TIME Video Games

The Only Guide to PS4 vs Xbox One You’ll Ever Need

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FREDERIC J. BROWN—AFP/Getty Images

How to choose, how to choose... This is how

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This post is in partnership with Trusted Reviews. The article below was originally published at TrustedReviews.com.

By Larry Kim

Both the Xbox One and PS4 have been around for enough time to give us a solid grounding for the strengths and weaknesses of each. Whether you go for the people’s favourite, the PS4, or opt for the potentially more well-rounded Xbox will be decided on your preferences. The decision is not clear cut. To help you work out which console is right for you we’ve compared each aspect so you can safely decide between the PS4 or Xbox One.

As well as covering all the hardware angles we’ll also checking out the games that are already out and the games coming to the two consoles thanks to E3 2014.

Xbox One vs PS4 – Price and Release Date

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In a suprising, but honestly refreshing, turn of events Microsoft has made some major changes to the way it has been marketing the Xbox One. There were a few new things to note If you were looking to buy a PS4 or Xbox One a while back.

Most shocking of all is that the Kinect is no longer tied to the Xbox One – Microsoft has announced its plan to release a Kinect-free console for $399. That’s the same price as the PS4 without any games.

Whereas before the cost factor was a major issue when choosing between the two consoles, now they have reached parity.

Some of the restrictions that seemed to penalise Xbox One owners have also been restricted. You don’t have to purchase and Xbox Live Gold membership to access things like Netflix, which is a big bonus for those looking to make their console act as a home entertainment unit.

The Xbox One is now a lot more like the PS4. And in this case, that’s a good thing.

The Xbox One’s original ‘RRP’ was $499, where the PS4 has sold for $399 since it launched November.

However, we have already seen a bit of Xbox One price erosion, where most places still seem to sell the PS4 at its original price. Amazon currently sells the Xbox with Kinect for $499, just a little more than the proposed price of the console without Kinect. We’d probably take the Kinect for just $50.

Of course, most of you will likely want to buy a console along with a game, and that changes things significantly. Here are the current bundles you can order with the consoles:

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Prices are based on what we could find from reputable retailers at the time of writing

Lots of the launch bundles are becoming scarce as they are replaced with newer games. The logic is pretty obvious – once a game’s price drops a few months after launch, it loses its bundle appeal.

The most up-to-date of the game bundles are the Titanfall Xbox One package and the Watch Dogs PS4 deal. Until recently the Xbox Titanfall package (which includes Kinect) was available for $499, but most of those deals have dried up.

SEE ALSO: Best Games of 2014 Round-up

Xbox One vs PS4 – Best Current and Future Games

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The most important factor with any game console is games. Forget graphical fidelity and looks, above all else, you should go with the console that has the games you want to play.

Many of this generation’s games will be available on both consoles which makes choosing between them that much trickier. This was true with the last generation too, but the Xbox One and PS4 make it easier than ever for developers to produce games cross-platform.

Let’s have a look at the top games that are already available, and those that are coming out for each console.

Best Future Xbox One Exclusives
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Halo 5: Guardians
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PS4 games 4What is it? Halo, naturally
Release date: 2015

At the moment we know very little about Halo 5: Guardians, aside from the name and that it’s coming to Xbox One next year. It’ll serve as the sequel to Halo 4, and be one of the leading Xbox One games for 2015.

The story is largely a mystery, but you can expect to see the same sort of fast first-person action seen in all the previous core Halo games. Are we excited? Yes. Do we need to know more about Halo 5? Definitely. We’ll be back with more details soon.

Halo: The Master Chief CollectionBlue line

Halo collectionWhat is it? Old Halo, made new
Release date: November 2014

As a way to bridge the gap between now and the release of Halo 5, we have Halo: The Master Chief Collection. It’s a pack of the four previous ‘core’ Halo games, all revved up for the Xbox One with 1080p, 60fps visuals.

The multiplayer has been reinstated too, including absolutely reams of maps from all four games. As part of the collection, you’ll get beta access to Halo 5: Guardians too, making it a must for Halo die-hards.

Forza Horizon 2Blue line

PS4 games 5What is it? Open-world racer
Release date: September 30 2014

The Forza series has split into two halves. There are the core Forza Motorsport titles and the rather less serious Horizon games, which have a free-roaming element.

Forza Horizon 2 takes place in Southern Europe, letting you roam in the area around a music festival, taking part in the usual dazzling array of races. This should prove to be a good visual showcase of what racers should look like on Xbox One, more so than the early Forza Motorsport 5.

Project SparkBlue line

PS4 games 6What is it? Game-creation tool
Release date: TBC

Project Spark is an intriguing game creation tool that will let you make full games, by the looks of it. Think of it as Xbox One’s alternative to Little Big Planet 3 and you won’t be too far off the mark.

It appears to let you make 3D adventures, 2D platformers, racers and puzzle games. But will it give you real scope? Will it be too difficult and time-consuming? Either way, we’re looking forward to finding out. While an Xbox One console exclusive, Project Spark will also be available on Windows 8.1.

Sunset OverdriveBlue line

PS4 games 8What is it? An OTT action game
Release date: TBC

People have been turned into mutants, thanks to an evil energy drink. The city is in chaos. And you are the hero who has to sort it all about.

Sunset Overdrive is a bit like Infamous, but with a sense of humour and a proper colour palette. This game could be bags of fun, especially if you’re after a game whose focus is pure fun, but that isn’t just aimed at kids.

Best Future PS4 Exclusives
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Little Big Planet 3
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PS4 gamesWhat is it? A platformer and game creation tool
Release Date: November 2014

Little Big Planet has become one of the defining series of the modern PlayStation era. And while it no longer attracts as much attention as something like Uncharted, it attracts kids and adults like almost nothing else.

It’s a cutesy platformer, but also a full game creation tool. You can really let your creativity rip with this Little Big Planet 3, and make games with no real knowledge of coding. To an extent it’s more of the same, and LBP3 is compatible with levels already in the LBP universe – of which there are more than 8.5 million

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s EndBlue line

PS4 games 1What is it? The PS4’s lead adventure title
Release Date: 2015

A Thief’s End is the first Uncharted game to come to PS4, and once again it’s a Nathan Drake Adventure. The Uncharted series offers some of the most cinematic experiences in gaming, and Uncharted 4 is no different.

It’s a “globe-trotting” adventure in which you’re looking to uncover a “historical conspiracy”. We don’t know a great deal about Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Yet. But we expect great things. Sony says it’ll have more to tell us in the coming months.

BloodborneBlue line

PS4 games 2What is it? A game from the makers of Dark Souls
Release Date: 2015

We don’t know much about Bloodborne yet, but there’s a reason to be excited already – it comes from the man behind the Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls games – Hidetaka Miyazaki.

As you’d expect from the creator of those grim classics, Bloodborne is not a barrel of laughs. It’s about a virus transmitted through the blood, something that turns people and creatures into horrific things. And it is horror, rather than fantasy, that is the theme this time around. For many, this will be one of the most exciting games of the next 12 months.

The Order 1886Blue line

PS4 games 3What is it? Action-adventure set in London
Release Date: 20 February 2015

It’s not often we get to see games set in London that aren’t racing titles. The Order 1886 is set here, and it’s an action adventure where you play a knight who is part of an order tasked with taking down a horrible breed of werewolf-like creatures.

Expect bad English accents, lots of moody, foggy environments and loads of shooty action. It’s getting pretty positive previews at present, although as a new IP we’ll have to wait to see if this is the real deal.

Best Current Xbox One games
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PS4 and Xbox One games 8
Titanfall
Available: NOW

The most exciting early Xbox One console exclusive is Titanfall. It is a sci-fi shooter, and it’s not afraid to be grim and serious, with a darker tone than the cross-platform Destiny.

Unusually, there’s no single-player mode in Titanfall, but there will be single player-style story elements weaved into the action to give play more meaning than the average multiplayer blast-fest. It sold 700,000 copies in its first week, but some have criticised it saying it looks like a last-gen game.

9/10 – Read our Titanfall review

PS4 and Xbox One games 1
Dead Rising 3
Available: NOW

Like the previous Dead Rising games, Dead Rising 3 is a third-person action game set around a zombie invasion. Its world is much larger than that of the last two games, though, based in a city rather than a specific location within a city.

It’s not the best showcase for next-gen graphics and it doesn’t have quite the spark of inventiveness seen in the former games. But it’s a launch line-up highlight, and something a little different.

7/10
– Read the full Dead Rising 3 review

PS4 and Xbox One games 3
Forza Motorsport 5
Available: NOW

The game that marks the Xbox One as the racer’s favourite at present, Forza Motorsport 5 is a semi-serious racing game that looks and feels great. Match it with something like the Mad Catz Pro Racing wheel and you’ll be in heaven.

However, it’s not the ultimate racing game, lacking some of the structural brilliance of the last game in the series, Forza 4. Still, for now it’s the best next-gen racer if you don’t want a pure arcade experience.

8/10 – Read the full Forza 5 review


SEE ALSO: Best Xbox One Games

 

Best current PS4 games
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PS4 and Xbox One games 6
Killzone: Shadowfall
Available: NOW
The single notable ‘gamer’s game’ that the PS4 had over the Xbox One at launch was Killzone: Shadowfall. It’s a grim first-person shooter set in the future, and a pretty good way to see what your shiny new console is capable of, compared to the PS3.

It’s not a shooter you’re likely to have fond memories of for years to come, but it’s a good job the PS4 had it to rely on given how many of the console’s other games were pushed back into 2014.

7/10 – Read our full Killzone: Shadow Fall review

PS4 and Xbox One games 5
Infamous: Second Son
Available: NOW
Infamous is a superhero game that’s not tied to a superhero license, and that’s a good thing in this case. You’re not tied to a famous character’s intentions, letting you play the good guy, or the bad guy. And your actions dictate the sort of powers you develop.

In style, it’s similar to the previous Infamous games, giving you an ‘open world’ city in which you can wreak havoc. This is the first major 2014 PS4 exclusive, and it has us a good deal more excited than Killzone: Shadow Fall.

9/10 - Read our full InFamous: Second Son review

SEE ALSO: Best PS4 Games

Best cross-platform games
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PS4 and Xbox One games
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Available: Now

One of the most-anticipated recent games is Call of Duty: Ghosts. It’s a first-person shooter, just like the other games in the series.

If you don’t like the genre, or have been unimpressed with the previous CoD games, it’s unlikely you’ll get on with this one. However, for fans of the series it’s a treat. It’s just not a particularly inventive or dynamic entry in the Call of Duty line. The ‘ghosts’ of the title are a special band of US forces who have to combat a group of terrorists trying to use a galactic superweapon to try and take down the US. It’s also the first Call of Duty game to feature a dog as part of your squad.

7/10 – Read the full Call of Duty: Ghosts review

PS4 and Xbox One games 7
Need for Speed: Rivals
Available: Now

The Need for Speed series has some serious ups and downs, but we’re happy – and surprised – to report that Need for Speed: Rivals is a highlight. As with the other games in the series, it’s an arcade racer rather than one that tries to be in any way realistic.

Its world is open, and it blends multiplayer and single player modes into a single environment for a seamless feel. It’s bags of fun, and the game that ensured neither console was without a good racer at launch.

9/10 – Read the full Need for Speed: Rivals review

PS4 and Xbox One games 2
Destiny
Available: September 2014

Destiny is a ‘new IP’, a game not based on an existing series. People are still extremely excited about it, though, because it’s made by Bungie, the development studio behind the first Halo games.

It’s a science fiction shooter that merges multiplayer and single player play styles – something we’re likely to see an awful lot of this year. What’s getting us more excited, though, is that it looks fantastic and offers grand vistas to explore. This game will come to previous-generation consoles as well as the new guard.

Read more about Destiny

Games – Conclusions

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At present, the Xbox One has a slightly better game line-up, and in the near future it has more significant exclusives. However, the series that came to define console exclusives in the PS3/360 era will remain the same. So if Uncharted means way more to you than Halo ever will, think carefully before dismissing the PS4.

We’ll find out a lot more about the future games coming out for these consoles during E3, which takes place in June.

Further on this feature we’ll look into every bit of each console in depth, but if you want a quicker read, here are the top reasons to buy each console.

There’s a lot more to making this decision. For the rest, go to TrustedReviews.com.

TIME Earnings

Nintendo’s Financial Struggles Continue, Even With Mario Kart 8

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Customers play with Nintendo's videogame console Wii U at an electronics shop in Tokyo on July 30, 2014. Yoshikazu Tsuno—AFP/Getty Images

Even the smash hit Mario Kart 8 doesn’t seem to be able to save Nintendo and its Wii U. The Japanese video game giant posted a loss of 9.92 billion yen ($96.7 million) between April and June, according to its first fiscal quarter earnings report. Nintendo had a profit of 8.62 billion yen ($84 million) during the same period last year.

It’s not a great start to the fiscal year for a company that posted an annual operating loss during its last three. Sales for the company were also down, with revenue of 74.7 billion yen ($728 million) falling 8 percent from last year’s figure of 81.5 billion yen ($794 million).

The Wii U recovered at least somewhat from its disastrous 2013. It sold 510,000 units in the quarter, more than triple the 160,000 it sold during the period last year. Software sales were also way up, mostly thanks to Mario Kart 8, which sold 2.82 million copies and is already the third best-selling Wii U game of all time. But the 3DS, Nintendo’s true moneymaker, is on a precipitous decline, especially in Japan. The handheld gaming device sold just 820,000 units during the quarter, down from 1.4 million during the same quarter last year. Software sales also declined 22 percent to 8.6 million units.

Nintendo is still projecting that it will sell 3.6 million Wii Us and 20 million Wii U games over the fiscal year, while making almost $20 million in profit. That forecast will rest heavily on the performance of Super Smash Bros. Wii U, which is slated to launch in the fall, as well as titles like the Legend of Zelda spinoff Hyrule Warriors.

TIME Video Games

Xbox One Owners Can Now Pay $4.99 Month for EA Games

NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana
NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana (L) walks on stage to join the head of EA Sports Andrew Wilson (R) as they introduce the new EA Sports Madden 13 game with Kinect voice functionality at the Microsoft Xbox E3 2012 media briefing in Los Angeles on June 4, 2012. Robyn Beck—AFP/Getty Images

Only four games are available so far

Electronic Arts is adapting the subscription service model to the video game industry with a new offering for Xbox One. The new service, called EA Access, will allow Xbox One owners to download and play hit EA games for an unlimited amount of time for $4.99 per month or $29.99 per year. A release date was not announced.

Netflix this is not, so far. EA Access will launch with four games: FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2 and Battlefield 4. Combined, the games retail for more than $150, so the offer is a steal if you happen to enjoy some combination of sports games, first-person shooters and puzzlers. EA says more games will be added to the lineup in the future.

In addition to the catalog of older titles, EA Access members will get a 10 percent discount on the digital version of upcoming Xbox One games like Dragon Age Inquisition and NHL 15. Members will also have access to free trials of upcoming games five days before their official release.

Video game makers are keen to get gamers used to buying and downloading games online because they get to avoid manufacturing and distribution costs while often charging just as much as versions sold in brick-and-mortar stores. So far, there’s no word on a PS4 version of EA Access, but Sony is currently rolling out a new service called PlayStation Now that will allow users to stream older games to a variety of Sony devices.

MORE: The History of Video Game Consoles

TIME Video Games

With Firefly Cast Reuniting, Firefly Online Sounds Like the Franchise’s Next Big Thing

The cast of Joss Whedon's fan-loved Firefly will reprise their roles in the upcoming Firefly Online video game.

First you wanted a Firefly movie, and then you got one (and hey, it was pretty good). Then you got a comic — actually several comics, plus a roleplaying game, plus a novelization of the movie. After that, you made your own documentary about the series, and then you went and made an unofficial sequel to the movie that made over $100,000 for five separate charities. How the heck, short of creator Joss Whedon himself announcing another Firefly movie or TV-quel, do you top any of that?

Maybe the cast of the show reuniting, and not for another misty-eyed convention wingding, but as characters you’ll be able to interact with in Quantum Mechanix and Spark Plug Games’ upcoming Firefly Online, due out this summer for PC, Mac, iOS and Android?

Okay, maybe that doesn’t top a series part deux, but then if you’re partial to games over TV shows or movies, perhaps it does. And it’s really happening: i09 reports (via Comic-Con, transpiring now through Sunday) that all of the original Firefly stars will reprise their roles in the game, including Alan Tudyk, which is significant if you’ve seen Serenity. In the game, players captain their own customizable ships, assemble crews, then create jobs for each other while playing through various narratives and exploring a universe with hundreds of visitable worlds.

No pressure, development teams: as one commenter put it to i09, “If this game is bad the developers better prepare for pitchforks and torches outside their office.” Indeed, fandom is fickle, though the appetite for new Firefly content may be enough to help the game over any preliminary rough spots if the underlying concept measures up.

You can check out the game and read more about it at the game’s official website, keepflying.com, and here’s the first gameplay trailer, just released.

TIME Video Games

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Release Bumped Up a Week

October 7 was looking a little crowded. But September 30? Not so much.

+ READ ARTICLE

Warner Bros. and developer Monolith’s upcoming attempt to make you a heroic Nazgul, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, is apparently coming along well enough to earn a rare release date bump: instead of October 7, the game will release on September 30 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, followed on October 2 by the PC version (via Steam).

The game’s PR team says that’s because of “fans’ excitement.” I’m speculating, but I’d wager the more likely reason is that Tuesday, October 7 was a little crowded. On that day, we’ll see major releases like Driveclub (PS4), Alien: Isolation, NBA 2K15 (the latter two for PC, PS3/4 and Xbox 360/One), NBA Live 15 and Project Spark (Xbox One). That, and two days prior, Activision’s Skylanders Trap Team hits. So I’d wager Warner Bros. and Monolith backed up to September 30 because it’s wide open: the only major rival that day is Forza Horizon 2 (Xbox 360/One).

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is about zipping around Tolkien’s “land of shadow” just after Sauron (nee The Necromancer) shows up and wreaks demigodly havoc. You play as Talion, a raised-from-the-dead ranger who can thus tap the same sort of eldritch otherworldly powers the Nazgul could (and since this is a game designed to make you feel ridiculously formidable, plenty more besides).

The twist involves something called the Nemesis System, which is developer Monolith’s way of making its world and the things you encounter in it feel procedural. Each adversary you encounter has unique attributes that feed an elaborate ecology of behaviors, and your encounters ripple through that ecology, changing your relationship to other enemies and ultimately creating your own personalized bosses. Every time you play, that deck reshuffles.

Whether the reshuffling feels lively and organic in the playing or too obviously generic remains to be seen, but expectations are high, as they ought to be, given the level of affection and esteem for Tolkien’s world.

TIME Video Games

Watch the First Trailer for Halo: Nightfall

+ READ ARTICLE

Microsoft released the first trailer for its upcoming live-action digital series Halo: Nightfall.

The series, which is being executive produced by Ridley Scott, will feature a new character named Jameson Locke, who is an agent for the secretive Office of Naval Intelligence. The series will be bundled with Halo: The Master Chief Collection, a compilation of past Halo games that launches this November.

MORE: The History of Video Game Consoles

MONEY Odd Spending

The High Cost of Being A Comic-Con Superfan

Night Elf at Comic-Con
Jessica's Night Elf Rogue outfit won an award at the 2012 San-Diego Comic-Con.

Some fans, known as cosplayers, construct elaborate costumes of their favorite comic characters. The results are amazing, but they don't come cheap.

On Thursday, the San Diego Comic-Con kicked off its 2014 edition. The annual four-day event has grown beyond comics into a geek-culture mecca, attracting fans of everything from superheroes and video games to mainstream network programming.

Of the thousands who descend every year on the San Diego convention center (at $45 a pop per session), most are just looking to meet other enthusiasts and see the latest on their favorite characters. But there’s a large number of fans who want to take their experience a little bit further—from liking a character to becoming it. They’re called cosplayers, enthusiasts who make costumes of their favorite fictional avatars. With costs that can run into the thousands of dollars, these costumes are an artistic and financial testament to the wearer’s love of a particular game or show.

Jessica Al-Khalifah is one of these superfans. She and a friend had gotten into the online role-playing game World of Warcraft and in the process grew attached their virtual avatars. Playing the game was fun, she thought, but what if they could actually be their in-game characters, if just for a day or two?

Lucky for Jessica, there was convention coming up nearby. “We decided we should make some outfits and see what it’s all like,” she says. “It turned out we weren’t so bad at it.”

“Not bad” is an understatement. Jessica’s creation, a Warcraft Night Elf outfit, took four months of on-and-off labor to assemble and involved learning a whole new trade in the process. “I just wanted to make it look really cool, so I said, ‘You know, I think I’ll learn how to leather work,’ ” she recalls. “I hurt my hand a million times.”

The finished product featured ornate leather-and-metal armor, as well as two gigantic painted scythes, and cost roughly $600 by the time she was done. The result was good enough to win her an award at the 2012 San-Diego Comic-Con, but it wasn’t even her most elaborate creation. Another costume, based around the Legend of the Seeker television show, included a leather bodysuit and fiberglass weapon that was electrically engineered to glow. The final materials bill for that one: $1,200.

That kind of price is especially common amongst contest winning outfits. Jen King, owner of Space Cadets Collection Collection, a Texas-based collectibles store, also won a an award at the San-Diego Comic-Con with a Galaxy Quest themed group costume. Jen’s Sarris (the giant green alien) attire cost $500 alone, and her whole group spend more than $4,000. This year, she flew back to Comic-Con to chase another title, this time with her husband and son in tow.

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Jen King’s group costume cost over $4,000, but won Judge’s Choice at the San-Diego Comic-Con.

Luckily for enthusiasts, not all costumes need to break the bank. Lynn Chan and Sarah Bloom have been dressing up as their favorite characters for years, and tend to spend around $200 per outfit. If you’re careful about picking your subject, Lynn says costumes can be made for as low as $30 (sewing machine not included). That said, like any hobby, the costs do add up over time. When asked how much she had spent over her seven years of cosplay, Sarah couldn’t put a figure on it. “Oh god, I don’t even know,” she laughed. “Probably three to four grand?”

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Lynn Chan (left) and Sarah Bloom (right) spend about $200 per costume.

It’s a lot of money, but in the end, each designer says the effort is worth it for the feeling of accomplishment that comes with finishing a great costume. Jessica still remembers how she felt when she won the 2012 contest. Oh my gosh, that was awesome. It was so surreal,” she says. “All my hard work paid off.”

TIME Rumors

Valve Might Have Made Its Steam Controller a Little Less Peculiar

An analog thumbstick would bring Valve's game controller more in line with traditional ones.

Valve’s Steam controller is apparently looking less like a crazy experiment and more like a typical gamepad in a newly-surfaced image.

As discovered by Steam Database, the design shows an analog thumbstick on the left side, which would replace the directional buttons on Valve’s previous design. If the image is legit, the controller would have a pair of round, circular touchpads on either side, though, so Valve wouldn’t totally be backing off its original vision.

Having tried the original Steam Controller prototype at CES in January, I can understand why Valve would make the change.

With something like a first-person shooter, the right touchpad still makes sense as a way to turn and aim, as it kind of feels like moving a mouse on a gaming PC. Compared to a thumbstick, the touchpad allows for more precise aiming–at least in theory.

But for movement, you don’t need precision as much as you need quick action. A thumbstick, much like keyboard controls on a PC, can be quickly thrown in any direction with minimal effort. It doesn’t really matter that the controls aren’t as fine-grained as a mouse or trackpad.

Still, Valve would be making a trade-off: The thumbstick would come in place of directional buttons, which are popular for fighting games and can be useful for old-school platformers.

Valve could have just ditched the left touchpad entirely, but I’m guessing the company would want to keep it around for games that are mainly controlled by cursor, such as strategy games. That way, users could move the cursor with their left thumbs and use their right hands for buttons and triggers.

Besides, if you’re really bothered by the lack of a d-pad and thumbsticks, there are always more traditional controllers instead.

Valve hasn’t said exactly when it will release the controller, along with the first Steam Machine consoles, but it recently pushed the effort back to 2015.

MORE: The History of Video Game Consoles

TIME Video Games

This Is What Batman Might Look Like in a Final Fantasy Game

Japanese artist and game designer Tetsuya Nomura tries his hand at a rendition of Batman we've definitely never seen before.

Tetsuya Nomura, if you don’t know that name, is arguably Japan’s most visible video games character designer, best known for his work on the Final Fantasy games. He’s responsible for some of the most memorable dysmorphic faces, improbable pantaloons, kitchen-cleaver swords and punk-via-bouffant hairdos in gaming history.

And now he’s shown us what he might do were he green-lit to drop DC’s Batman into one of his games. Think Batman by way of Final Fantasy XII‘s Mydia by way of a Battlestar Galactica Cylon.

Square Enix

That’s more than just a concept drawing, too: You might eventually be able to buy this version of Batman, which Nomura apparently designed for DC Comics’ Variant Play Arts Kai action figure line. The figure was revealed in advance of Comic-Con, which kicks off today, July 24 and runs through Sunday, July 27.

Nomura’s going to be at the show autographing postcards on behalf of Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts and DC Comics series Play Arts Kai action figures purchased at the show (you have to buy one to get the autographed postcard — a little gimmicky-sounding, I know).

No word yet on when (or I suppose we need to include the condition if) this claw-winged, crimson-visored version of Batman’s going to be available, but Kotaku says the figure will be on display at Square Enix’s Comic-Con booth through Sunday.

RELATED: Batman Arkham Knight Developer Interview

MORE: The History of Video Game Consoles

TIME Video Games

This Gamer Says He Found His Father’s Ghost in a Game

Video games have been archiving little facets of our selves for years, leading to unexpected encounters like this one.

This one’s a little hard to read, so prepare yourself. But it’s also kind of amazing, and a reminder of just how much gaming — once dismissed as a trivial pastime — is intersecting with people’s lives in utterly nontrivial ways.

Yahoo-based Motoramic reports that a gamer who lost his father when just six years old encountered him again, 10 years later, in a video game they’d played together before the parent died.

The game, RalliSport Challenge, was a 2002 Xbox and Windows racer that among other things allowed players to save their best lap time as “ghosts,” against which other players could race. When this child, now a teenager, decided to have another look at the game a decade later…well, maybe I’d better just let him tell the story, which Motoramic says he did as a comment left in response to a YouTube PBS piece dubbed “Can Video Games Be a Spiritual Experience?“:

Well, when i was 4, my dad bought a trusty XBox. you know, the first, ruggedy, blocky one from 2001. we had tons and tons and tons of fun playing all kinds of games together – until he died, when i was just 6.

i couldnt touch that console for 10 years.

but once i did, i noticed something.

we used to play a racing game, Rally Sports Challenge. actually pretty awesome for the time it came.

and once i started meddling around… i found a GHOST.

literaly.

you know, when a time race happens, that the fastest lap so far gets recorded as a ghost driver? yep, you guessed it – his ghost still rolls around the track today.

and so i played and played, and played, untill i was almost able to beat the ghost. until one day i got ahead of it, i surpassed it, and…

i stopped right in front of the finish line, just to ensure i wouldnt delete it.
Bliss.

I couldn’t locate that comment in the YouTube story, but I was able to track it back to an Imgur capture someone posted to a Reddit thread (a month old — this story isn’t breaking, and the PBS YouTube video ran back in May), which itself contains several moving stories by various users of their interactions with lost loved ones through left-behind, gaming-related experiences.

MORE: The History of Video Game Consoles

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