Xbox One vs PS4 – Let Battle Commence

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So it’s finally here – generation eight, the most powerful video gaming consoles made to date – and yes, they cost a shedload of money and have mostly-terrible launch line-ups. Some things never change…

As a committed gamer, naturally, I’m somewhat torn between purchasing the Xbox One or the Playstation 4 – and to the one person yelling ‘what about the Wii U!?‘… go back to your corner.

I own both an Xbox 360 and a PS3, and I’ve enjoyed my time with both consoles immensely. That said, I did most of my gaming on the 360 – it had better online support, an easier interface and, crucially, all my friends had one too.

But then, the PS3 had some really fantastic exclusive titles – Metal Gear Solid 4 and The Last of Us to name but two – and was a delightfully powerful beast of a console, whooping the 360 in the graphical stakes.

So now, as the next generation slips into our living rooms, I’m torn between the two powerhouses of gaming. I can afford only one, so I’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons before I part with my hard-earned cash. So here’s my view, as a consumer, and not-a-full-time-game-critic.

Hit hard in the wallet

PS4 has an early lead in the sheer cost of a gen-eight system, coming in some £80/$100 less than Microsoft’s big black box. Arguably the XBone (still funny) price tag includes the newest iteration of the Kinect sensor – but I’d still have preferred to have an option not to take it, voice and motion command and all.

Microsoft forcing the Kinect on gamers from the start is a shrewd move, however, as the sensor will likely see a lot more use than the last generation’s messy attempt.

That said, early reports are that the sensor doesn’t understand accents, or some words, or even work properly. Surprise surprise.
Also, if I wanted to wave my arms around to interface with my console, I’d have bought a Wii… it shouldn’t be forced upon me.

Power to the people

Hardware-wise, the two consoles are far more neck-and-neck than the previous generation, in terms of power. Last time the PS3 had the edge, but was doomed by its complicated chipset.

Both gen-eight consoles display their games in blistering quality, and feature the usual HDMI ports for that massive screen dominating one corner of your room. So far, so predictable.

The controllers are a natural evolution from the previous generation, with XBone’s offering being just as easy on the hands, but with the interesting addition of ‘impulse triggers’ – rumble for the index fingers.

The PS4′s pad features a nifty touchpad, which I have high hopes for, and some actual triggers – a vast improvement from PS3′s plastic-fantastic dual-shock monstrosity.

Software

It’s interesting how the market divide is so clear this time around, after the scrabble to follow the Wii into the mainstream in gen-seven.

This time, the Xbox One is pitching itself firmly at the centre-of-your-living-room spot, offering the ability to input and control your TV and more. It’s family friendly, easy to use, its interface is clean and user-efficient and it’s good with the kids. The ability to switch on the fly between applications is great fun, and there’s more interactive action to come.

Meanwhile, with an advertising tagline like ‘This is for the players’, Sony are clearly going for the hardcore crowd, targeting the disgruntled gamers who like their console to be just that – a console first, and a media centre second.

As a member of the latter party, this makes me lean towards Sony’s sleek black box – even if I’m still not a fan of Sony’s user interface. I don’t like having to scroll left and right quite so much.

Launch titles

So, the consoles themselves are pretty much the same when it comes to hardware, but differ considerably on software and core focus. So, once again the battleground comes down to the games.

Sony’s launch line-up is arguably the weakest. Ignoring the ports and roll-over from last gen (Black Flag, Battlefield 4 and Ghosts), Sony offers a few sports games, Killzone: Shadow Fall and platformer Knack. Woohoo… Microsoft, meanwhile, offers Forza 5, Dead Rising 3 and the Roman-em-up Ryse: Son of Rome.

Even for the long history of console launches this is pretty poor, on both sides. Sure, Xbox has the edge with slightly more games, but both formats lack the triple-A best-selling title the consoles deserve – Xbox has to wait for Titanfall and a new Halo before it can stick that medal on, while Infamous: Second Son awaits on the PS4.

And the winner is…

So, after all that, where do I stand on buying my one gen-eight console? Honestly? Nowhere. I’m not going to buy one. Not yet.

It’s too early in this generation to part with my money on a few underwhelming launch titles, untested hardware and promises of triple-A titles which are yet to appear (I’m looking at you, Watch Dogs).
Ask me again in a year. In the meantime, I have a library of triple-A seventh-generation titles to enjoy.

Have you bought an eighth-generation console? Which one are you leaning towards? Have your say in the comments box below.

Where does your allegiance lie? Or do you even care?

Where does your allegiance lie? Or do you even care?