Microsoft and Sony are campaigning for your money like two Presidential candidates in the final days of an election year. If you think you’ve heard a lot about the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One before now, just wait for the final, holiday season push.
As with a lot of candidates in our two-party political system, the differences are arguably negligible. The basic functionality of each system won’t be that dissimilar, especially now that Microsoft has backed off on their DRM issue, which would have eliminated used games on the Xbox One market and probably destroyed the system’s financial potential given so many gamers reliance on sharing and buying/selling used titles. (Check out the full list of PS4 specs here.)
With that issue out of the way, neither system being backwards compatible, both systems having Blu-ray functionality, and both companies still pushing their motion control (although the One comes with a Kinect while PS4 users will have to buy a Move), there’s really not that much to separate them. So it comes down to the details. The little things. Here are five of them.
Image © Sony
It’s real simple – the PS4 is $100 cheaper, priced at $399 in its most basic form (500GB, no game bundled in at launch) as opposed to $499 for the Microsoft system. It may sound minor but when the system’s overall functionality is this similar, cost needs to be considered. Both systems are essentially starting from day one in that neither will be backwards compatible. And so your current PS3 or Xbox 360 libraries won’t matter (although those of you who bought a few PSN titles – “Flower” & “Sound Shapes
” to start, with reportedly more to come – will be able to download to your PS4 free of charge, complete with upgraded graphics.) Starting fresh, you have to ask yourself if you want to pay $100 for a Kinect, which is essentially the price difference in the two systems. RAM capability is similar, HD space is the same, launch line-ups are close – you’re paying 100 bucks for Kinect. Your call.
While the PS4 launch line-up has been depressingly shrunken over the last few months as “Watch Dogs” and “DriveClub” have been pushed out of the launch window, one still needs to look at the first 6-9 months of releases to see that Sony has a stronger first year planned than Microsoft. Yes, the Xbox One will be the only console to play the very-cool-looking “Titanfall” but that’s balanced out by the incredible footage we’ve seen from “Killzone: Shadow Fall
,” the game that Sony is pinning their system launch on (it will be only that, “Knack,” and “Resogun,” along with about 15 third-party titles like “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag,” “Madden NFL 25
,” and “Call of Duty Ghosts”.) So then one must look beyond the launch window. What we’ve seen from “Infamous: Second Son
” and “Order 1866” looks absolutely amazing and they’ll be out in just a few months. Add to that the assumption that some major Sony franchises will surely come to the PS4 – “Uncharted 4,” “Resistance 4,” “God of War 4” – and the war is won. Sure, an Xbone “Halo” will be cool but Sony’s exclusives have simply outranked Microsoft’s in the last few years and that seems unlikely to change in the next generation. Check out the full game list here
Image © Ubisoft
Here’s the controversial one. Over the past few weeks, as more and more people have gotten their hands on the systems, there have been rumors, supported by video, that the PS4 simply looks better. The stats support it too. “Call of Duty: Ghosts” will run at 720p on the Xbox One and 1080p on the PS4. “Battlefield 4” will run at 900p native on the PS4 and 720p on the Xbox One (although both will be upscaled to 1080p). Does it really matter? It’s hard to say. It’s not a comparison of the caliber of looking at a game on a souped-up PC rig as opposed to a PS3 but it’s there and it’s a story that’s growing every day as more and more people get their hands on the systems. It’s reportedly something that will work itself out over the next six months to the point that developers think they’ll be similar but with third parties reporting in the launch month that their games look better on the PS4, it’s something to keep in mind if you’re going to be an early adopter.
Image © Sony
Silly, right? Or is it? A lot of modern gamers have aesthetically pleasing entertainment systems and living room set-ups. Gone are the days of Neo wannabes in their basements with so little light that it doesn’t matter how the system looks. And even in those days, many people credited the visual draw of the PS2 as really helping its sales. The fact is that the PS4 looks sleeker and more impressive than the clunky Xbox One. There’s no denying it. You want a system that looks next-gen or one that looks like a box? It’s up to you if that matters.
5. CalendarThis item obviously has a shelf life, but you know what we mean: You can get a PS4 now (as of publication date). Now, now, now! It’s so petty and may not matter but think about the press and buzz that will build in the time before the Xbox One. By the time you get to “Titanfall,” people will be ranking up to the top in “Shadow Fall” and checking out the upgraded “Sound Shapes.” In our commercial world, sometimes being first is more important than you think.