With Sony’s launch of the PlayStation 4 and the upcoming release of Microsoft’s Xbox One, the eighth generation of video game consoles is here. And with the new consoles comes the age-old question: Which system is better? Consistent factors, like hardware, games and price, recur with every console generation. With this in mind, the question extends beyond which gaming system is superior. Rather, is it worth it to make the leap right now?
While both systems are similar in terms of power, the PS4 seems to have the edge over the Xbox One. Each console boasts nearly identical central processing units (CPU). Where the consoles diverge in terms of hardware is the RAM and graphics processing unit (GPU). While both feature 8GB of RAM, the PS4 has higher bandwidth, more than double that of the Xbox One. Also, the PS4’s GPU is larger and 50 percent more powerful than Microsoft’s system. It is important to note that while the PS4 is technically more powerful, it is up to game developers to make use of the system’s full potential. One caveat: There have been reports of malfunctioning PS4s among the launch systems. It is still too early to determine how many are affected, but it is worth noting.
Each system boasts an extensive lineup of games both at launch and within the launch window, which lasts until March 2014. However, after factoring out multi-platform titles, both systems are relatively barren of the most important part of each system: the games. At launch, the two major games released for the PS4 were “Knack” and “Killzone: Shadow Fall.”
“Knack” is an interesting return to the action platformer genre, but has been criticized for lacking depth. On the other hand, “Killzone: Shadow Fall” is yet another first-person shooter (FPS) in a market saturated with similar titles. “Infamous: Second Son” could be the biggest title within the PS4 launch window, but with a March 2014 release date, there is no reason to rush.
Xbox One features a larger list of exclusives, with “Ryse: Son of Rome,” “Dead Rising 3” and “Killer Instinct.” “Ryse” and “Dead Rising 3” both provide a third-person action experience, with the former focusing on tactics and the latter relying on weapon creation. “Killer Instinct” provides some diversity with a polished fighting game aimed at both experienced players and those new to the genre. “Titanfall,” a game developed by former members of Infinity Ward, manages to mix up the FPS genre with the inclusion of mechs, but isn’t set to release until March. While there is a variety of other games available on both systems, including “Call of Duty: Ghosts,” “Battlefield 4” and “Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag,” many are already available on modern systems. While it also depends on personal preference, Xbox One has a slightly stronger launch in terms of games.
While it may seem that Sony has a clear-cut advantage over Microsoft in terms of price, one has to consider the overall package that each system provides. The basic PS4 package sits at $400, boasting a $100 price difference from the Xbox One. However, this fails to reflect that the Xbox One includes more out of the box. The Xbox One includes the latest version of Kinect, the system’s camera controller, with every console. The PS4 package, on the other hand, does not include its competitor, the PlayStation Camera, which costs an additional $60. Furthermore, both systems require a subscription to access online multiplayer. PlayStation Plus will cost an additional $50 and includes additional discounts on the PlayStation Store and free games. Xbox Live Gold includes similar features for $60 and also is required to access streaming services like Netflix. Overall, the PS4 is still cheaper than the Xbox One by $50 after factoring in extra peripherals, but players uninterested in motion controls can enjoy a hefty discount with Sony.
As it stands, the Xbox One has a strong starting lineup, but the PS4’s superior hardware and reduced price make it the better system in the long run. Yet, both systems also feature a relatively small library after factoring out multi-platform games. Anyone already making the jump should take advantage of the next-generation versions of this winter’s big-name titles. However, for those hesitant about what system to buy, give it some time. Within a year, both Microsoft and Sony will fix any issues with their systems, and there will be more than enough games to justify the purchase.