Xbox One vs PS4:  Making The Hard Choice Between Consoles

Xbox One vs PS4: Making The Hard Choice Between Consoles

Here’s the scenario:  You wake up one morning with a new tattoo, no memory of where it came from, and $500 of mystery cash in your pocket.  Obviously, it’s a sign from the universe that you were meant to buy a new game console.  Getting the scratch is the easy part.  But since the universe did not see fit to place $1,000 in your pocket, it leaves you with the agonizing decision of which one to buy.  The interwebz has no shortage of people fervently trying to convince you why you should buy a PS4 over an Xbox One, or vice versa.

Where to begin?  This kind of debate tends to inspire some, shall we say, passionate points of view on the subject.  But in the end, most people probably weigh the pros and cons as they see them, and go with that choice.  Here’s how I shook mine down, in priority from top to bottom.


 

1.  The Controller:  Xbox has always been my first choice in controllers.  The use of offset thumbsticks just feels better.  Games that don’t require precision movements, such as Dark Souls, are usually fine for me, but if I attempt a racing sim or shooter on the PS3, I end up looking like a chimp trying to juggle coconuts.  I’ve tried the PS4 controller, and although it has made some improvements, stick layout is still an issue for me.

EDGE:  XBox One

 

2.  Cloud Gaming:  Not to misconstrued with playing Alice: The Madness Returns while hotboxing, the subject of cloud gaming suffers from a lot of misunderstanding.  While it can still be difficult to garner hard facts about the role it will have on next-gen.  I feel I have a broad understanding of the role it will take, mostly because I have some friends who are programmers and have patiently answered a myriad of dumb questions from me.  That aside, I’ve listened so some reputable developers give interviews and discuss integration of cloud gaming, and they’ve made it clear that this will be an important element.  With many upcoming titles set to incorporate persistent worlds and seamless integration of single player, co-op, and versus play (much like the formula introduced by Demon’s Souls), an infrastructure of cloud servers may end up being the single most important element of next-gen gaming.  As I understand it, Microsoft has 4 times the number of cloud servers as Sony, and is making them available at no cost to developers.  Sony will spend this entire generation playing catch up as they try to match Microsoft’s service.  I have no choice but to bet on the strong horse here.

EDGE:  Xbox One

 

3.  The Games:  Hard not to put this at the top, but for the most part, many of my favorite game franchises are cross platform anyway.  I’ve always said, I’ll need a must-have game to motivate me to get on the next-gen bandwagon.  Elder Scrolls Online is one I’m watching, as well as Fallout 4, not officially announced, but rumoured to be coming at some point in 2015.  Either of these would force me to get a new system, but neither is exclusive.  I’ve always been a fan of exclusive Microsoft titles like Forza and Dead Rising, but not enough to warrant getting a new console just for them.  One big wild card in this deck, though, is Demon’s Souls 2, one of my all-time favorites.  If that gets announced, which it probably will, the PS4 may have the only exclusive that I feel I’d almost buy a console just to play.  For that, I actually give the PS4 a slight edge (assuming the DS2 announcement is imminent).

EDGE:  PS4

 

4.  Kinect:  Mostly a non-issue for me.  I have had ZERO use for the Kinect 1.0.  It was clunky, imprecise, and had very little implementation in games.  Kinect 2.0 looks to be light years ahead of its predecessor, and should give us the power to control our entire entertainment hub with voice commands.  I’m hearing about some hilarious Kinect integration in Xbox One games, such as the story of a guy who was given a technical foul in NBA 2K14 because he swore after missing a shot. Sony’s optional peripheral is simply not capable of doing what the Kinect does, but even so, the inclusion doesn’t factor into my purchase decision.

EDGE:  None

 

5.  User Interface:  As much as I hate to admit it, the look and layout of a dashboard can be important.  I get overwhelmed by the buttons at an ATM, so anything too adventurous in my game UI would only make me pull out my hair (no small feat for a bald guy).  The UI goes a long way toward enhancing the experience when you don’t have to struggle to navigate.  Xbox One and PS4 both disappointed me with their new interface, and actually served as as slight deterrent to me getting either.  Personally, I liked the old consoles better in this regard.

EDGE:  Xbox 360 and PS3

 

6.  Online:  Based on my experiences with both Xbox and PS3, I preferred Microsoft’s online system. However, I’m assuming that both new consoles, once all the bugs are worked out (yes, Microsoft, I’m talking to you), will have a comparable online environment.  Both have a paid service now, and there’s no objective reason to think one will be better than the other six months from now.

EDGE:  None

 

7.  Friends:  Ah, peer pressure.  Along with pimples and untimely erections, PP completes the holy trinity of male high school angst.  But I haven’t been in high school since the days of legwarmers and camel-toe jeans, so I should be safely immune to peer pressure…..  Not so fast.  I don’t want to have a friends list populated by crickets.  And since most of my friends are on the 360, the choice should be simple.  Except a lot of them are still undecided.  And believe it or not, I could conceivably purchase what I felt was an inferior system if enough of my good friends went that way.  It would have to be the majority, and they would need to be friends I played a LOT of co-op and online games with. However, humans being what they are, most will probably stick with the brand they know, which is Microsoft.

EDGE:  Xbox One

 

8.  Price:  Sony gets the edge out of the gate, coming in $100 cheaper.  The only intangible for me, going forward, will be just how integral the Kinect will be to the overall game experience.  Since it’s the primary reason for the price difference, it will have to prove its worth.  But right now, it’s just a peripheral I don’t feel like I HAVE to have.

EDGE:  PS4

 

9.  Customer Service:  While I’m sure everyone has had different experiences, the fact is, from my POV, Microsoft is head and shoulders better than Sony in this department.  I’ve played on both systems for years, and Microsoft usually fields calls with about the same wait time I’d find calling for help with my cable or telephone.  You could probably Platinum Demon’s Souls from scratch in the time it takes Sony to resolve issues.  I will give Sony the benefit of the doubt as far as making improvements going forward, now that the online is a paid service.  But if I were buying a console today, Microsoft would still have the better reputation.

EDGE:  Xbox One

 

10.  Dependability:  In 7 years, I had a grand total of 1 RRoD on Xbox 360, and it was on a console I had purchased used.  Despite the nightmarish stories about the early years, I escaped unscathed for the most part.  While Microsoft nearly had their brand tarnished forever by an epidemic of console failure, they recovered nicely.  With the Xbox One’s design, you can tell that ventilation was a priority. I’m going to go with glass half-full, and assume that they learned their lesson, and we won’t see any issues.  In fact, neither console has launched with abnormal failure rates, so I’ll have to declare this one a personal non-issue.

EDGE:  None

 

Verdict:  Xbox One.  At the end of the day, I gave the Xbox One the edge in 4 of my 10 categories, and the PS4 the edge in 2.  The other four were either even or irrelevant.  For this reason, the Xbox One gets my mystery money, if I were spending it today.  For everyone else, obviously your results will vary.  But you know what?  Whichever you choose, as long as it works, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the crap out of it, and defend your purchase to your last, dying breath.  Because, after all, that’s what gamers do!

 

You can read more gaming articles here.

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Chris Graham is a longtime video game junkie from the wilds of Eastern Canada. While he is now a fully certified “old dude gamer”, in his youth during the early eighties he spent embarrassing sums of money on quarter-munchers in some of the skeezy local arcades. He even ventured into disco roller skating rinks from time to time, since they carried upscale titles, but always swore to his friends that he was only there for the games, since, y’know, disco sucks! When he picked up his first console, the classic Atari 2600, he used a VCR to record game clips and study patterns in order to clear tough levels.A former mobile DJ, as well as writing teacher and tutor, Chris has spent nearly 25 years crafting literary short fiction for periodicals and university journals. He became interested in writing about games and the game industry after immersing himself in social game communities. He’s written reviews and gameplay guides for both Xbox and Playstation games. His interests run the gamut, from shooters to sports and racing genres, although he spends the bulk of his time with RPGs.

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17 comments on “Xbox One vs PS4: Making The Hard Choice Between Consoles”

  1. Fexelea says:

    Nice article! Im intrigued by your quote regarding cloud gaming, its actually the opposite than i have been hearing so id like to know more about the numbers you are presenting. Gaikai is not a small thing

    Neither console seems worthy at the moment to me, given theres no RPGs to play, but i am also puzzled by your conflicts with sony support. Ive had only good experiences and sony has an online chat in their site for real time support via web as well, are the wai times on it really that long? No idea how the US is in this regard.

    Either way. You should probably check out Lanzens cynical gamer next gen article, you may get a laugh or two!

  2. Emergence says:

    Steambox anyone? 😛 In all seriousness though, Steam seems committed to the console experience via the Steambox and soon to come controller. I think that more choices benefit the gamers and takes us beyond which is better and into how can they all improve. With that kind of competiton, things become too fluid to staunchly stick to one brand. It isn’t easy choosing though especially with the costs involved and I do resent the push towards exclusivity (esp. Nintendo with their great 1st party but poor 3rd party content) because it fragments the general video game community, and I think is partially to blame for fanning the vitriolic flames we see in flame wars.

    1. Back Lot Basher says:

      Emergence, I have a couple of friends who are are watching the development of the Steambox for some of the reasons you state. I’m with you 100% on this. I hate the idea that I have to own multiple consoles just to play exclusives. And that fragmentation you mention is very real. I considered not posting this article here for that reason. It’s funny…my father used to say you never discuss politics or religion with friends. I think I would add game console preference to that list!

  3. With cloud gaming they’re both pushing different agendas. Microsoft is the “cloud computing will make games better by alleviating the work of the machine.” However, since they turned around on the persistent internet connection they actually shot themselves in the foot with this. Now they must accommodate users without the internet with games, meaning they can’t universally have game “X” dump off “y” amount of resources to “the cloud.” Everything will have to be a case by case basis just like the last generation and the PS4. So while a game can still use the cloud to have this crazy awesome world it will either have to require a persistent connection for that game (PS4 can do the same thing) or have a watered down version for users without internet. Microsoft arguably has the superior infrastructure for this type of game and for multiplayer. However, they don’t have anything like Gaikai yet which is a game streaming service like Netflix that uses their cloud. Sony hasn’t rolled it out yet but I’ve gone on record with how promising (and feasible) it seems to me. This gives them potential backwards compatibility (with persistent internet connection) and even the remote chance of emulated software from other platforms.
    Regarding Kinect vs. Sony the early reports are that Sony’s voice controls are in some ways more logical and easier (like you can use partial or shorter names of games for instance) and the microphone is superior. There’s differences between the two but they’re more equivalent than a first glance suggests. The mandatory nature of Kinect’s existence though leads me to believe it will be used in more creative ways.
    The two are so damn similar in my opinion I feel like you have a great list. Most people will go with what they’re comfortable with.

    Me? Remote Play had me sold. Nothing like a round of Warframe from the comfort of my bathtub!

  4. Argetlam350 says:

    Though I see where you are coming from I do have to disagree with some of your “Edges” such as Customer Service. I have had lousy record with Microsoft and I have several friends who have had similar experiences with there services on Xbox 360 and even a few who got Xbox One have trouble with the Service.
    Then I feel you should of had an online category as in which one you are getting your money’s worth or ripping you off. No disrespect to anyone owning an Xbox One but I feel you are getting ripped off with Xbox Live payment due to the fact that when you pay for their services you are not only paying for the online gameplay but also everything else that needs online. Why on earth should I have to pay more money for something like Netflix, which I all ready pay for, just to use it. It’s stupid. This is where PS4 has an edge since you are merely paying for Playstation Plus for the multiplayer service of games. I don’t need PS+ for Netflix unlike Xbox One’s Xbox Live. Then the controller argument I feel is a mute point, most people I speak with are split, some prefer Xbox other Playstation. For me it’s Playstation because I always feel Xbox’s controllers are just to chunky and heavy feeling plus I hate the whole offset analog sticks, it is quite annoying to me. Then the directional pad, though fixed on Xbox One, still was a trainwreck on Xbox 360, even if we rarely have games that use them.
    So ultimately to me they are tied but what gives an edge for the system of choice is ultimately, for me, exclusives. That right there is the deal breaker and that I have to give to PS4. I’m peaked by many of their upcoming projects such as Infamous Second Son, Uncharted, and The Order 1886, where as the Xbox One really only has one interesting exclusive and that’s Titanfall. But that is entirely my opinion of course.

  5. Yarxov says:

    Yes I dislike this simply because the opinionated agenda is less overt than the other. It looks fair from a glance, but honestly and especially the Controller is purely up to the player. I like the PS3 controllers many times more than the bulky and clumsy Xbox one. (catch the bias there?) I am perfectly accurate with the PS3 controller and think it is easier to quickly react with.

    Friends: Again, disputable since the stereotypical Xbox fanboy is a thirteen year old with tourettes. Playstation isnt the “newcomer” by any means.

    I give you props for writing an entire article to counter someones more humorous take on the competition, however I find its biased arguments unsavory.

    1. Fexelea says:

      I’m terrible with the Xbox controller, just too big for my tiny hands! xD

      But I do like this article, I think it’s great to see gamers expose how they arrive at their conclusions, and Backlot has a fantastic point with the miracle 500 bucks lol. Anyone get this lucky lemme know 😛

    2. Argetlam350 says:

      Yeah I have to agree with you there this article is pretty bias, especially the controller. Like my post, I prefer Playstation’s controller as well over Xbox’s controller. Then the Friends argument is an opinion based one as well. I mean it purely is up to how many friends you have on either console. Currently I have most on Playstation with most upgrading to Playstation 4 in the near future. Then the customer service one is slightly bias as well, I mean I’ve had my fair share of experience with each customer service rep and have had far more success with Sony then Microsoft. Microsoft usually does this whole circle jerk process I felt while Sony was more helpful. My experience.
      Then I would say there are too few points in this thread as well, or at least I thought. We could argue over which has a better payment service, and even tech. Of course tech would be going into far more detail of the systems but I think it would be a fair point to make. Again though this isn’t necessarily a bad article just really, really, really, heavily influenced by opinion.

  6. Castielle says:

    Great article BLB. First, I want to say that I wrote my article back in August when PS4 was killing Xbox One. I do believe Xbox has caught up a bit compared to then. I’ve had Xbox Live for nearly 10 years, dating back to the original Xbox. There were like 10 games you could play online then lol. The hardest part for me, and I believe is a huge selling point, is that I had to leave my friends list on Xbox Live and hope some would join me on PS4. To date none have. Some of these people I’ve been playing with since Halo 2 on Xbox. I do believe that PS4 is the superior gaming system, however, and that’s all I really want it for.

  7. Lanzen says:

    I enjoyed reading this, as it provoked a lot of thought and that I appreciate. Of course a lot comes down to personal preference, and while I may have reached a different conclusion myself, it’s good to see a well-thought out and well-written set of reasoning for your conclusions. Thank you for that.

    X360/PS3 was the first generation to really be ‘online’ consoles, and have had many years for players to build up their Friends lists accordingly. You’d think that would engender some brand loyalty. I find it interesting many of your own friends are undecided. That allows for a ‘tipping point’ to be reached in a given set of peers. I similarly see indecision amongst my friends. Frankly I know some I would have thought devout Xbox loyalists who were shaken by MS’s early announcements, and I think that has made the decision far from a given for many.

    In my view the games come first – a piece of reasoning you yourself allude to. The rest is fluff. Sure, if there was a disastrous controller, that would inhibit the ability to enjoy even a great title, but that is not the case with either machine. I don’t do motion control, I don’t do social media. Both will be online. No one has any idea if MS even needs four times as many cloud servers – and Sony has a few yen in its pocket to procure. Few exclusives and none vital as yet.

    On a pure gaming level, the titles that are available on both machines are full 1080p on PS4 and last-gen 720p on Xbox One. I’m sure developers will begin putting out decent res Xbox One games in time, but right now, that’s a show stopper for me – not least as the last-gen res is at a new gen premium with it being more expensive than PS4.

  8. Back Lot Basher says:

    Thanks for the comments, folks. Despite all the weight I gave to 10 different decision elements, the truth is,about 90% of my decision hinges on one thing: the controller. And yes, it’s biased…I made that clear in the article. Microsoft’s has always been the one that worked best for me (I’m opposite to Fex…the Sony controller feels too small, and this gets compounded by the lack of offset thumbsticks). But that is, like Lanzen said, personal preference. I went from PC to the Xbox, to the Xbox 360, and when I try to use a Sony controller now, it never feels right.

    Something I’ve noticed about the emergence of these two new consoles is that factual information seems to be harder and harder to confirm. I get the sense that so much of it consists of little more than marketing spin anyway. In the end, I think most of us are creatures of habit when it comes to consumer habits. We go with what we know and like because its comfortable.

    A lot of my friends on Xbox Live have said they are still waiting for a game that compels them to get a new system. Until then, most would be happy squeezing another year or two out of their current system. Many of us met playing Rainbow Six Vegas many years ago, and the group was large enough that we could have 16 people in a PRIVATE game, with more waiting to get in. Ubisoft’s “The Division” has kind of caught our eye, because of the way it combines tactical shooting, a Fallout style future, and elements of Dark Souls-style incursions with random human enemies. I’m hoping that we get a glimpse of how well the tech works with these persistent worlds before I make a purchase. Even though I’m leaning toward the Bone, if this turns out to be a glitchy, bug-ridden mess, I’ll stay on my current gen for a while longer.

  9. Back Lot Basher says:

    BTW, is there any way to preserve paragraph breaks in comments? That kind of turned into a wall of text.

    1. Fexelea says:

      I don’t know if everyone can use them, but the comments have html tags so you have to use something like < [br]> – remove the [ ] and it will create a line break

  10. Castielle says:

    Rainbow Six Vegas was an amazing online game! The second was equally as good.

  11. WhatDoesThePendantDo says:

    As I’ve already made clear I’m going with the PS4 because IMO it’s the better gaming machine. That said, totally agree on the controller point, Xbox>>>>PS.

    PS controller is just so tightly mapped I have difficulty using one comfortably, Xbox affords me much more comfort.

    1. Back Lot Basher says:

      Going back to the comment Emergence made about exclusivity, something else I’d like to see, but probably won’t, would be game companies making their controllers interchangeable. Sure, people are going to have a console of choice for various reasons, but it’s pretty clear that a lot of them may prefer controllers from another system. Obviously, the biggest reason they would choose not to do this is a fear of losing sales on accessories. But I know I would play a lot more PS3 games if I had access to an Xbox 360 controller for them. What we need is a really good third party company to pull this together

      1. Fexelea says:

        I can understand the desire for external controllers but they are often not feasible due to the possibility of cheating via macros and such that comes when integrating unlicensed products. If it counts for anything, the PS4 controller is much bigger and heavier – without going all the way to Xbox 360 with batteries thankfully!
        Regarding exclusive titles: I could probably write a full-length article on this, but there are two very different kinds of exclusive content. One is “malicious” limited time or skin-level exclusivity, purchased with the objective of collecting sales. The other is first party exclusive content bred from in-house first party studios. The great bulk of Sony exclusives comes from the latter, and this is NOT something gamers should be against. Sony effectively supports gamers and the industry by promoting and encouraging developers such as Naughty Dog and Media Molecule.
        Exclusives aren’t made to keep gamers out, they are made to bring gamers in and to support the “habitat” of the studio – This has very much influenced my console choices over time: I want to support a console maker who supports the studios. Sony has over 13 first party studios making full length games on every category. Microsoft has 17, 13 of which make Tv Shows or apps, Kinect and phone games, or have been working on “unnanounced game” for 3 years.

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