With the initial frenzy and hype for the launch of these two consoles now died down and being widely available to buy once more, the big question put in front of you is, which do I buy? We aim to take a look at the pros and cons for both and give you an idea of where to put your money for the best gaming experience.
Sales to Date
Both consoles launched with all the usual hype, leading to demand much out weighing supply. This led to most people not being able to get their hands on a console until January 2014, which is now common place in tech launch days. Both Sony and Microsoft reported over one million units of their console being sold on launch day. This doesn't give much insight into who is doing best. If you look at the latest sales figures released, Microsoft say the Xbox One has sold 3.9 million units. This compares to Sony, who released sales figures on 4.2 million units. That's a difference of only 300,000, so not a lot to compare here. Both companies, unsurprisingly, are predicting increased sales will continue for a time to come.
The basic Xbox One unit has been priced at £429 and the PlayStation 4 at £349. That's quite a difference in starting prices, but what do you actually get for your money? Both come with the basics to get you started – console, power cable, HDMI cable, controller and a headset. The Xbox comes with the Kinect 2 bar; the PlayStation's alternative Camera is going to cost around £55. The question over both of these additional devices is will I use them? Only time will tell, but at least there is an option to buy at a later date with the PS4, whereas you have to pay the extra regardless with the Xbox.
Both machines launched with a poor variety of games. Since the launch the games released have been very similar. This does not look likely to change at the moment, with only the Xbox being able to boast Halo above anything the PlayStation will release.
A big problem with the PlayStation 3 was the price of the software needed to develop games for the machine. This meant that games were proving costly to develop compared to the Xbox 360. Sony has identified this as an issue and has been affectively lending out the software to developers in the hope of more games being developed for their machine. Microsoft has not changed their policy on this and do not divulge the cost of their software. Sony's approach may prove a long term winner, but we will have to wait and see.
Neither machine is backward compatible, so you cannot play your old favourites whilst waiting for the big game launch. However, Sony did reveal at launch a cloud gaming facility streaming older games, called PlayStation Now. With the release in the US expected in the summer, everyone will have to wait and see how this will work.
The Console Itself
Both machines are of higher spec than their predecessors, as you would expect. Side by side they look familiar – same storage, both have Blu-Ray drives, both have Wi-Fi. However, the raw power of the PlayStation, combined with its superior graphics capabilities, put the Xbox behind the PlayStation. The big question is whether developers will take advantage of this extra power and release superior games on the PlayStation. Only time will tell, but history does show that developers do not always take advantage of extra power.
Microsoft established with the Xbox 360 their online service known as Xbox Live. This required a monthly subscription and proved fairly successful. Sony, on the other hand offered this service free with the PlayStation 3. Microsoft will continue to provide the Xbox Live service with the Xbox One. Sony has introduced PlayStation Plus, which has an annual cost of £39.99 to match that of Xbox Live.
Both have their own unique setup and PlayStation users will argue they prefer their system and Xbox users will argue they prefer theirs. It really comes down to what the user prefers. The addition of Social Media uploading will appeal to some, but gamers will want to play the games and not necessarily want to post on their Social Media account about progress. Therefore, many people see this as a useless gimmick.
The Kinect 2 does give the Xbox an advantage here. The hands free and voice activation system are a large plus and it appears this is the way the technology is going. However, this is a games machine and modern televisions come with these types of features anyway. A games machine is what most people will want, so the additions will be seen as a gimmick, especially after the initial usage has worn off.
You have to say both machines are very evenly matched and both look excellent. Sony appears to have gone down the more direct gaming route and Microsoft have gone out to produce an all round machine. The initial teething problems of the Xbox may well have put some off, especially taking sales figures into account – albeit not by much.
All that said a gamer will want a games machine. This seems to be what Sony, with the PlayStation 4, has produced. The power, the thought behind development, the simplicity, it all gives the PlayStation 4 the advantage. That is not to take anything away from the Xbox One, which is shaping up to be an excellent machine, but there are too many “fussy” items which would put many off. With this in mind the PlayStation 4 comes out just on top.
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