Which Controller is Better: XBOX ONE vs. PS4

Both controllers have their strong points, but which is ultimately the best?
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Are you going to decide which console to get depending on how the controller feels? Are you already decided but want to see if your choice has the better hardware so you can laugh at your enemies this time around in the console war? Either way, prepare yourself for the XBOX ONE controller vs. the PS4 controller.

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XBOX ONE Controller

Just this last week, I got a chance to try out LocoCycle and Killer Instinct on the XBOX ONE. Here are my impressions of the new controller:

Changes: What I noticed most was the new dpad. Instead of being done in the style of the 360 with the circle pad with the arrows sticking out, it’s simply just the arrows this time around. It seems like it would work a bit better with fighting games compared to the 360 controller, but in my experience with it, it doesn’t (To be explained.)

The start and select buttons have been replaced with a menu and view set. Menu functions the same as the start button from what I can tell and it doesn’t seem like a change in anything more than the name. I did not get a chance to use the view button.

The rumble features for the controller are now localized in more specific sections. It’s a nice, subtle change that adds a little flair to certain parts of the game.

In Use: This controller did not feel radically different from an XBOX 360 controller. It felt practically the same. I had a positive experience with it while playing LocoCycle but a pretty terrible one while playing Killer Instinct.

When playing KI, the controller was very unresponsive. Input would often be misread or completely left out. I know for a fact that it wasn’t the game because I had also played KI with a MadCatz stick and it responded perfectly. I was disappointed to find that even the new dpad isn’t very fighting game friendly.

There is a possibility that my disappointment with the controller during KI could have come from a low battery, but my opponent also noticed some input delay and neither of our controllers functioned poorly outside of the fight itself.

Playstation 4 Controller

I only got a chance to use the Playstation 4 controller on the port of Warframe. This controller has a few more changes when compared to the ONE, but they seem to be for the better.

Changes: When picking up the Dualshock 4 controller, the most noticeable difference is that the grip feels thinner. I love this change because it feels much more ergonomic compared to the current Dualshock 3. Long gaming sessions on the PS3 will often lead to my wrists aching from the shape of the controller, but the DS4’s new shape change seems like it will eliminate that issue.

Simply looking at the new PS4 controller, you are liable to notice the giant touch pad. I think its usefulness will change based on the game, but I really liked how they implemented it in Warframe.

Aside from the shape and touch pad changes, the only other noticeable differences are the start and select buttons being replaced with the options and share buttons, as well as the joysticks being concave. The former changes do not seem to affect much (did not get the chance to use share) and the latter made the controller feel better.

In Use: With a game like Warframe, you need as many inputs as you can fit to pull off the same tricks you can on the PC. With the touch pad, they were able to keep the same high speed maneuverability and ease of ability use by utilizing the touch pad to free up more buttons on the controller itself.

When using the touch pad, without fail, it registered which way I was moving my fingers. In my experience, some touch devices will misread your input. The Dualshock 4 did not while I was using it.

What’s the Verdict?

All in all, both consoles have solid controllers. If you think that the XBOX 360 controller is the best you have ever used, you will still love the XBOX ONE’s controller. If you are a fan of the Dual Shock series, you will most likely love the changes they made and prefer the PS4 controller.

After trying them both out, I have to say I prefer the Playstation 4’s controller a bit better. The Dualshock controllers have always been my favorites, but the Dualshock 4 adds some changes for the better. I will be using the hell out of this on the PS4 itself as well as PC games that work better with a pad.

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Joseph Rowe
World traveling English teacher, writer, and aspiring front-end developer.