With the launch of the next generation of gaming consoles in the coming weeks, the biggest question still remains for those looking to join in on the action: should you get Sony’s PlayStation 4, or Microsoft’s Xbox One?
I normally tell people who ask me this question to not be negligible to either console and to embrace both to get as many gaming experiences as possible, but with the PS4 costing $400 and the Xbox One costing $500, affording both is an uncommon luxury, so I’m going to break down each next-generation console and determine which deserves your purchase.
When the PS4 and Xbox One were revealed earlier this year, both took different directions with their messaging.
The PS4’s message was that it is the system for gamers, and while they still offered services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, this was a console made specifically with games in mind.
When Sony revealed its new console, company representatives came out with a humble message. They talked about how they took the complaints and wishes of the previous console from gamers and used those comments to shape the way their new console was made.
The PS3 controller was often ridiculed for being too small and not as comfortable as their competitor’s offerings. One of the first reveals was the brand new controller for the PS4, which was larger in size and had significant improvements in overall design and comfort.
Xbox One’s message was that it wasn’t only just a device for games, but every form of entertainment bundled into one device, which ultimately inspired its namesake. The console features an HDMI in port which will allow those with cable to switch between watching live TV and playing a video game instantly.
The Xbox One comes packed in with the Kinect sensor, which tracks your body motions, hears your voice commands, and can now even track your heart beat. This addition may seem interesting, and it is, but the main concern is will game developers even adopt the Kinect in their games to warrant the additional price tag?
The Kinect made its debut on Microsoft’s previous console, the Xbox 360, and while it sold moderately well, the overall reaction was lukewarm at best. Outside of family friendly games and shoe-horned integration into other titles, the Kinect was never pushed to its supposed potential.
For a console that will always have Kinect bundled in the box, telling – not showing – gamers why they need it is a red flag to me. Having the Kinect bundled inside with the Xbox One is what makes Microsoft’s console $100 more expensive than the PS4. While PS4 has its own camera sensor simply called the “Playstation Camera,” it isn’t included in the box, and it will set you back $60.
It’s a less powerful sensor than the Kinect, but Sony says its primary use will be to capture footage of gamers who wish to broadcast their gaming over the internet, which both consoles have the ability to do.
Both consoles are almost identical under the hood, but the PS4 does have the slight edge in power over the Xbox One. While titles releasing on both systems will look almost identical, it’s the first-party exclusive titles that will ultimately show the most parity as this console generation goes on.
Both consoles have solid looking games coming launch day, where Xbox One’s most popular are “Dead Rising 3,” “Ryse: Son of Rome,” and “Forza Motorsport 5,” the PS4 leads its launch with “Killzone: Shadow Fall,” “Knack,” and a large abundance of indie titles and free-to-play games.
Next year, Xbox One has a new title, “Titanfall,” which has won multiple awards at video game expos, as well as Xbox’s most popular franchise, “Halo”, which enters the fold in fall 2014 with “Halo 5.”
In early 2014, PS4 has “Infamous: Second Son,” “The Order: 1886,” “Deep Down,” and “Driveclub.”
Outside of Xbox One’s two big titles next year, the outlook for more Xbox One exclusive titles looks bleak. Most of Xbox’s personal studios have already revealed their games, and most of PlayStation’s studios haven’t even revealed what they’re working on yet.
When comparing game libraries at launch, both consoles seem to be on par with each other; however, it should be noted that Sony hasn’t revealed their most popular franchises for their next console. Series like “Uncharted,” “God of War,” and “The Last of Us” are noticeably absent, which could be huge announcements for Sony down the road.
It’s almost impossible to predict what console will succeed the most. The PlayStation 2 became the best-selling console of all time and embarrassed the first Xbox in terms of sales, but the PlayStation 3 took multiple years to catch up to the Xbox 360, only just recently tying in worldwide hardware sales.
Looking at the momentum heading into this new generation, I’d have to recommend the PS4 over the Xbox One, because the PS4 is more predictable, affordable, and filled with plentiful games of various genres. Xbox One could prove my recommendation wrong, but if the Kinect doesn’t take off like Microsoft thinks it can, it could cause the console to fall behind its competition.
Either console will be a good investment, but it seems like the PS4 is the smartest investment to make at this time.