With the top dogs in console gaming out this month, have you decided which one to get yet: Xbox One or PlayStation 4?
We’ll help you decide which is better by peeking inside both consoles, as much as inside you—what kind of a gamer you are—to know which one packs a better deal. We’ve even prepared a simple guide that can fine tune your decision.
But first, should you even upgrade or buy the latest console at all? We can think of four enough reasons and they all lead to upping the ante in your game console experience.
If you’re a core gamer, you’ll love how FIFA and Madden NFL 25 come even more alive with detailed captured motion graphics. Gareth Bale of Real Madrid even looks and moves like him, even as you think you recognize some people in the crowd waving flags. Both consoles use a combination of powerful CPU, GPU, and core system memory, allowing a resolution that rivals HDTVs.
This year is a milestone for motion-capture control, as Kinect and PlayStation Eye introduce more accurate capture capabilities and facial recognition and more game titles are in the offing. It’s like buying the second-generation, higher-res phone cameras a decade ago. Suddenly, the upgraded camera feature was really useful. Motion capture games are now a mainstream experience, rather than a trivial, novelty distraction during Wii’s time.
Credit goes to Microsoft here. They are silently drilling down the ground for a solid foundation on the future of home entertainment. Xbox One is bringing home not just the bacon of gaming experience, but a slew of condiments and extra fillings with cable, video and chat entertainment. It seems Microsoft has seen the future (or looked back on how it dominated the home and business computing industry) and the console will be at the core when we want to access news, movies, social networks and, yes, games.
If you love cloud gaming in Xbox Live or PlayStation Network, you need to follow the herd. Both consoles are projected to sell 87 million units in combined sales by 2017, based on the projection by Colorado-based IHS, a leading global information company. Even if you’re a casual or first-time gamer, buying the latest console give you the chance to play the latest and usually better games and huddle with the best gamers if your goal is to be among them. To put it in perspective, don’t attend an empty party when the crowd has moved on to the next one.
We’ve laid down various types of gamers that you’re likely to fall under. You can be categorized under all types or just a couple of them, depending on your gaming priorities (keep in mind that one type of gamer is just a part of you). For each type of gamer, either an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 is better and you award the better console a point. Choose which types of gamers you are and see which console gets the most points, which we recommend you buy.
This guide can help both core and casual gamers identify their priorities in gaming, and which of these priorities are best met by either of the consoles.
If you love details and more realistic graphics in your game, PS4 has the edge. Its graphics processor is said to be fifty percent more powerful, using 1152 shader processor compared to Xbox One’s 768. Furthermore, PS4 features a better RAM (GDDR5) than Xbox One’s DDR3. This means that PS4 can perform multiple tasks better, which in gaming means more defined visuals and smoother actions.
It’s not to say Xbox One’s graphics are inferior; they’re impressive as well. In fact, the difference may not be discernible to a non-gamer. But if you love graphics so much, you can appreciate better realism in first-person shooter titles—blood splattering and disconnected limbs are gorier—and sports games, where your real sports heroes come alive and under your control.
If you demand better graphics above all, one point: PS4
While many games are shared between consoles, some exciting ones are exclusives. If having more exclusive titles to play is important to you, PS4 is again the winner. It has an edge with its roster of over a dozen game studios dedicated to publish PS4-only titles. Killzone, LittleBigPlanet, and Grand Turismo series are just a few of popular PS4 exclusives. With top game publishers, Naughty Dog (Unchartered), Quantic Dream and Media Molecule, in Sony’s fold, Microsoft is finding it hard to match PS4’s depth and breadth in game exclusivity.
Tied up to this is Sony’s support of the indie game developer niche. Some of the better indie games are played in PS4 than in Xbox, including: Flower, The Unfinished Swan, and Journey. Expect more exciting games from small game publishers, such as Jonathan Blow, Octodad, and Rime.
If you prefer a range of exclusive games above all, one point: PS4
But there’s a caveat. If you’re a first-person shooter and a die-hard fan of Halo, then you’re better off with Xbox One, which promises to release Halo 5 soon. The game is exclusive to Xbox and a dealmaker, too. It’s one of those killer games that alone is enough to convince some people to buy a console, much like buying a PC just for MS Word.
If you prefer Halo above all exclusives, one point: Xbox One
It’s a hundred dollar difference, enough to buy you some more game titles or peripherals. PS4 sells at around $399, while Xbox One is at $499. But the box price is not telling us the whole story. Xbox One has the Kinect, while PlayStation Eye is sold separately. Even then, PlayStation Eye sells about $60, so a bundle of PS4 with the motion capture device is still cheaper than Xbox One. Plus, the Kinect bundle can turn people off, reminding them of a time when Microsoft unabashedly used to force its peripheral products down their throats.
If you just want to buy the less expensive console or hate it when you’re forced to buy accessories, one point: PS4
As for deals, Xbox One has a first-base advantage when game retailer ShopTo announced it’s offering a Battlefield 4 bundle with Xbox One for $489 with some more freebies throw in. It’s still expensive relative to PS4, which is almost quiet about bundles and deals given that its console is already seen as a win by price hunters. However, PS4 has plenty of its games being offered at a discount or bundle on Black Friday, as announced by giant retailers, such as Walmart, Target, and Best Buy.
If you’re looking for value-for-money bundles on the console itself, one point: Xbox One.
If you’re looking for value-for-money bundles on game titles, one point: PS4
The cloud belongs to Xbox One if we talk about extra features such as, online chats, option to integrate television, stream videos and music, all while you’re playing. Besides, Xbox Live’s multiple cloud features benefit immensely from Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure and computing power, namely the seven hundred million data center put up exclusively for Xbox One and Office 365. Plus, PS4 has a lot of catching up to do if it wants to put a semblance of Xbox Live friends list built up by Xbox gamers over the last seven or eight years.
But aren’t consoles designed for gaming? PS4 advocates argue. They’re absolutely right, at least as far as when mobile phones were last seen as for shooting away calls and texts, not pictures or tweets. We may be witnessing a technological disruption in the magnitude of the war between mobile phones and point-and-shoot cameras some years ago.
If social media and other entertainment uses for your console are more enticing than the number of online games, free or paid, you can play in the cloud, one point: Xbox One.
Meantime, Playstation Network Plus is not only cheaper at $50 for one year versus Xbox Live at $60; many games are free to play even if you unsubscribe from the network, whereas, Xbox One is not known to offer much free games, much less free new games. Xbox One users have to subscribe to Live to enjoy online gaming and the extra features.
Besides, Playstation Network Plus offers hundreds of new games once you subscribe, including even free games for PS3 and PS Vita, Sony’s gaming handheld. You enjoy a lot of freebies, too, such as: full game trials; auto downloads for demo games; game updates; and beta tests.
Moreover, if you’re an old gamer you can revisit your favorite nostalgic games in Playstation Network, such as Tomb Raider, Ape Escape, Crash Bandicoot, and Tekken 2.
If you plan to use the console to access as many online games as you can at a minimal price, even for free, one point: PS4.
Graphics aside, which PS4 has won hands down in item number one, it’s almost a tossup between the two consoles when it comes to giving you, not just new, but an innovative feature.
Xbox has a more exciting motion capture on the strength of Kinect. It’s more advanced than PlayStation Eye (which is sold separately, system not included)—you can even shout commands now!
More importantly, Kinect enjoys a wider range of game titles; on top of its twenty titles, six more motion games are in the pipeline by next year. Meantime, PlayStation Eye struggles to get a nod from developers.
But PS4 has something up its sleeves: remote play. You can stream via wifi or broadband PS4 games into your PS Vita. PS4 adjusts the games to fit the lower-resolution Vita screen. This means you can play a game when you can only manage to hold a Vita rather than face a flat screen. We can think of a lot of scenarios for this, namely three main practical uses: when you’re about to sleep lying in your bed but wish to play one last game; when someone is using the flat screen; or when you’re right there in the john contemplating your every move.
As for the console controller, body design, and other minor features, the differences are not that stark, as much as they’ve been “upgraded” just for the sake of looking new.
It’s a tossup—
If you want Kinect, one point: Xbox One.
If you want remote play, one point: PS4
The clear winner here is Xbox One. Microsoft has unveiled a solid strategy to dominate home entertainment the way the software giant is enjoying a strong grip around home and business computing. It is partnering with top content publishers and distributors outside of the gaming industry, such as Netflix, Xfinity, Verizon, Fios, Comcast, and NFL, to fuse cable, movies, gaming, and the internet into one core, easy-to-access console: Xbox One.
The software giant might have been bumped off in the smartphone and search engine race, but its biggest revenge may echo yet again Bill Gate’s dream with a twist: “a console in every home.”
Microsoft is betting that we’ll soon be getting our news, watching our favorite movies and television series and even chatting in our social networks using the console. Sony is not even in the picture in this far-reaching, world-domination level tectonic shift.
The only problem that we anticipate is some family friction—what if junior is playing Call of Duty and you want to watch The Waking Dead.
If you like the idea of having all your entertainment content in one console, one point: Xbox.
With a slew of press releases from both Sony and Microsoft to push their consoles and contrasting reviews coming from both Xbox One and PS4 fans, it’s harder to address the nagging question: which is better? With the guidelines above, we hope you finally get some answers. After all, they are your answers.
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