With extreme heat waves affecting up to 100 million Americans across the country, it probably needs a little bit of a hold. Staying indoors – with air conditioning or a strong fan and a cold drink – should do the trick. (Just remember to stop occasionally to check on your sick and elderly relatives as well as your pets.)
To stay entertained, many will reach for a video game console to actually escape to another world for a few minutes.
Whether you own a PlayStation 5 (PS5), Xbox Series S/X, or a Nintendo Switch, you’re probably not getting the most out of your favorite console. Thus, in order to “level up” your knowledge of what’s possible, here are dozens of lesser-known features for your gaming system.
Note: When selected, some tips work with more than one device.
Sony PlayStation 5
Built-in microphone: Want to “talk trash” with online friends you compete with? If cash is scarce, you might not know that the PS5 DualSense Wireless Controller has a built-in microphone – allowing you to chat, strategize, or scream online without having to buy anything. To avoid an awkward moment, like your nervous mom bringing you a plate of cookies while you’re playing, players can quickly turn off the audio capture via the console’s mute button. There is also a small speaker on the PS5 console, but it will sound much better if you plug a headphone into the 3.5mm jack.
Get help (not spoilers): To make playing easier for all skill levels, PS5 introduced a new feature called “Game Help” to help players quickly and easily. Compatible with many games (including one of my favorites, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart), players can access hints (and pin them to the side of the screen), watch videos and more – all in-game – to get some help without detection No “spoilers”. While playing the game, press the PS button and in the Control Center select the game card on the left indicated by “Insider Hints” (if this title is supported).
Storage expansion: Now that many gamers are downloading games instead of buying them on plastic, consider adding more storage to your PS5, which you can plug in externally (via USB) or better yet, add a solid state drive (SSD) inside your PS5. your PS5. New this summer from Western Digital and Sony Interactive Entertainment is Western Digital’s WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe SSD for PS5 consoles ($169 per 1 TB), the first officially licensed M.2 SSD for the PlayStation 5 for read and write speeds Ultra-fast and so on. All-in-one heatsink design to keep things cool. The 2TB model costs $279. (Note: Xbox Series S/X and Nintendo Switch also allow you to expand storage.)
Thanks for the (computer) memory! Here’s how to buy the right data storage for your needs
Download games via your smartphone: Many PS5 games today are huge and so it may take a while to download digital games to your PS5. Fortunately, you can start the process and start the download using the PlayStation app on your smartphone or tablet. Just make sure that your console is linked to the app (Settings > Manage Console, in the app) and your PS5 always stays connected (on your console: System > Power Saving > Features Available in Rest Mode > Stay Connected the Internet). Inside the app, you can now select a game and you will see the option to “download to console”.
XBox S / X . series
Transfer games from your Xbox One: If you spent money on Xbox One games a few years ago, there’s no reason why you couldn’t enjoy them on your newer console — and there’s a quick way to do it. Press the Xbox button > My games and apps > Full library > All owned games. While you can download any of these games, transferring them from your old console will be faster. As long as both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network, on Xbox Series S/X, go to Settings > System > Backup & Transfer > Network Transfer then select the option, select your old console, and choose what you want to copy over.
Blu-ray disc playback: Although the plastic may sound outdated, Blu-ray looks and sounds better than streaming services can offer, not to mention all those extras often packed onto disc. Although there is no built-in app on Xbox Series X (there is no optical drive for Xbox Series S), you can still play 4K Blu-ray discs by placing the disc in the tray and you will be prompted to download the app from the Microsoft Store. Those with an audio and video receiver connected should also go to Settings > Devices & Connections > Blu-ray and turn on Let My Receiver Decode Audio.
Use your console elsewhere: Did you know that you can use your Xbox Series S/X controller with your Windows PC or Mac? Or your Android phone, iPhone, iPad, or any other tablet. Even Apple TV. yes. This wireless controller uses Bluetooth technology to pair with other devices and will work with any compatible game – and there are many. When you’re looking for nearby Bluetooth devices on your devices, press the Xbox button in the center of the gamepad so they can be detected and then paired. (Pro tip: Old wired Xbox consoles can be connected to the USB port of a laptop or desktop computer to play games).
Control your Xbox with Google Assistant or Alexa: Finally, you can navigate your Xbox Series S/X using your voice, such as turning the console on and off, playing a specific game, pausing a movie, inviting a friend to play, taking a screenshot, starting a broadcast and… Go to Settings > Devices and Connections > Digital Assistants. Here you can enable your favorite digital assistant and then follow the relevant instructions to start using Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa (Apple’s Siri is not supported).
Use wireless headphones: Sure, there’s a 3.5mm jack on the top right of the Nintendo Switch, but what if you own a pair of wireless earbuds or headphones? No problem, you can pair your favorite headset with the console through its Bluetooth connection. From your home screen, tap on the System Settings icon (which looks a bit like the sun) and then select Bluetooth Audio in the list (near the bottom). Finally, tap Pair Device and look for the headphones listed nearby (which you should first put in Pairing mode as well). And don’t worry: Up to two wireless controllers can also be connected while using Bluetooth audio.
Finding Missing Joy-Con Controllers: If you’ve misplaced the small wireless Joy-Con controllers (or one of them), go to the Controllers icon on the home screen and select Find Controllers. This will bring up a list of currently paired consoles, including any paired Nintendo Switch Pro consoles. Selecting a controller will cause it to vibrate, which may make it easier to locate. (you are welcome.)
Parental Control Application: You may not be familiar with the free Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app, which is available for iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices (or go to p.nintendo.com to find it). Sign into the app with the same Nintendo account on your Nintendo Switch and now you can set a daily limit for playing time (like two or three hours), age restrictions (like not letting your 8-year-old play “adult” rated titles), and track how much time Play for each family member to order and more.
free games: As with Also Available for PS5 and Xbox Series S/X, you can find plenty of free-to-play content on the Nintendo Switch, including several demos available for download at the Nintendo eShop, allowing players to try out some titles before they purchase. Recent free trials include Kirby, Forgotten Land, and Metroid Dread. Demos for Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes and LIVE A LIVE are also available and allow players to transfer their progress to the full game, if purchased.