PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the highly anticipated next-generation gaming consoles, are finally on their way; Sony's entry even launches sales at midnight Thursday. If you know an avid gamer or even an interested amateur, one of these consoles could very well be on your shopping list this holiday season. Though similar in some aspects, the PS4 and Xbox One offer different gaming experiences -- knowing the facts about each will enable you to make the right choice.
The PS4 and Xbox One will cost $399.99 and $499.99, respectively, and for those prices each console comes equipped with 500 GB of internal storage. Since most new games take up 40 to 50 GBS of memory (not counting downloadable content), you could potentially run out of space if you install 10 to 12 games on your console. Getting extra storage is going to be a necessity for either console.
PS4 only gives users the option of swapping out its standard hard drive with one that meets specific criteria, but Xbox One will support external hard drives.
Both consoles will use Blu-ray media for their games, but you won’t be able to play your previous-Gen games in your new console due to backward compatibility issues. Microsoft tried to correct that issue by enabling the Xbox One to connect to any other HDMI device — even the PS 4. That means you’ll be able to play older games by connecting to the Xbox One and easily “snapping” other windows to your main display.
New controllers are bundled with the new systems. Xbox One’s controller is a big enhancement from the 360 with redesigned grips and greater vibration feedback. The new controller will even know the identity of its user by touch, with the help of Xbox Kinect.
PS4’s controller also boasts new features. Gamers will recognize the beloved PS controller buttons, but the DualShock 4 includes a touch panel that enables users to navigate the system with a finger swipe. The touch panel can also be pinched to zoom in and out of the display, as you would on a smartphone or tablet.
PS4 and Xbox One use similar internal hardware, but the PS4’s additional processors give it a big edge over its competitor. On the PS4, you’ll see more fluid action and have a better appreciation for the environmental details thanks to the extra processors. Game developers have speculated that the PS4 is 50 percent faster than the Xbox One — if developers are more excited about the PS4, that could portend a future of higher-quality games on PlayStation than Xbox.
Expect the PS4 to edge out Xbox One again in regards to number of launch titles. But if quality trumps quantity, the Xbox may entice you with its list of exclusive games, including "Killer Instinct" and the fifth installments of "Halo" and "Forza Motorsport." PS4 hopes to make up ground with "Killzone: Shadow Fall" and "MLB 14: The Show," but it seems like Xbox One has more anticipated games.
As with the previous systems, you’ll be able to connect Xbox One and PS4 to the Internet to access a wide range of features. Of course, to access these features you’ll need to pay from the start. $59.99 will buy Xbox One users a year subscription to Xbox Live Gold and $49.99 will buy PS4 users a year of PlayStation Plus -- each subscription allows consumers to play games online and use various streaming video apps. Netflix and Hulu Plus will be available to PS4 users without PS Plus, but the Xbox One won’t run such apps without payment. However, Xbox One users will be able to use Skype to make video calls and it’s unclear whether PS4 will offer that feature.
Ultimately, though the PS4 is the more powerful system, you're probably better off going with the Xbox One. Granted, the PS4 boasts some impressive specs, but the Xbox One will be the better system in the long run.
Xbox One will basically cost $110 more than PS4, but that comes with significant advantages. The Xbox 360’s controller was harshly criticized due to its inhibitive controls, and Microsoft has clearly listened to the feedback of its consumers with the redesigned controller. PS4 only offers the same basic controller design with the inclusion of a seemingly futile touch pad.
While it's true that Xbox Live won't operate much without a valid subscription, Xbox's online capabilities (like multiplayer gaming and video chatting) far surpass those of the PS4
The PS4 launch titles are a bit uninspiring. It’ll probably be a while before you get the chance to play Grand Theft Auto VI or Resident Evil 7, meanwhile Xbox gamers will get the chance to play newer versions of their favorite games sooner.
You will need to get extra storage for your console and if you don’t want to open your PS4 and risk damaging it in an attempt to install another one, you're better off with the Xbox One. It's much easier to upgrade thanks to the external storage option.
If you give either console to someone this Christmas, they will certainly be grateful — but they'll likely smile just a bit wider with the new Xbox because gamers will get to spend more time enjoying their new (and old) games.