Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One are now both in stores. The gaming consoles have their loyal customers, but for those gamers on the fence, the features of each are distinct and specific to certain needs.
The debate is similar to Android vs. iPhone. It all comes down to personal preference, what you’ve bought in the past, and what features you want because the devices are comparable in functionality. Here, we compare the two devices based on eight criteria so you can decide which one is right for you.
Xbox One: $499
The Xbox also includes a new Kinect sensor, which enables motion- and voice control out of the box.
For $60, users can get 12 months of a Xbox Live Gold membership, which is required for multigame play and access to third-party apps like Netflix and face-to-face chats.
PlayStation 4: $399
There is also a $50 fee for a PS Plus subscription, which provides 12 months of multiplayer gaming and online perks.
Bottom line: Although the Xbox One costs $100 more, consider what you are getting for your money in areas like features and apps.
Xbox One: The new Xbox One controller, pictured top right, next to the controller of the Xbox 360, has been called more comfortable than its predecessor. It is smaller, lighter, and the battery bump on the bottom has been eliminated.
PlayStation 4: The new PlayStation controller is not just redesigned, but has all new features. There is now a clickable touch pad that is used differently in different games. The most unusual feature is the “share’’ button, which allows players to share screenshots and videos of gameplay with friends.
Bottom line: Both controllers have vibration and motion sensing, so it comes down to a social factor when deciding which console might have the edge.
Xbox One: Upon launching, 22 games will be available for Xbox One, a Microsoft spokesman said. Its exclusive titles listed by Microsoft are “Forza Motorsport 5, “Ryse: Son of Rome,’’ “Kinect Sports Rivals,’’ “Dead Rising 3,’’ “Halo for Xbox One,’’ “Killer Instinct,’’ “Quantum Break,’’ “Sunset Overdrive, “ and “Project Spark.’’
PlayStation 4: The console debuted with 22 games.
The Mirror reported its exclusive titles are: “Basement Crawl,’’ “Deep Down,’’ “Dream Club: Host Girls on Stage,’’ “DriveClub,’’ “Earth Defence Force,’’ InFamous: Second Son,’’ “Joysound Drive 2,’’ “Killzone: Shadow Fall,’’ “Knack,’’ “Lily Bergamo,’’ “MLB 14: The Show,’’ “Mobile Suit Gundam,’’ “N++,’’ “Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds Overdrive,’’ “Pool Nation: Extreme/FX,’’ “Resogun,’’ “Rime,’’ “Shadow of the Beast,’’ “The Order: 1886,’’ “The Playroom,’’ and “Tottemo E Majhong Plus.’’
Bottom Line: Both consoles have their exclusive games, and both have their respective best sellers. A downside to both consoles is that games used on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 will not work on the new devices so gamers will have to recreate their game libraries from scratch if they choose to upgrade.
Apps and media features
Xbox One: Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go will be available on the Microsoft-run Xbox One, which is seeking to integrate gaming, streamed, and live entertainment into one system. The new Xbox will also offer exclusive content in partnership with the NFL and a TV series based on the popular game Halo.
The Xbox One also has a program guide that works with your cable or satellite provider that can stand in for a set-top box, letting you change the channel based on voice commands.
PlayStation 4: The Sony PlayStation will also offer Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant Video access. Its exclusive content is online streaming of Sony music and movies. Both consoles will play Blu-ray discs and offer access to their own online libraries of movies to rent or buy.
To participate in multiplayer games online, the PlayStation 4 requires users to buy a $50 PS Plus subscription.
Bottom Line: Depending on your preferences, this one probably comes down to budget. PlayStation 4 offers access to these apps for free. There’s a $50 membership fee to access online gaming for 12 months. Xbox One requires a $60 Xbox Live Gold membership for access to all features.
Xbox One: The Xbox One console is a larger box trying to become the only device in your home entertainment center. Its hardware uses 8 gigabytes of DDR3 RAM, meaning games run smoothly and clearly.
PlayStation 4: The PlayStation 4 console is slender and sleek. It also has a higher screen resolution than previous models because of its 8 gigabytes GDDR5 RAM hardware. These specs indicate more raw graphical computational power.
Bottom line: It comes down to what purpose you want your device to serve. For a complete entertainment experience including live TV, gaming, online services, and Web browsing, the Xbox One console makes up for its bulky presence. The PlayStation 4 is slim and fast, but not as extensive in its abilities. And the hardware specs that point to a faster PS4 don’t necessarily mean it’s a better machine. Both consoles are well-equipped to run graphics at high speeds and with clear images.
Xbox One: Xbox has been touting its voice control feature. Players can speak to the device to minimize or maximize the screen, engage in a Skype call, pull up fantasy sports stats, or buy movie tickets. It is an Apple Siri for the Microsoft TV experience. And as always, the Xbox will be equipped for Xbox Live, a feature that allows players to connect while playing.
PlayStation 4: This console is not short on features. Players can enable a second screen through their smartphone or tablet, can remote play over Wi-Fi, and can real-time broadcast gameplay around the globe.
Bottom Line: Do you want to talk to your TV and others watching it remotely? Or would you rather keep your gaming device strictly to the games themselves?
Xbox One: The new voice activation and Skype capability, plus Xbox Live all add to the social element of the Xbox One.
PlayStation 4: The new button on the controller that allows instant sharing is Sony’s forray into the social scene of gaming. It allows users to connect with others by sharing their personal gaming experiences.
Bottom Line: Social media and social interaction on the Internet are becoming a larger part of the entertainment experience, something Microsoft and Sony have capitalized on in their new releases. The choice comes to whether you want to use your device just for sharing your gaming expertise, or to have the ability to connect with others through multiple communication platforms.
Motion detection accessories
Xbox One: Xbox One comes with the redesigned and improved Kinect device, which Microsoft says can track motion better. The Kinect has a 1080p camera, and uses a multi-microphone array with noise isolation to hear voice commands.
PlayStation 4: The PlayStation Eye, the Sony motion detector for game consoles, is sold separately from the PS4 for $60. However, it is nonessential to total game play.
Bottom Line: If motion activated games are your weapon of choice, Xbox One may be the best route, but if not, PS4 offers just as much.
Xbox One: The console doesn’t have Bluetooth 2.1, but uses Wi-Fi Direct to communicate with controllers.
PlayStation 4: The console uses Bluetooth 2.1 to connect the controller. Existing wireless headsets from third-party companies that use a Bluetooth connection will not be supported on PS4, though most USB headsets will be supported following PS4 system software update 1.50, Sony said.
The bottom line: Message boards have been peppered with questions about why the Xbox One will not support Bluetooth. Though Sony PlayStation 4 does not support third-party Bluetooth headseats, it does come with a mono headset to enable out-of-the-box chat for online games and optional voice commands for PS4 functions.
Xbox One: A parent can mark an account for their children and choose what age-level is appropriate for them, according to Polygon. The system travels, so the same restrictions apply wherever the child goes.
For children 8 or under, the system defaults to the settings for their age, which can be changed manually.
Unlike Xbox 360, there’s no parental timer.
PlayStation 4: The system’s parental controls can set the control level for playing a game or application that has parental control restrictions, as well as use of the Internet browser, Sony said.
Children’s accounts can also be set to control the ability to use chat and messaging features, post and view user-generated media, and make PlayStation Store purchases.
Those accounts also can’t link social network services or use real names or profile pictures.
The bottom line: The PlaySation 4’s biggest downfall is that parents have to create sub accounts for their children, writes Brian Crecente at Polygon.
Those accounts can’t be converted into a main account, so your children will not be able to “grow up’’ on the console without giving up the content they’ve already purchased.
Crecente also said the parental controls are “a bit confused,’’ and use an “obtuse rating system that isn’t clearly explained.’’
Crecente praised how parental controls on the Xbox One were designed, but complains it does not have a parental timer or curfew. PS 4’s parental controls also lack those features.