PS4 vs. Xbox One: Which Console Is Right for You? (Beginner Friendly)
Growing up, I remember playing Super Nintendo for hours in the garage. I would have friends over and we would eat pizza and play Mario Party, Mario Kart, and Super Smash Bros. Over time, online gaming became more popular and players began to flock to Xbox and PlayStation for console exclusives like Halo, Spyro, Shadow of the Colossus and more.
Today, Nintendo is still a popular platform, but players continue to buy Xbox and PlayStation consoles in much higher numbers because of the large player bases, online play, and media capabilities. So which one should you buy and why? Well, there are several factors such as media app functionality and console exclusives.
When you pick up a new title, whether it will actually run is the least of your worries. Thankfully, and unlike PC, games for consoles are designed to run on specific hardware, as there aren't tons of different configurations such as CPU and GPU performance. Yes, consoles are designed to run smoothly, regardless of the title that you're playing.
There is but one difference in performance between Xbox and PS4. It doesn't have anything to do with usability or how games play, but if you sit down on the couch and you are just itching to get a game going, PS4 will boot up faster from off. Again, this won't impact usability, and probably isn't going to influence your purchasing decisions, but if you already own, or are thinking about getting a PS4, rest easy knowing that you will be able to get a game going pronto.
PS4 Compatibility with PS£ and XBOX One with XBOX 360 has been a very raged debate in tech world since the beginning.
The question all gamers were asking before the launch is: Will the huge stack of games that already have for the PS3 and/or Xbox 360 be playable in the new consoles? There is some good news and some bad news.
The bad news first — the answer to question posed in the first paragraph is no; at least neither console will not be able to play prior console hard copy DVD games at first.
- The PS4 will not initially be able to play PS3 games. The Xbox One will not initially be able to play Xbox 360 games. And now, you can have the good news.
- Digital downloads of games through the PlayStation network (PSN) can be streamed to your PS4, and they will look even better than they did on the PS3.
- There will also be many PS1, PS2 and PS3 titles available for purchase and streaming to your PS4 through the Cloud network.
- That is exciting stuff! There is also the possibility that if you place your PS3 into the PS4 that the PS4 will recognize the DVD and stream the game from PSN (this is not verified).
- Sony is also rumored to be working on POSSIBLY installing backward compatibility for PS3 DVD games in the PS4, so you may elect to keep several of your favorite PS3 games.
- Microsoft has not been as open as to how they are going to handle the 360 games. I could not find any solid information on the ability to stream 360 games to the XB1.
- As a matter of fact, it sounds like Microsoft has no plans to make 360 titles available on the XB1 without buying the new game for Xbox One.
- This may change in the future, as there are sure to be screams of protest from many gamers about this issue, and MS has listened to customer feedback recently.
- Both the Xbox One and PS4 are releasing many of the most popular games to their new consoles in updated formats, so your favorite titles will be available.
- You will just have to pay $60 for the Xbox One updated game for that system. PS4 users may be able to stream the games from the PSN.
- The one good thing about both systems is that both new consoles support the gamer profiles and avatars created from PS3 and XB360, with updated and improved graphics and larger avatar pictures.
- You can access almost all of your achievements, trophies, saved files, and other digital content through PSN and XBL.
- Neither of the consoles’ controllers are backwards compatible, but Xbox One and PS4 both support the prior systems’ headsets for use with the new systems.
Quick Spec Summary
Xbox One Specs: Features And Upgrades To The Console:
So, what can these new upgraded consoles actually do?! How has Microsoft improved on the very successful Xbox 360 console? Let’s take a look and find out.
- Processor and Graphics: 1.6 GHz 64-Bit x86 Processor, with 8 Jaguar cores. AMD Radeon GPU card with 768 cores and 1.23 TFLOPS Peak Shader throughput
- RAM and Storage: 8 GB RAM, GDDR3 Memory processor + 32MB eSRAM Embedded Cache memory 500 GB Hard Drive
- Optical Drive: Standard Blu-Ray / DVD Drive
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Optical Out, USB 3.0, 4K HDMI In/Out throughput
- Controllers: Xbox One controllers have upgraded the 360 controllers by adding Impulse triggers for better feedback and redesigning the D-Pad and Thumb-stick.
- Exterior Dimensions: 13.2” x 2.97” x 10.86”.
PS4 Specs: Features And Upgrades To The Console:
- CONSOLE Processor and Graphics: 1.6 GHz 64-Bit x86 Processor, with 8 Jaguar cores. AMD Radeon GPU card with 1152 cores and 1.84 TFLOPS Peak Shader throughput
- RAM and Storage: 8 GB RAM, GDDR5 Memory processor 500 GB Hard Drive
- Optical Drive: Standard Blu-ray / DVD Drive
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Optical Out, USB 3.0, 4K HDMI In Bluetooth 2.1 enabled
- Controllers: PS4 Dual Shock 4 controllers have a new design, compared to the PS3 Dual Shock controllers. The PS4 controllers feature a center track pad and Move motion control.
- Exterior Dimensions and Weight: 12” x 2” x 10.8”
Controllers vs Headsets?
Xbox One Controller & Its Headset
- Although both the XB360 and PS3 controllers got mixed reviews from gamers, more gamers seemed to prefer the Xbox controller to the PlayStation controller.
- One gaming site even called the Xbox 360 controller “the best video game controller ever made”. Xbox One made a few upgrades to the XB360 controller, but kept the basic design and touch-and-feel that made the 360 controller successful.
- “Essentially, Microsoft has increased the number of force feedback motors in the Xbox One controller, allowing for more subtle rumble in localized parts of the pad. In one FPS-style demo we played, a virtual hand held out a pistol.
- Firing the pistol with the controller’s right trigger resulted in simulated recoil occurring on just that part of the controller.
- In another demo, which had the same virtual hand magically spawn a fire ball, we could ‘feel’ the explosive projectile explode from the center of the controller and out towards your fingers.
- It was an impressive effect.” CVG.com Here are some of the most important of the 40 improvements to the wireless 360 controller:
- Improved Force Feedback: Significantly increased motors and sensitive areas in the controller provide huge improvements in the amount of feedback gamers can feel while playing. There is even “rumble” inside the triggers so your fingers can feel everything.
- Improved D-Pad design: Tighter and more accurate, with clicks for button depressions.
- Pads have been re-designed for comfort
- The battery pack has been relocated to spread the weight of the controller out more evenly.
- The control sticks have had their “dead zones” minimized — more acuity.
- According to several articles: Every gamer / journalist that had a chance to test the Xbox One controller thought that it was better than the 360, and that is saying something.
- Ability to plug in controller with the USB port for online gaming data
- Lithium-Ion battery: No more AA batteries. Charge while you play with a 9’ charging cable. Includes battery fuel gauge on console.
- Charges while you play, or even while system is on ‘stand-by’ mode. 4 Hour complete charge.
- ~$74.95 MSRP for controller, with charging cable system and $60 for just the controller with battery.
You can also buy only the charging system for $25. Xbox One Chat Headset:
- Fits either ear
- Digital audio output
- Connects to Xbox One controller — No batteries • Lightweight for long gaming sessions
- Can be used for Skype • $24.95 for additional headsets.
PS4 DualShock 4 Controller And Playstation 4 Headset
Sony listened to the concerns of users and significantly upgraded the PS3 controller, while still keeping the character of the iconic controller.
Improvements in the new PS4 controller include:
- All of the buttons and sticks have been redesigned for added sensitivity
- Touch Pad has been added at top of controller
- The bottom triggers have been thinned and curved more, so that they fit the fingers better
- Large LED light on top of controller is an indicator light that blinks when life is low or a player has taken major damage. The light also indicates players with different colors. • New Share button for social media interaction • Built in mono speaker and headphone jack
- Additional motors for increased vibrations during Dual-Shock sensations
- Comes in standard black and later in Magma Red and Wave Blue
- ~$59 MSRP PS4 Headset:
- PS4 console comes with a simple mono headset with a wired ear bud that plugs into the Dual-Shock controller
- PS4 supports the wireless PS3 headset (not included with PS4 console)
Who Wins The Interface Race?
- The PS4 user interface is all about speed and simplicity. The idea is to get users out of the interface and playing games or downloading content as soon as possible.
- The PS4 interface is similar to PS3, so it should look familiar to users of the prior Sony product. However, navigation is routed through new menus, instead of giving users a drop-down list as in PS3. Sony also upgraded its PS4 navigation to include text and voice chat functionality.
- Perhaps the most important feature of the new UI is how quickly a user can get from the interface and into live gameplay.
- The Xbox 360 design for its interface was carried over in a similar design for the XB1 interface. The XB1 interface is very clean and simple. Microsoft also put an emphasis on getting users to their destinations quickly and painlessly.
- The main screen has large input areas that are populated with recently used games and applications, so that users can click on one item and get going.
- There are also ‘You might also like’ offerings that will be used primarily as commercials.
- When users get into the main interface grid, they are offered some helpful links, including recent games, Bing internet search and live TV.
- The biggest upgrade, like PS4, is in the speed of navigation while inside the interface. The speed while leaving the interface and entering live game play and other functions is also impressive.
Support for Hulu Live Channels
As many Americans and people across the developed world have, I've chosen to ditch my cable contract in favor of a more flexible, cheaper TV option. Specifically Hulu Live Channels. You'd think that with the massive popularity of services such as Hulu and Netflix, you'd assume that an entertainment app would run the same on all platforms. So what's the problem?
Well, Hulu Live Channels doesn't run on PS4. The Hulu app does. You can watch your favorite content from Hulu and use it as it was originally created, but when you try to load Hulu Live Channels you are alerted with a message that says that you cannot watch live TV or any on-demand programs that are brought to you by the Live Channels feature. I can only speculate as to why this is but it sucks. As someone who almost exclusively uses their console for TV, Sony makes it really difficult for me and people like me to justify a PS4.
Beyond The Console
Here are some of the additional features that the PlayStation 4 offers:
- Remote Play: Use the PlayStation Vita portable system as a second screen by connecting to your PS4. Play PS4 titles on the Vita with friends on Wi-Fi.
- PlayStation Plus: A large collection of games, including indie game. Includes multi-player and online gaming experiences, with worldwide chat. Your PS+ subscription carries over from PS3.
- Share button on the Dual-Shock controller allows you to scan back several minutes of game play, tag and upload video as you play. Or, you can broadcast game play in real-time.
- PlayStation App: Allows you to view in-game items, purchase items, or watch other gamers play through a second screen — I-phone, I-Pad, or other Android device.
- Play as you download games or updates: PS4 downloads a short segment and then allows you to play while the rest of the item downloads in the background.
- Curated content: Pre-loads games by your favorite creators or in genres. Includes content shared by friends and recommended games, TV shows and movies.
- PS4 will have free Party Chat and Cross Game chat, even without PS+ subscription
- PS4 has ‘suspend’ mode, so you can jump back into a game seamlessly.
- Users can instantly switch for game mode to apps.
- The 500GB hard drive can be replaced and upgraded.
- You can log into any PS4 via PSN and access your profile and purchases for playing on your friends’ PS4.
Xbox One offers are large array of features beyond the main console. Microsoft has raised the bar with its impressive selection of features, including the ability to easily network with other gamers and use the Xbox One has a one-stop shop for all of your media tasks.
Some of the highlights of the features for Xbox One:
- All in One Input system: Control all of your networks through one interface — your XB1 console
- Voice-Activated controls — start your system, sign in to your accounts and check your messages before you even sit down to play. Switch from gaming to TV to recorded shows, all with voice commands. Turn on music, as well.
- Interactive Community: Use Skype to talk to friends, interface with Game DVR to record portions of games and share with friends.
- Xbox Live and Live Gold transfer from Xbox 360: Connect to thousands of games, videos, and songs. You can log into any XB1 and use your account.
- Included Chat Headset: Digital audio clarity for talking to friends while gaming. Great communication for online and multiplayer games. You can also mute and adjust volume without taking your hands off the controller.
Where Consoles really shine is their exclusive titles. These are titles that have been perfected over the years, and generally, have large followings and loyal fans. Games like the Halo series or Uncharted are good examples of this but there are more. Here is a list of console exclusives for the Xbox One and PS4 and a brief description of what you can look forward to.
The Halo series has been around for as long as the Xbox. I remember being a child and playing Halo one and two with my dad and having to be close to the TV because controllers were wired back then.
Play as Master Chief or various Spartans as you fight the hoards of alien creatures known as the Covenant, who go through various stages of war with the Human race during the game series. Halo is a Science Fiction, First-Person-Shooter that takes place on multiple planets and with multiple characters depending on the game. It's fast-paced, has a large selection of weapons as well as a flourishing PvP following.
Sea of Thieves
Sea of Thieves is an expansive, open world MMO for Xbox One and PC (with Xbox live account). Instead of being a first-person shooter, this is a pirate game. Choose your pirate from the Infinite Pirate Generator and play either solo or with friends. Explore islands, dive for treasure and sail the open seas searching for treasure and mystery.
With features like owing and customizing your own ship and working with a crew, Sea of Thieves is a unique multiplayer experience that fans of the genera will love.
God of War
God of War is one of those games that have been around for multiple generations. The newest title in the series follows Kratos and his Demigod son. After Kratos' wife passes away, Kratos embarks on a journey to spread her ashes on the highest peak of the nine realms.
The Game revolves around the dynamic between Kratos and his son Atreus and features hack and slash gameplay and characters from Norse Mythology. The game was received very well and is definitely a must play for PS4 owners.
The Persona series is one of the series in the popular Shin Megami Tensei universe and follows various groups of high school kids in Japan as they develop friendships, join school clubs and sports and defeat monsters with powers called Persona. Persona are characters from various mythology who you can contract to fight for you in battle.
Persona 5 follows a group of kids who must travel through worlds created by twisted adults who are corrupt and have committed crimes and gotten away with them. Play detective as you solve puzzles to get through each area and defeat monsters in turn by turn, party battles.
Persona 5 has hours and hours of gameplay and completionists will appreciate the wide array of objectives and quests to complete as well as the vast amount of social links that you can form with other people in the school by joining clubs and helping people.
Shadow of the Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus is a game that I've played a lot over the years. It's out of the ordinary and it has an ominous tone throughout the game. You aren't given much of an objective, except to defeat the colossus beasts that roam the land.
Each colossus that you face features unique challenges and ways to defeat them, giving you a sense of pride upon defeating each boss. The game isn't incredibly long, but it is definitely worth playing if you like Legend of Zelda like gameplay and huge bosses that you can climb around on.
Uncharted is in the same genera as tomb raider and features much exploration to exotic locations and ruins in search of treasure and adventure.
The play style is very heavily geared toward exploration, with some fighting. Unlike a lot of games today, fighting isn't really the main purpose of the game and only exists to further the plot and keep you interested. Fun for people who like exploration and treasure hunting.
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The Last of Us
The Last of Us is a survival thriller that follows the main character through apocalyptic cityscapes and Zombie infested buildings and countryside as they attempt to find a cure, which is supposedly contained in the blood of a young girl.
The main objective of the game is to transport the girl to the people who would use her to create a cure. The Last of Us is a cinematic marvel and features emotional cutscenes and lots of zombie killing and puzzles.
There are others as well, including some indie titles, but these are popular games for both systems. As you can see, PlayStation has done a great job at maintaining a relatively diverse selection of thriving exclusives, some of which have been around for generations and have been some of the cornerstones of PlayStation's success.
Microsoft, by comparison, does not have a ton to offer aside from the Halo series, although Halo is a great series of games and almost makes an Xbox worth the cost just for the franchise. Ultimately though, Sony wins out here by fostering loyal relationships with developers and maintaining great games, along with the cross-platform classics like the Elder Scrolls series, Call of Duty, Minecraft and more.
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The PS4 and Xbox have pretty different controllers. Ultimately they will both get the job done, but the PlayStation controller has a bit more going for it.
The Xbox One S controller features wireless connectivity, Bluetooth and requires either a battery pack or AA batteries to use. The connection to PC isn't awesome and in my experiece is difficult to reconnect each time that you turn it on. The battery packs for Xbox One and One S controllers aren't great and don't last a whole long time before needing a charge.
The PS4 controller also features wireless connectivity and Bluetooth. The PS4 controller also has a built-in battery that lasts a lot longer than the Xbox One controller and lastly, includes a touchpad built in that makes typing with a controller a slightly less frustrating experience.
VR is a great way to experience new and old games alike, such as the Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. The problem? Xbox has no VR. This means that any new VR games that come to console will only be coming to PS4. If VR is your thing, you're going to want to pick us a PS4 and not waste your time with Xbox.
Microsoft and Sony have been duking it out for years to claim the title of the best console. Both manufacturers have come a long way since their first iterations. Some farther than others.
Xbox has pretty much been the same experience with some UI tweaks since the Xbox 360, with not many console exclusives and no hardware attachments for VR, there aren't a lot of compelling reasons to choose Xbox. Sony, on the other hand, has been doing great with their progress with VR as well as their large and diverse selection of console exclusives. Really the only negative here is that Hulu Live Channels doesn't work, but there are other options or if you are love Hulu you can just use a Chromecast.
We are confident that you have all of the information that you need to make an informed purchase now. Ultimately, the decision seems to come down to several questions:
1. What do you want to use your console for? Both consoles have impressive lineups of multimedia offerings, but XB1 has a greater depth in the multimedia arena. If you are looking primarily at a gaming system, perhaps you are more attracted to the PS4 and its possible hardware advantage.
2. How much does the sticker price matter to you? $100 is a lot of money to many gamers. Is the addition of the Xbox Kinect and the multimedia one input system enough incentive to overlook the $100 additional cost for the XB1?
3. How long do you want to wait to buy a system, and what is available for preorder and holiday sales for each console? It is not going to be easy to find available consoles to preorder. Keep your eye on the internet and watch for new bundles becoming available in the weeks to come.
4. What games are you going to be playing? Some of the most popular games are exclusive to one console.
Quite often, certain games are enough reason for some people to justify purchasing one console or the other. One key factor for us was the ability of the PS4 to stream prior PS3 legacy titles via PSN.
5. Are you loyal to Xbox or PlayStation? Some gamers just want to use what they know, unless there is some earth-moving reason to switch.
So what do you think? Xbox or PS4? Have you seen enough in this blog post to change your mind and kick your loyalties to the curb? Let us know in the comments and also let us know if you are a fan of any of these console exclusives or if we left one of your favorites off the list, let us know as well as why you liked it.