The backlash to Sony’s latest PS5 announcement gave Xbox the perfect opportunity to score some PR points. The Series X creator didn’t squander it.
To the dismay of PS4 owners, you can’t use your DualShock 4 controller to play PS5 games. The DualShock 4 and officially licensed third-party PS4 controllers will only work on PS5 when playing supported previous-gen games.
Justifying the decision to limit PS5 titles to the DualSense, Sony explained:
We believe that PS5 games should take advantage of the new capabilities and features we’re bringing to the platform, including the features of DualSense wireless controller.
Fans disagreed. As the news spread, disgruntled PS4 owners took to the usual gaming haunts on Reddit and Twitter to voice their discontent.
Sensing an opportunity to hammer home one of the Xbox ecosystem’s advantages, Xbox took to Twitter to take a not so subtle jab at PlayStation:
ICYMI: Xbox Series X is backwards compatible with ALL Xbox One controllers across ALL games
Official Xbox Controllers
Xbox Adaptive Controller
Xbox Elite Wireless Controllers
Indeed, a central pillar of the Xbox next-gen promotional campaign has focused on not penalizing players who don’t immediately transition to the Xbox Series X.
Watch Now: Microsoft Lays Out Free Next-Gen Upgrade Path
This approach involves ensuring peripherals – including controllers – remain compatible across both generations, no matter what game you’re playing.
Additionally, Microsoft plans to launch a majority of titles on both Xbox One and Xbox Series X for at least two years. (Even if recent news suggests this may not be the case for as many games as initially expected.)
On the one hand, the disparate approaches to controller compatibility link back to the introduction of innovative features. Or the lack of innovative features.
Sony alleges the DualSense is such a leap forward that it would do gamers a disservice to let them play PS5 games on last-gen hardware.
On the other, Microsoft saw a chance to draw blood – and didn’t hesitate. So much for Xbox boss Phil Spencer calling for an end to the so-called “console wars.”