Late last year, Sony and Microsoft officially entered the latest console generation with their newly released PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. We take a look at the similarities and differences of this new batch of consoles.
The Sony PlayStation 4 was accounted on February 20, 2013 and released on November 15, 2013 in North America with a price tag of $399 USD. In the box you get the PlayStation 4 console with 500GB hard drive, the new DUALSHOCK 4 controller, HDMI cable, power cable, headset, PlayStation+ 30 day trial, Music Unlimited 30 day trial, and $10 USD coupon for the PlayStation Store. The new slanted slimline design is able to sit both horizontally and vertically– a design feature that has carried on since the PlayStation 2. A new light bar on top of the console running from the front to the back glows blue when the console is on, amber when in standby mode, and no light when the console is powered off. Within the PlayStation 4 console you’ll find a dual quad core 1.6 Ghz CPU, 8 Ghz GDDR5 RAM, and a 1.84 TFLOP GPU.
The Microsoft Xbox One was accounted on May 23, 2013 and released on November 22, 2013 in North America with a price tag of $499 USD. In the box you get the Xbox One console with 500GB hard drive, controller, HDMI cable, power cable, headset, one month subscription to Xbox Live, and newly updated Kinect which allows for motion and speech controls. The new minimalistic rectangular design of the console is made to symbolize the new tile interface of the Xbox One dashboard. The Xbox One can stand both horizontally and vertically like its predecessor, the Xbox 360. The deep rich black color of the console known as “liquid black” was developed specially for the console. Within the Xbox One console you’ll find a dual quad core over clocked 1.75 Ghz CPU, 8 Ghz GDDR3 RAM, and a 1.31 TFLOP GPU.
The new next generation controllers that both Sony and Microsoft are offering have several improvements over their predecessors, and noticeable differences between each other.
The new Sony DUALSHOCK 4 controller is the first major redesign of the DUALSHOCK controller since it was first introduced in 1997 for the original PlayStation. The new controller still has many of the same features of its predecessors, in terms of overall shape, and also includes built in rechargeable battery. The new controller is slightly larger and now incorporates a multitouch-touchpad as well as a built-in speaker and headset input. The DUALSHOCK 4 also features a new light bar on the front of the controller. This new light bar allows the PlayStation 4 to track the placement of the controller in a room. If a controller is passed to another player the PS4 can automatically adjust the ordering of split screen so that it makes sense for each player in the room. The buttons have all been improved, triggers have greater sensitivity and buttons are now shorter. The traditional Start and Select buttons have now been replaced by the Options and Share buttons. The options button essentially acts as a Start button, while the Share button allows gamers to record screen shots or video of gameplay and share it instantly throughout various social media outlets. Overall, the new DUALSHOCK 4 continues Sony’s legacy of delivering top notch control. With significant improvements over its predecessors, this is a welcomed evolution.
With a reported development cost of $100 million USD the new Xbox One controller takes the best of the Xbox 360 controller and has added 40 improvements. The ergonomics of the controller were significantly upgraded. The controller features a new screw less design has a recessed battery compartment for AA battery’s or rechargeable battery pack. Thumbsticks are now slightly smaller and are ribbed around the outside of the stick for increased grip and precision. The D-pad is shorter and closer to the motherboard, which allows for more precise control. Menu and View buttons replace Back & Start which at this point act essentially the same. The A, B, X, and Y buttons are now shorter and closer together for smooth and fast interactions. The buttons themselves are stunning, made in clear resin with the letters floating inside. Another innovative improvement is the addition of rumble motors in the triggers, this adds a new layer of feedback. For example, in a racing game you’ll feel on the right trigger if the right side of the car is off the track. The controller can now act as a wired controller when a micro USB cable is connected between the console and controller, beneficial for competitive gamers who no longer need to buy a wired controller for tournament play. On the front of the controller you’ll find Infrared LEDs which allow the Xbox to identify who is holding the controller and automatically log into that user’s profile. If the controller is swapped with another player, the console will switch automatically to that users profile seamlessly. The Xbox One controller has a similar look and feel that many core gamers with be instantly familiar with.
The new user interface of the PlayStation 4 has been stripped down and simplified. Your most recently played games and applications are displayed in order that they were last used. Highlighting game icons brings up all the pertinent information to that game such as your completed trophies, downloadable content and community updates. The PlayStation 4 will also run popular applications like Netflix and HULU. The PlayStation 4 can be paired with an Android or iOS device to navigate messages, the PlayStation store and used for second screen. The console can also be paired with the PlayStation Vita to directly stream video or gameplay directly, giving the user the ability to play games, or watch movies from another room.
The Xbox One user interface is a combination between the Xbox 360 UI and Windows 8. Since the Xbox One is running a modified version of the Windows 8 operating system, you’ll notice a similar tile-like graphical layout. The included Kinect sensor picks up on facial recognition and will automatically recognize users and log them into their profiles. The Kinect sensor also picks up on motion and gesture controls to allow users to operate the console without the use of controllers. The Xbox One also has several new multimedia features. Gameplay can now be recorded and shared among other Xbox users. Applications like Netflix, YouTube and Hulu are all available, new additions like Skype allow for video calling on your television, and the inclusion of a video input allow for cable and satellite signals to be plugged directly into the Xbox for seamless swapping between gaming, applications, or television viewing. A new snap feature allows for multiple applications to run at the same time, you’ll be able to watch a movie and browse the internet from the same screen. You can also pair the Xbox One with a Windows Tablet or Phone, iOS and Android devices through an application called Smart Glass. Smart Glass allows users to control the console’s menus, manage messages, and operate as a second screen which displays additional content from the game or application that is running.
With the home console generation entering its 8th cycle, we’re starting to see striking similarities. As a result, choosing the right one for you becomes increasing difficult. Both consoles boast similar hardware and share the major multiplatform game released. Both consoles have their own pay for play online services. The PlayStation Network ($49.99 USD) allows users to access online multiplayer for the PS4, cloud store game saves, offers discounts on the PlayStation Store, and an instant game collection which offers users free game titles every month for as long as you remain a member. Xbox Live ($59.99 USD) allows users access to online multiplayer, multimedia applications like Skype, Netflix and Hulu, Internet Explorer and exclusive deals on content. It’s important to note that the PlayStation does not require a PlayStation Plus membership to access multimedia applications which is a big advantage if you don’t plan on joining an online service. The core of the Xbox One is its multitasking and multimedia functionality. Microsoft wants the Xbox One to be the go to entertainment device, you can effortlessly switch between playing a game, watching movies, listening to music, browsing the internet, Skype, and watching television. The PlayStation 4 focusses on the social aspect of gaming, allowing users to create and share content between other gamers.
When determining which console is the right one for you, there are a few things to consider. The PlayStation 4 has a lower price tag, the controller does not require extra batteries, nor do you require an online membership to access popular applications. Its online subscription service is also less expensive and includes free games for your PS4, PS3 and PS Vita. The Xbox One boasts its enhanced multimedia functionality, and is aimed to be the heart of your home entrainment system. Major multiplatform releases will be optimized for both consoles, and will likely show very little difference graphically between consoles. Exclusive console releases is what really sets the consoles apart. PlayStation console exclusives like Killzone, Uncharted, and Infamous in contrast to games like Halo, Fable, Dead Rising and Forza which will be available exclusively on the Xbox One. At the end of the day there is no wrong choice, you have to determine what features speak to you more. Sony’s social gaming experience vs Microsoft’s multimedia gaming experience, both consoles are fantastic and this is the only the beginning of the greatest console generation yet.