I like to write about video games. All three modern consoles offer a very easy single-button approach to taking screenshots and video during gameplay, and this has made writing about games a lot easier than it used to be.
When I owned a PS4 before the great Firmware Meltdown, it was a tremendous pain to move the raw screenshots and video off of it so I could write about games.
Sony doesn’t really offer any easy way to copy raw files off their system, and that’s frustrating. Neither does Nintendo, though at least they allow me to pop my SD card out of the Switch and insert it in my laptop.
On a PS4 it’s slightly more irritating.
You can share your screencaps to social networks and stream video directly to Twitch, which is nice, I’ll admit. Sony’s dedicated share button was exactly the right guess for where the gaming market was going, and it’s no surprise that the other companies copied it. However, if you go the social media route for accessing screen captures, everything is compressed. Even 4K screens from a PS4 Pro get shrunk down to 1080p JPGs.
If you want to get access to your PS4 screens without sharing them to a social media account and without additional compression, then you’ve got to plug in a USB stick, copy the files over, then plug that stick into something else to get at them. This would be fine…in a world where the internet doesn’t exist.
Over on the Xbox side, all of my screenshots and videos are auto-uploaded to my Microsoft cloud storage, at the same quality they’re stored at on my Xbox, seconds after I save them. I can get to my full resolution captures by opening the Xbox app on my PC or my phone, and simply clicking a download button. It’s super handy to capture a bunch of screens on my Xbox, then swap over to my laptop and download them all and write up an article.
Yes, it’s just one step less of obfuscation, but that’s enough to really add up over time and over a number of gaming articles.
I’m baffled that Sony doesn’t offer quick cloud syncing for captured items on their console. It doesn’t surprise me as much with Nintendo, and again, the expectation on Switch is that you’ll have removable storage in the machine at all times, so it makes a little more sense that they’d be hesitant to build out the infrastructure for this stuff.
When the PS5 launches, Sony needs to step up their game to appeal to content creators and anyone who likes taking a screenshot. Yes, they “Created” the Share button, but I’ve seen the seamless internet integration on the Xbox side and I want that on everything.
If you’re an aspiring content creator, the flexibility of capturing and strong integration with Mixer on the Xbox One makes it a very attractive platform. When I had both consoles I always gravitated towards Xbox screen captures whenever possible just so I wouldn’t have to crawl around near my PS4 shoving USB sticks into it. It’s not 2005 anymore.