The dust is starting to settle nearly half a year after the original release, and it’s time to chat a bit about the Playstation 4 and the XBox One. Both are great systems, and both have lots to offer. But for those looking to upgrade to one or the other, what is the go-to system from a gamer’s vantage point? System specs-aside, let’s get down to the customer facing stuff we find important. Games, extras and such. Which is the right system for your needs? Let’s take a look at some of those factors from my personal vantage point as we pit the XBox against the Playstation 4.
I’ve decided to focus more on performance without discussing system specs, and system power which I believe has been dragged through the mud at this point. Realistically, I want to spend more time talking about some of the consumer-based things we find important since realistically, both systems play the games well which is the most important part. To poorly rephase Ivan Drago – “If he game, he game.” Let’s get to it.
On release, this was probably a no brainer. The Playstation 4 was a full $100 less than the XBox One, though it didn’t come bundled with an additional peripheral like the Kinect. You could buy the PS4 camera, but it was going to be an extra $60. Soon after, the sting of the lowering Canadian dollar started to clamp its icy hand down on gaming. The MSRP of games rose with the lowered exchange rate, and with it, the price of the Playstation 4 rose to $449. Now, if you want the Playstation 4 and add the camera onto it, it will be north of $500 taxes out. The XBox One still remains at $499, and recent bundle options (like the Titanfall console) have made it a bit more tempting for people looking to get the most for the least. Neither console to me has the definitive edge based on price alone.
It may seem like a slight win to get that Kinect in the bundle price, but I also the lack of edge on the fact that many XBox gamers (myself included) don’t use their Kinects for much. Granted, titles like Kinect Sports Rivals are slowly giving it some exclusive gaming use, but I’ve found things like voice commands to be not as helpful as I anticipated. While reviewing Trials Fusion the other day, for example, I slipped the term “XBox One” into a discussion with my wife and the Kinect stopped the game and went into voice recognition while I was in the middle of a run (and more importantly, a video recording.)
Price shouldn’t be your deciding factor in the end.
OUTSIDE THE BOX FUNCTIONALITY
Edge: XBox One
This is definitely something that’s going to cater to the crowd looking for the best all-purpose functionality and nothing but. What are you looking for your console to do exactly? Are you just going to have it play games, or do you want it to do much more? If you care about all of those extra-curricular activities, I think the XBox One is the system for you. Not only have I found much more at my fingertips through the XBox One, it’s been much easier to use. The menus are laid out so easily that I rarely have to go digging for things. Though, I do admit, I still don’t understand why I have so much trouble finding out where to input codes. While I think this might be a subtle ploy from Microsoft to encourage the use of the Kinect’s QR code functionality (or the Kinect voice commands in general,) it’s not as simple as it could be. I miss just hitting the guide button and selecting the code interface.
With the Playstation 4, on the other hand, things are a bit tougher to navigate through. This isn’t that surprising to me considering the interface was less friendly on the PS3 vs. the XBox 360 as well. It’s as I said to somebody who once asked me about the PS4’s interface and store layouts – “The things you’re looking for are there in the Playstation Store. You just have to earn your way to finding them.”
The relative ease of which anybody could navigate and get around is why I give the definite edge to the XBox One.
INSIDE THE BOX FUNCTIONALITY
Edge: Playstation 4
This, again to me was a no brainer. If you consider these are gaming consoles, and ergo, “Inside the Box” would mean gaming functionality, the Playstation 4 is better off for my money. Interface aside, I like what the system does with game installations, pausing and dropping and even how it handles software updates. I don’t even feel this is a competition. In fact, if I were faced with non-exclusive titles and we were comparing apples to apples (ie. no system exclusive bonus content,) I would be more likely to purchase them on Playstation 4 than XBox One just because I’m more satisfied as a gamer with how PS4 handles the semantics of how I’m playing the game. The system specs and graphics are close enough for my liking that I’ll take a hit here and there from either console graphically, or from a soundtrack as long as I’m playing the same game in the end. Look at this side by side video that Digital Foundry released using a sequence from Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and judge for yourself. Both of these have advantages in their own merit. I feel the Playstation 4 plays some of the close up details better, while the XBox One tends to a lot of the background details a lot better. This was what I found having played Assassin’s Creed IV on both consoles, and something you see in this video as well.
The edge here goes to the Playstation 4, which is definitely a bit more “impatient gamer” friendly.
Ok, I’m being a tad tongue in cheek here when I say “Neither” in lieu of “Tie” but I’m going to be honest with you – Neither console has that really strong far-reaching exclusive that I would deem THE system seller so far. I was expecting that Titanfall was going to be that centerpiece for the XBox One, but I’m not satisfied that it’s going to be THE voice that triggers millions of console sales.
Infamous: Second Son for the Playstation 4 is an absolute gem and probably the best PS4 exclusive so far, but again, something I don’t feel sells the need to go out and buy the system right now. For my money, I feel that one of the launch titles (either Forza or Dead Rising 3) is the best exclusive for XBox One right now. Forza was so good that I went out and bought it almost right away, and I’m not much of a racing gamer. I just liked it that much.
Truthfully, I actually feel that due to some shrewd re-arranging of dates and smart planning, Nintendo has massacred both Sony and Microsoft in the exclusives department since November. I’m going to catch a bit of flack for bringing them into this argument, but it’s fairly indeniable. Nintendo’s stacked the deck and basically let loose (or will be letting loose) with new games from every staple franchise of theirs except Metroid. Of course, you could argue that they had a fair bit more advance warning too.
Granted, that will only last so long. A lot of great titles are coming down the pipeline in months to come, so eventually, you can bank on both systems having a calling card worthy of purchase. I don’t think we’re there right now, but it’s still pretty early in the game.
SHORT TERM FUTURE
Edge: Playstation 4
I’d say at this point, however, the Playstation 4 has more promise in that department. Delayed, but not forgotten is Driveclub which has to come out eventually. Then you also have the previously announced The Order: 1886 and now the remastered edition of The Last of Us. I’m personally looking forward as well to hearing more about Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture if only because it’s supposed to be a spiritual successor to Dear Esther, one of the most bizarre experiences this side of Myst. Rapture won’t be a console seller but it will be a bit of a draw for the people who liked the predecessor, which sold nearly a million copies.
Not be outdone, shooter fans looking for exclusives should turn to the XBox. Gamers there can anticipate a new Halo game, and the ridiculously amazing looking Sunset Overdrive, a fast paced and good humoured mutant shooter.
Something that trumps just games, however, is Sony’s recent announcement of Project Morpheus, which will be their entry into the VR market. It’s been a long time since we saw a console with an attempted 3D headset add-on (Virtual Boy notwithstanding, I can’t think of anything since the Sega Master System to be honest) but here will be Sony trying to make this the next big thing, which comes at a perfect time with the Oculus Rift continuing to gain steam. No initial ideas on price or release date (outside of the fact that it won’t be in 2014) but I’m sure that with 1080p resolution, and a touted 90 degree field of view, it won’t be that cheap. However, we’ve seen before that just because something’s new doesn’t mean it will be game-breaking or desired. XBox gamers were slow to adopt the Kinect when it came out for the XBox 360, and I think gamers may slowly adopt Project Morpheus too. Still, it’s mere presence and potential gives it this category running away.
My personal opinions at release were simple – I felt like the XBox One was going to be the better dual-purpose multimedia and gaming hub, while I felt the Playstation 4 was going to be the better long term gaming system. My feelings for neither have changed. I still feel like the XBox One puts out a far more superior overall experience, while the Playstation 4 is the system that will suit hardcore gamers better. Having bought both on launch day, I find myself wishing for more of the Playstation 4’s game-based featured on my XBox One than I feel I want the easy interfacing and wide selection of multimedia from the XBox on my Playstation 4. Some of it is because I only need for one console, and some of it is that I feel that the XBox One has the better Graphical User Interface.
I still use both my consoles, and with almost equal personal gaming time (I had to add the word “personal” in there because if I’ve sent a game for review, it’s played on whichever system I was sent it for.) I’m not loyal to either system at this point, and chances are, I might not have a clear choice for a long time. We might have to revisit this again in another year to see where we are because I don’t think either console has enough traction to be the runaway champion at this point.
What about you? Have you gone out and picked up one, or both consoles? Which has been your favourite thus far?