PS4 Pro Has One Unexpected Advantage Over Xbox One X

Credit: Mitch Wallace

This photo almost makes it seem like they’re getting along. Almost.

As far as sheer horsepower is concerned, there’s really no contest in 2017: The PS4 Pro makes its software look admittedly great, but when it comes to true 4K gaming, it simply can’t hold a candle to the processing behemoth that is the Xbox One X. But even though Microsoft’s console will remain my system of choice for third party titles moving forward, Sony’s mid-cycle refresh manages to come out on top in one rather unexpected category. You may be assuming that I’m alluding to first-party exclusives or possibly user interface (which I still prefer, by the way), but I’m thinking slightly more obscure. Two words: Remote play.

To be fair, the Xbox One X—as well as the Xbox One S and the bulky launch original—does feature game streaming capabilities. Specifically, you can stream Xbox One games to any Windows 10 device. That includes PCs, laptops and even tablets. The streaming is set up through the Xbox App, and from what I’ve seen, it works decently enough, especially since you can use an Xbox wireless controller to play. Not too shabby, but for me, it’s missing some convenience.

While you absolutely can play Xbox One X games away from your main console, there’s a clunkiness there I don’t much prefer. It may sound nitpicky, but hear me out. If I want to stream Super Lucky’s Tale to another room in my house, that room needs to have a Windows 10 PC, and if I want to then project my gameplay onto a larger TV screen, then I have to potentially link my PC to the additional display via HDMI. That’s assuming my computer is even in a position to reach the TV. Now, the tablet/laptop situation is a little better, simply because those options offer the portability factor. Also, as far as I know, you can only stream Xbox One games within your own home network. There isn’t any over-the-internet streaming available, which is a shame.

Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment

The Vita may be Sony’s forgotten stepchild, but it does a hell of a job streaming PS4 games.

Now consider the PS4 Pro, which can stream games remotely over the internet, so even if your console is in Hawaii and you’re staying in a seedy motel with free wi-fi and complimentary bed bugs in Florida (not judging), you can still kick back and get your Last Guardian on. This is, of course, in addition to home network streaming, which I feel helps push the PS4 ahead. But beyond all that, it’s about convenience. And maybe more importantly, options. Like the Xbox One, you can stream PS4 games to Windows PCs but also Macs, which should be a better fit for some users. Then there’s the Vita and PS TV (Vita TV if you’re in the East) to consider.

While the streaming image quality isn’t the absolute best on the Vita’s OLED/LCD, there’s an immeasurable magic that comes from playing PS4 games on the go. It’s got all the controls built right in and there’s no fussing with weird settings or dedicated apps. The back touch pad makes some titles rather difficult to play, but for many others, the setup works beautifully. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s just something strangely special about fitting in a few Overwatch matches on a dedicated handheld. Almost like you’re getting away with something that shouldn’t be possible. But we’re not done quite yet.

Enter PS TV, possibly Sony’s most forgotten console, even beyond the unit’s own portable hardware inspiration. Since the underrated unit is basically a mini consolized Vita complete with support for cartridges, you can stream games to it as if it were the original system. Only now you can hook it up directly to your fancy 65 inch display via HDMI, and the thing is damn tiny, so it’s super easy to move it around and hide amongst other consoles. Additionally, you can use either a DualShock 3 or DualShock 4 with it. I actually have several PS TVs hooked up in different locations in my place, which is awesome, because it essentially gives me a $40 PS4 Pro in every bedroom. The only real drawback is that image quality, at least as of this writing, is still capped at 720p. Since the PS TV is more or less a dead peripheral at this point, I doubt Sony will ever update it to handle 1080p streaming, but you never know.

Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment

It’s a shame Sony all but abandoned the PS TV.

I think that’s what the Xbox One X is missing for me, either some kind of portable Xbox or stripped down version of the hardware that could be used almost exclusively for streaming. Given Nintendo’s stranglehold on the handheld market and the ubiquity of powerful mobile devices, I can’t see the former ever happening. I think there’s a better chance of Microsoft releasing an Xbox Mini that only exists to stream content, but even that seems unlikely given that Windows 10 PCs probably fill that niche just fine for most Xbox users.

Keep in mind that, minus firmware/hardware caps, game streaming quality/stability on both consoles really comes down to the speed and consistency of your internet connection. If you’ve got a solid home network, preferably one that is wired and doesn’t rely on wi-fi, game streaming is a really cool option for people with multiple displays. When it comes down to it, PS4 is my remote play console of choice, and it’s a feature that keeps my Vita and PS TVs functioning regularly. But let me know: Do you stream games from either your Xbox One or PS4? And what do you stream them to (PC, Mac, Vita, PS TV, etc.)?

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