The next generation Xbox and Playstation are just around the corner now, with November quickly sneaking up on us. This leaves us to wonder, which is the right system for you?
Now I want to make this perfectly clear, this is NOT your typical “which is better” article. I am personally of the opinion that both consoles are compelling choices. Instead, we will talk about the differences to help guide you to the system that makes the most sense for you. Plain and simple.
Let’s get started by discussing the hardware.
PS4 and Xbox One hardware overview
*thanks to some great comments, I realized that this hardware section was WAY to brief and didn’t do much in the way of ‘true comparison’. I have expanded this section to better reflect the console’s differences. Thanks! *
While the above chart doesn’t include everything, it gives us a pretty good idea. As you can see, both systems are pretty similar at first glance. Both are based on AMD CPUs, both have 8GB of RAM, and even the GPUs are similar. That said, from a technical perspective, the PS4 is more powerful than the the Xbox One.
Both console GPUs use AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture which is divided up into blocks called “Compute Units”. When comparing this “Compute Units”, the PS4 clearly comes out on top with 18CUs, which can generate 1.84 teraflops of processing power. In contrast, the Xbox One has just 12 CUs and generates just 1.2 teraflops of power.
As for RAM? The Sony Playstation 4 and Xbox One might both have 8GB of RAM, but the Xbox One uses DDr3 which is significantly slower.
For most folks, will all of this make a huge difference when it comes to real-world use? Yes and no. While games might look marginally better on the PS4, it might not be a “world-ending” difference, especially at the beginning of each console’s lifecycle.
Ultimately, though – it isn’t just hardware that makes a game system. What will truly set the PS4 and Xbox One apart will be their special software features, games and other exclusive features.
What do I mean by ‘system philosophy’? In short, this is about the key focuses of the system based on Microsoft and Sony’s presentations and announcements up to this point.
Now, keep in mind that system philosophy can change as the market changes and as the system software evolves. Let’s start with Sony.
While these points can be debated, Sony seems to put gaming as the key priority. Closely followed are social aspects and living room entertainment.
Does this mean that Sony provides a better gaming experience? Not necessarily. My point is merely that most of Sony’s presentations have been focused on how the PS4 affects the life of gamers. Other functionality like TV features, apps and entertainment seem to take a back seat – though they still exist and are still a prominent part of the overall console experience.
This means that from day one, the PS4 will be fully focused on games. Other features will likely roll out slowly as their philosophy evolves and changes.
In contrast, Microsoft has been very focused on the Xbox One being able to create the perfect multimedia experience. Some of these features and focuses have changed due to negative reception of online/DRM restrictions, but with HDMI in, split screen TV and browsing capabilities and more – the Xbox One seems more positioned at those who are looking for an all-in-one multimedia system that also plays games.
By focusing on multimedia, Microsoft creates a system that will likely have more apps and more TV-related functionality right out of the gate. Will its games suffer as a result? That’s probably a matter of opinion and depends largely on what you think of the exclusives already announced.
This leads us into our next “point of comparison”.
The actual games
I’m not going to list every game we know of for the Xbox One or the PS4, instead let’s take a look at some of the exclusives. This might not be all of the announced exclusives, so if I missed something – just give me a polite shout in the comments below.
For the Xbox One: Halo on Xbox One, Crimson Dragon, D4, Quantum Break, Forza Motorsport 5
And here’s a few demos, for extra measure:
Now for the PS4: Knack, DriveClub, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Infamous: Second Son, The Order: 1886, Deep Down, Galak-Z, Secret Ponchos
And some more demos, this time for the PS4:
So what does this section prove? Nothing necessarily.
The point is instead to show off a few exclusives found on each system. Check out a few demos, do a little research and you should know which system seems to fit your own personal tastes.
We’ll take a bit of time to talk about the ‘extras’. As already mentioned, the Xbox One offers TV viewing experiences through HDMI in. It also allows split screen viewing. Additionally the Xbox One comes with a required Xbox Kinect that provides special voice functions, gestures and more.
In contrast, the PS4 has a camera as well, but it is optional and likely will be used more for games and special apps than the overall UI/navigation of the PS4 software. The PS4 also has its own dedicated share button.Both systems have extras such as second-screen functionality with a smartphone, tablet or even the PS Vita in the case of the PS4.
Both consoles also offer live stream, capturing and sharing of gameplay. Both have social integration. And both will likely have their own streaming demo and services, though only Sony’s cloud-based demo system is official at this stage.
From an ‘extras’ perspective, the Xbox One is probably ‘better’ if you are interested in a fully integrated gestures/camera/voice experience and TV viewing experience. Otherwise, both will probably offer a similar multimedia experience with a just a few varying differences.
For some buyers it won’t come down to hardware, software or even the launch titles – price will make all the difference. In that regard, the PS4 is the cheaper option at $399. In contrast, the Xbox One costs $499.
What’s interesting here is that the PS4 is actually the more powerful system with faster RAM and a better GPU, so why is it less expensive? It comes down to the Kinect. Microsoft’s strategy requires you to get the Kinect, even if you don’t want it. As for the PS4, the PS4 Camera is optional.
So both systems have somewhat similar specs, similar multimedia features and their own unique exclusives. What it really comes down to is which system sounds more like ‘you’. The biggest judge is probably going to be the games. After all, these are still ‘game systems’, even if gaming is far from their only function.
What do you think, which system will you be picking up this holiday season and why? Politely share your reasons in the comment section below!