Games By Aug. 29, 2014 9:30 am
Which is better: Xbox One or PS4? | Games |

Few topics in our day-to-day lives, like choosing which game console is superior, turn otherwise civil individuals into aggressive combatants. So now it’s time to look at the evidence and answer the question for ourselves. Nearly ten months after the launch of the next-generation consoles, is the PS4 or Xbox One the better platform?

Microsoft and Sony have been battling one another for several generations now, though the PlayStation brand has been on shelves for a full generation longer than the Xbox. The two companies have spent years growing their brands through game exclusives and unique features, but over the last couple of years they have become increasingly similar as they match one another’s offerings.

As a result of this, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 were not only released in the US within weeks of each other, but managed to do so with remarkably similar hardware. Since neither company is making tremendous strides to offer mind-blowing hardware in order to differentiate from the competition, it’s all about the features and what games are available to play.

Which is better: Xbox One or PS4? | Games |

Fighting for the user

Releasing a games console is all about delivering the experience your users want. In the previous generation, Sony stumbled with the user interface because they released something that was a games console first and everything else second. This doesn’t sound like a bad thing, until you realize just how many steps there are in doing things like joining a WiFi network or launching Netflix to watch a movie. By comparison, Microsoft’s user experience in the previous generation was vastly superior. For this generation of consoles, Microsoft took what they had learned and decided to release something that was so much more than just a game console. In doing so, however, Microsoft accidentally put the games part of the console on the back burner.

This isn’t technically a bad thing. Microsoft’s HDMI passthrough for live TV and remarkable voice controls make it a fantastic platform. If you want an entertainment platform that also plays video games, the Xbox One is awesome. In fact, it’s probably the best living room platform you can spend money on today. Unfortunately, it’s not sold as such. It’s sold as a games console, which means the people who play video games look at it and see something that isn’t video games focused, and the people who want an amazing living room platform look at it and see a games console. It floats in the middle without catering to either, and instead of working twice as hard to appeal to both, Microsoft has stuck to traditional console marketing.

Meanwhile, Sony has fixed their user interface and made the PlayStation 4 the ultimate gaming machine. It places gaming front and center, but makes all of the extras accessible and comfortable to use. The PlayStation 4 is able to sit next to the Xbox One and claim that it is made for gamers by gamers and really stand out. Sony focused on making sure the launch titles were of the highest quality, while announcing features like remote play through the PS Vita and the ability to have a friend take over your console and help you out if you get stuck somewhere. It’s a future-thinking games console instead of a future-thinking entertainment platform, and to many that is a big deal.

Which is better: Xbox One or PS4? | Games |

Games for every gamer

In just about every sense of the word, Microsoft’s launch of the Xbox One was a failure. The launch event itself revealed a forward-thinking entertainment platform that offered a lot of fantastic features, but the second that launch event ended everything fell to pieces. Microsoft revealed that the console would require a constant connection to the Internet in order for several of the features to work correctly, and that there was no real way to turn some of those features off. The console was also $100 more expensive that the PlayStation 4 due to the mandatory inclusion of Kinect, and there had been next to no mention of indie game support for the platform. It was a communications nightmare and it is only in the last two months that Microsoft has really started to recover from that.

Sony, on the other hand, made sure to make it clear there would be next to nothing between a game developer and the PlayStation Network. Publishing a game for the PS Vita and the PS4 is so easy that by the time this post is published there are nearly twice as many games available for the PS4 as there are the Xbox One. While Sony and Microsoft are just about neck and neck when it comes to exclusive titles for their respective platforms and support for AAA titles is about the same, Sony has created an environment for indie developers that Microsoft is only beginning to cultivate. The ID @ Xbox program has finally started to draw in developers by the fistful, but we won’t see many of those titles until after the holiday season.

This time next year, I believe it is very likely that Microsoft and Sony will be back to an even footing when it comes to games that are available to each platform. This year, though, as we move into the second holiday season where these platforms are available in stores, the PlayStation 4 has the Xbox One beat.

Which is better: Xbox One or PS4? | Games |

Which is better?

If you’re just looking at which console is superior, there can be no doubt that the PlayStation 4 is top. Microsoft has demonstrated some seriously impressive steps in an attempt to play catch up to the PS4, including releasing a Kinect-free version of the console that price matches the PS4, but going that route removes a significant portion of what makes the Xbox One special.

For now, the PS4 is clearly the better option. However, there’s a single data point when comparing these two platforms that can sway the decision, and that’s whether or not your friends have the same console you have. If they all use Xbox Live and intend to continue using it and Xbox hardware, the PS4 may not even get a look in.

Which is better: Xbox One or PS4? | Games |


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