game Bar. You can launch it by searching for it from the taskbar, or by hitting Win+G on your keyboard (if there’s an Xbox controller attached to your PC, just hit the Xbox button). There are a variety of widgets here, including one showing current CPU and RAM usage.

Illustration for article titled How to Capture and Share Gaming Footage From Your Windows PC

Screenshot: Xbox Game Bar

You’ll see a Start recording button (the circle icon) in the Capture widget—click this to begin capturing footage from the game (or application) that’s currently active. To stop recording, open the Game Bar again and click the square Stop recording button. You can also use the Win+Alt+R shortcut on your keyboard to start and stop recording without bringing up the Game Bar interface every time.

The Gallery widget in the Game Bar interface is where you can see your most recent captures—select any video to view it. There’s also an Audio widget that lets you control the mix of levels between open apps, games, and the microphone input. Widgets can be hidden or shown using the row of icons at the top of the Game Bar interface.

While you don’t get any sharing options in the Xbox Game Bar itself, you can easily navigate to the capture folder (it’s in Videos then Captures in your default Windows user folder) from File Explorer or the Gallery widget. Once you’re there, you can share your footage using whatever program or portal you like.

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If you open up Settings in Windows and choose Gaming, you can customize various aspects of the Game Bar, including where your clips are saved and the keyboard shortcuts that are supported. From the Captures tab you can enable background recording, so Windows will always be recording game footage in the background while you’re playing—this enables the Win+Alt+G keyboard shortcut, which saves the previous 30 seconds of gameplay as a clip.

Illustration for article titled How to Capture and Share Gaming Footage From Your Windows PC

Screenshot: Windows

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For some, the Xbox Game Bar tool is the only software package that they’ll need, but as you may have noticed, it only captures the active window and doesn’t currently include any livestreaming options. For a more advanced setup, the application you need is OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) Studio, which is free and open source.

This is built with livestreaming in mind. It supports output to Twitch, Youtube, and Facebook, it lets you mix multiple video sources (like your screen and a webcam) together, and it gives you detailed control over settings such as output quality and audio levels. Perhaps the only downside is that it’s not the easiest software for beginners to learn, but it’s hardly impenetrable in terms of figuring out what’s what.

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OBS Studio is built around sources and scenes. Sources are video and image inputs, so they can include your entire screen, a window on your screen, an external webcam, or an external capture device (streaming from a console, maybe). Scenes are essentially layouts for one or more sources—maybe you’ll only need one scene, just showing what’s on screen, but you can also have multiple scenes that include several sources, or that display your sources at different sizes and in different ways.

You can control your scenes and sources using the boxes that appear in the lower left-hand corner of the OBS Studio interface by default. The controls to start streaming and recording are over on the right—if you don’t want to broadcast your gaming exploits to the world, you can just record them to disk.

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Illustration for article titled How to Capture and Share Gaming Footage From Your Windows PC

Screenshot: OBS Studio

To get started, click the + button under Sources and choose Display Capture as the input—this will capture everything on screen. Use the options under Controls to manage your streams and recordings, or click Settings then Hotkeys to set up keyboard shortcuts so you don’t need to have the OBS Studio interface open quite so much. You can also set output resolutions and a host of other options in the Settings panel.

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Like Xbox Game Bar, OBS Studio saves captured clips to the default Video folder associated with your Windows user profile. To make sure you’re always saving at the same time as livestreaming, click Settings from the main user interface, then choose General and Automatically record when streaming.

There’s a lot more to OBS Studio but that should be enough to get you started. You’ll also find numerous alternatives to Xbox Game Bar and OBS Studio if you need something different for capturing and sharing your gaming sessions on Windows. Check out Gamecaster, Bandicam, and Dxtory if the tools we’ve mentioned here aren’t exactly what you’re looking for.

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How to Use Your Next-Gen Console Controllers With Other Devices

The gaming controller that came with your PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S can do double-duty on other devices, too. This means you can take advantage of your next-gen controller’s ergonomics and adaptability to play games on your computer, your smartphone, your tablet, and other devices, too. Here’s how to set it up.

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Your two choices for making connections are wired via USB or wireless via Bluetooth. The first one is fairly self-explanatory, but for the second one you’re going to need to do some simple Bluetooth pairing to get everything working together. There are some differences between devices, but on the whole the pairing processes are all very similar.

On the DualSense Wireless Controller than comes with the PS5, press and hold the PS5 button (between the analog sticks) and the Create button (to the left of the trackpad) for several seconds to enter Bluetooth pairing mode. The area around the trackpad will start flashing blue when you’ve done it successfully.

On the Xbox Wireless Controller, there’s a dedicated pairing button on the top, just next to the USB-C port. If you press and hold this, after a few seconds you’ll see the Xbox button start to flash, which indicates that the controller is in pairing mode. You can then complete the process on the other device.

Connecting a Controller to Your Computer

For connecting to Windows and macOS, your best bet in terms of stability and convenience is a USB cable. Plug one end into the USB-C port on the DualSense or Xbox controller, and the other end into your desktop or laptop. The cable you’re going to need will depend on whether your computer has USB-A or USB-C ports—just pick the cable that fits (or buy an adaptor as well as a cable).

Both Windows and macOS should automatically detect the controller once it’s plugged in, whether you’re using the Sony or the Microsoft one. There’s no extra software or specific drivers that you need to install, though of course not all the applications on your computer are going to be able to work with the gamepad you’ve just hooked up.

Illustration for article titled How to Use Your Next-Gen Console Controllers With Other Devices

Screenshot: Windows

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If you prefer the wireless freedom of Bluetooth, you need to do some pairing first. From Settings in Windows, head to Devices, then pick Bluetooth & other devices and Add Bluetooth or other device to start looking for your console controller. From System Preferences in macOS, choose Bluetooth to start the connection process. If your controller is in pairing mode, it should show up in the list of devices you can connect to.

As we’ve said, gamepad support is going to vary between applications and games. A lot of titles running on the Steam platform offer support for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S controllers. From Steam, select Steam, then Settings (Windows) or Preferences (macOS), and Controller to configure the device (there will be separate settings inside individual games, too).

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Connecting a Controller to Your Phone or Tablet 

For connecting either the DualSense Wireless Controller or the Xbox Wireless Controller to your phone or tablet, you’re going to want to go wireless and rely on Bluetooth connectivity. This will get your gamepad connected, although it’s up to individual apps and games whether they recognize and support the input device.

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On Android, head to Connected devices then Pair new device to look for your console controller. Once it’s been paired, you can tap the cog icon to the right of it on the same screen to manage a limited number of settings, and to remove the input device if you no longer need to keep it connected.

Illustration for article titled How to Use Your Next-Gen Console Controllers With Other Devices

Screenshot: Android

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The process is similar on iOS and iPadOS. From Settings, choose Bluetooth and your Apple device will begin looking for your controller, which you’ll need to put in pairing mode. If you want to remove a device from the list in future, tap the blue info icon to the right, then select Forget This Device.

You’ll need Bluetooth enabled on your phone or tablet to maintain the connection. If you’re having problems hooking up the two devices, turning Bluetooth off and on again might be enough to solve them. You should also make sure you’re running the latest version of Android, iOS, or iPadOS to minimize compatibility issues.

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Connecting a Controller to Other Devices 

A variety of other devices can accept input from PS5 and Xbox Series X/S controllers, including set-top streaming boxes such as the Apple TV. From Settings on the Apple TV, choose Remotes and Devices and then Bluetooth to establish the link—your controller should show up if it’s in pairing mode. Once connected, you should be able to use the gamepad to navigate your Apple TV as well as play supported games.

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Then there’s the Nvidia Shield TV devices, which are excellent gaming boxes as well as run all the streaming apps you’re likely to need. From Settings you need to pick Remote & Accessories and then Add accessory to start a scan for nearby Bluetooth devices. Once your controller is in pairing mode, it’ll appear in the list so that you can select it. Currently, there’s no support for plugging your controller directly into the Nvidia Shield TV with a USB cable.

Illustration for article titled How to Use Your Next-Gen Console Controllers With Other Devices

Screenshot: Nvidia Shield TV

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Those of you with an Amazon Fire TV device can connect a PS5 or Xbox Series X/S gamepad for better control of your games by going to Settings and choosing Remotes & Bluetooth Devices, Game Controllers, and Add New Game Controller. That will initiate the Bluetooth pairing process. As with all of these devices, compatibility with individual apps and games can vary.

As we mentioned with phones and tablets, Bluetooth doesn’t play nicely all of the time, and a system restart or a controller restart might be necessary to get everything working properly again. Make sure you keep your streaming boxes updated with the latest software as well, because support for third-party controllers is being refined and improved on a fairly regular basis.

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