I spent some time playing on both the Xbox One and Play Station Four controllers at Eurogamer Expo last week. The design of both have remained conservative with many minor improvements made. I think it is a strategy that works well and both controllers felt more comfortable and played very well.
The PS4 controller is noticeable more comfortable than the PS3 controller, whilst there is only a subtle difference between the Xbox 360 and Xbox One controller. Both felt comfortable to hold. The PS4 is slightly bigger and more rounded than the PS3 controller and finally as comfortable as its Xbox counterpart. The only slight drawback is that the PS4 controller still rests on the bottom shoulder buttons if you put it down, which can cause accidental button presses, just like the PS3 controller, if playing with the controller rested.
All the buttons felt reasonably easy to press with some resistance that prevents accidental presses. I didn’t feel like it required any more force than the current controllers and it certainly doesn’t require much less, so if are using either of the current generation controllers now, both next gen controllers should be accessible.
The triggers on both are easier to use and the Xbox 360 controller’s notoriously terribly D-pad has been replaced and much improved.
I was concerned about the lights and screens built into both controllers, but once I was using them I realised that it was not not actually that bright and once I was looking at the screen, I didn’t notice the glow on either controller at all.
The Xbox 360 controller has always been my choice. It is more comfortable to hold, there were no accidental key presses when I was resting it, the buttons weren’t great, but generally well positioned and I tried never to use the terrible d-pad. The Xbox One controller is similar but better. It felt familiar in my hands just much smoother and more precise.
The PS4 controller is the best controller Sony has ever made. It is comfortable to hold, the buttons are easy to access and have just the right amount of tension. The Play Station controller had the furthest to travel, but it has managed to catch up in comfort and capability to the Xbox controller.
The two controllers are equally matched. I can’t recommend one or the other as superior. Both are comfortable, but if you are unable to use the current generation of controllers, there are no new upgrades that will make either next gen controllers accessible.
I was pleasantly surprised by both and as I only played for minutes rather than hours, I hope that the level of comfort I experienced carries over into longer gaming sessions. Choosing a favourite comes down to personal taste and I would highly recommend trying both and not basing a purchase decision on a historical preference.