Saturday, June 29, 2013

PS4 versus Xbox One

Microsoft and Sony's next generation gaming consoles.

I'm not really planning to write a dissertation on this topic, but I did want to make a few comments because this subject interests me. As of now both Sony and Microsoft have announced their next generation consoles, and fanboys on both sides of the aisle have begun to rabidly defend their respective companies (looking at you System Wars...). What console, in reality, is truly worth your dollar?


To be honest, I cannot answer that question, because unlike the people of the aforementioned System Wars I don't like making broad conclusions before a console is even released. That being said, there are a few things that we do know that hint at one console being a bit better than the other...


Let's get the obvious things out of the way first. The PS4 is more powerful technically and is also $100 cheaper. On the green side, XB1 offers "the power of the cloud," and Kinect 2.0 bundled with each and every system. It remains to be seen just how much the cloud will influence the XB1, but I am interested from a technical standpoint in terms of what it might allow developers to do in regard to creating persistent worlds, better AI, and improved graphics as time goes on.

As you can see, many of the benefits of the XB1 are almost theoretical in nature at the moment; we don't know how much the cloud will influence games and there is no telling if Kinect 2.0 will be a help or a hindrance to gamer's experiences.

The PS4 on the other hand is a known quantity. It has a graphics chip that is nearly 50% stronger than the XB1's in terms of raw strength, and its ram is faster as well (though the embedded ESRAM on the XB1 might actually make it faster in that department when all is said and done). Additionally, at $100 cheaper, the PS4 is set to overtake the XB1 early on in sales. I don't know about you but if I'm a parent buying little Johnny a next gen console for Christmas, I buy the PS4 because outwardly both offer nearly the exact same thing, except Sony's option sells for $399 while Microsoft's sells for $499.

It will be up to Microsoft to prove to consumers that Kinect 2.0 and Xbox Live offer an experience that is worth the extra $100. It will also need heavy hitting exclusives that recapture the magic of Halo 1 on the original Xbox. In the end, Microsoft will likely retain many of the people who bought Xbox 360s mainly due to their familiarity with the ecosystem, their desire to retain achievements, and the fact that they likely want to continue the story of the Halo series.

If I had to give serious advice on this subject, I would say that you should just buy a gaming PC or laptop. The former can be had for not much more than an XB1, and while the latter will set you back ~$1000, it will also be more powerful than either console while allowing you to have the type of customization only available on the PC.

With both consoles equivalent to mid-range gaming PCs, any high end machine you buy for yourself now will likely last the entire console generation if you maintain it properly. This was not the case in 2005 when the Xbox 360 came out, as the 360 was equivalent to high to very high end PCs and therefore most PC gamers had to upgrade their machines in the middle of the previous console generation.

In my mind, this console generation will determine the fate of the console industry for years to come. Will it thrive, or will it be crushed by the more customizable option presented by the PC? We'll know more come holiday 2013...

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