The Pre-fight hype
Fighting out of the black corner, hailing from Tokyo, Japan, we’ve got the PS4. Sony’s 4th console has a strong gaming pedigree, and has been impressing fans in the build up to the big fight, taking the early plaudits in both the press conferences and media.
It’s opponent, fighting out of Redmond, Washington, USA, is the Xbox One. A third generation multi-media titan, it’s caused controversy in the run up to this contest with a series of statements that have angered some fans.
After backtracking and a late game charm offensive, it’s regained some ground, and looks ready to take on Sony’s prize asset in the fight of the decade!
We’re looking for a clean fight, so no unnecessary pausing, grabbing the controller or switching off the console if you’re losing – lets get ready to rumble!
Round 1 – Tech Specs
When it comes to tech specs, the consoles look fairly evenly matched. Both feature an 1.6GHz AMD 8 core processor and 8GB of RAM, making them around 8 times faster than the PS3 and Xbox 360.
However, look a little closer, and you’ll see the PS4 has a few advantages. In addition to a GPU with more shaders (1152 to the Xbox One’s 768), Sony has chosen to use GDDR5 RAM rather than DDR3 in a bold move designed to enhance its performance.
On the storage, front, both feature a 500GB hard drive, although the PS4’s can be removed, and potentially replaced with a larger model. Having said that, we expect cloud storage to play a big part in the next gen, so this may not be a huge advantage.
Winner of round 1
PS4 – It’s a close one, as both consoles use very similar AMD architecture, but Sony’s use of DDR5 Ram and a slightly more powerful GPU give it the edge here.
Whilst design has no bearing on performance, it’s an important consideration for something that is going to sit in your living room for the next 5 years or more.
The bad news here is that neither looks great. Microsoft has gone for a bulky, retro “Betamax meets Battenburg” design, which wouldn’t have looked out of place in the 1980s.
Whilst the PS4 is slightly smaller and less brash, it won’t be winning any awards on the visual front either, with a matte and glossy black combination and skyscraper like design.
Winner of round 2
PS4 – Although we’re not massive fans of either console, the PS4 wins by virtue of the fact that the Xbox One looks so terrible! It’s smaller, slightly more modern, and will look nicer in your home.
Round 3 – Controller
This is a hotly contested round, as almost everyone has a deeply ingrained preference when it comes to controllers. On both sides, it’s been a case of evolution rather than revolution, as both Sony and Microsoft stick to their guns when it comes to the layout.
Now in its 4th iteration, the PS4’s Dualshock4 has received a series of much-needed updates, including a larger size, wider handles, improved stocks and a reworked d-pad. Sony has also replaced the shoulder buttons with a new ergonomic design.
The biggest changes include the removal of the ‘start’ and ‘select buttons, which have been replaced by the more social–friendly ‘share’ and ‘options’, as well as the addition of a touchpad and motion tracking.
The Xbox One pad has been reshaped into a smaller, sleeker and more refined package, with over 40 ‘improvements’. The biggest change for Microsoft has been the addition of ‘force feedback’ vibration triggers, which look set to add an extra dimension to the gaming experience.
Other changes include the redevelopment of both the analogue sticks and d-pad to improve precision, feel and control.
Winner of round 3
Xbox One – Whilst the DualShock4 is a big improvement on its predecessor, and features some good innovations, in our view, it’s still playing catch-up.
Microsoft has taken the Xbox 360 controller and made it even better with series of improvements that keep it well ahead of the competition.
Round 4 – Exclusive Launch titles
Consoles live and die on the quality of their titles, and both Sony and Microsoft are coming out fighting with their own exclusives in time for launch.
- Titanfall (Respawn Entertainment)
- Dead Rising 3 (Capcom)
- Forza Motorsport 5 (Turn 10)
- LocoCycle (Twisted Pixel)
- Killer Instinct (Double Helix)
- Ryse: Son of Rome (Crytek)
Yes, we know that Titanfall isn’t an Xbox One exclusive (you’ll be able to get it on PC and 360), but you can’t get it on PS4, so it made the list anyway!
- DC Universe Online (Sony Online Entertainment)
- DriveClub (Evolution Studios)
- Killzone: Shadow Fall (Guerrilla Games)
- Knack (SCE Japan Studio)
- Warframe (Digital Extremes)
Winner of round 4
Draw – This round was too close to call. Titanfall was one of our favourite games of E3, but Killzone: Shadow Fall looks fantastic as well!
Round 5 – Online gaming/multimedia services
It’s fair to say that in the last generation, Microsoft led the way when it came to online gaming and multimedia services, thanks to Xbox Live.
Its subscription package was streets ahead of Sony’s Playstation Network in terms of features, reliability and usability, and whilst Sony’s service was free, it never really delivered in the same way.
Microsoft looks set to expand this in the next generation, and one of the big selling points of the Xbox One is that it is a multimedia machine, capable of integrating all your TV, social media and streaming requirements into a single device.
To that end, Microsoft has implemented a series of neat features into the console, like the ability to hook your Xbox One up to your cable box, so you can easily switch between your favourite games and TV programmes via a simple Kinect voice command. In addition it’s set to improve online gaming with a new matchmaking feature.
Sony also looks set to expand its online offering with a newly revamped Playstation Network Plus subscription service, which will boast similar features to Xbox Live, without some of the additional TV services or integration.
Both Playstation Network and Xbox Live will feature a host of popular entertainment, music and social media apps, with the ability to record and share content with other gamers.
Winner of round 5
Xbox One – When it comes to all-in-one usability, the Xbox One is the clear winner, with fantastic integration that enables seamless switching between media. Having said that, the PS4 is no slouch when it comes to online functionality, and looks to have a strong social media offering.
Round 6 – Motion/voice control
Here, it’s a case of Microsoft’s redeveloped Kinect 2 vs Sony’s revamped Playstation Eye and the new Dualshock4 motion control.
Kinect 2 builds on the success of its predecessor, with a full 1080p camera that’s capable of processing up to 2GB of data each second and features a 1:1 motion ratio for ultra-smooth performance. In addition, the Kinect 2 will include significantly improved voice recognition.
The early signs are that these increased tech specs will enable significantly improved functionality that will work together well with the Xbox One’s extensive online and multi-media features.
Sony has gone for a two-pronged approach, integrating some limited motion control features into the new controller itself, and launching an updated camera in the form of the new Playstation 4 Eye.
This 720p camera works much in the same way as the Kinect, but without the voice recognition. It will also be able to work in conjunction with the DualShock4, which could open up some interesting gameplay options.
Winner – round 6
Xbox One – Simply put, the Kinect seems to offer a more rounded package, with integrated voice commands, better tech specs, and superior motion tracking technology. Whether this translates into better games is anyone’s guess!
Round 7 – The Price
Sony looks to be stealing a march on Microsoft when it comes to price, with the PS4 coming in at $399/£349, to Xbox One’s hefty $499/£429. However, this doesn’t tell the whole story, as Xbox One will come supplied with Kinect, whereas Sony’s PS4Eye will be an additional £44/$59.
As for the price of peripherals, Microsoft will be selling its controllers for £44.99 (£59.99 with charger), with both official headsets and standalone play and charge kits priced at £19.99.
Whilst Sony hasn’t yet revealed its peripheral prices, retailers are already listing them at similar prices to the Xbox One’s.
Winner of round 7
PS4 – Despite the lack of bundled motion control, at £80/$100 less than the Xbox One, it’s definitely advantage PS4 when it comes to price, and we expect it this to be one of Sony’s major selling points come launch day.
At 3 rounds each and a draw, I’m afraid this one is going to the judges!
Both systems clearly have their advantages, and only time will tell which one is set to be crowned King of the 8th generation consoles.
But what do you think? Would you choose the PS4 over the Xbox One? Or vice versa? Tell us in the comments below!