It’s no secret that two of the most anticipated next-gen gaming consoles are about to go head-to-head: PS4 vs Xbox One. While some Sony and Microsoft fans are aware of some of the specs that separate the two systems, most people can’t tell the difference between the two, so we’re going to try to educate everyone here.
PS4 vs Xbox One Showdown
In reality, there are a couple key of differences between the PS4 and Xbox One, which we will highlight here.
PlayStation 4: Dynamic Menu and Game Sharing
First, let’s talk about the new interface for the PlayStation 4. Dubbed the “Dynamic Menu,” it implements all the PS3’s social features into the home screen. With the Dynamic Menu, you can see game updates and livestreams of gameplay from your friends, as well as access your games and other content in a tiled scheme.
One of the most exciting features of the PS4 is game sharing, which allows you to use the games you’ve downloaded to your PS4 on any other PS4, just as long as you’re logged in to your PSN account. With game sharing, other users on your system may also play any games you’ve downloaded, without having to be logged in. As with the PS3, you still have the option of sharing your game disks (which are not region locked), but now you can do the same with your digital downloads. With a standard-feature 500 GB, easily swappable hard drive, you can have a huge library of games that you can effectively play on any PS4 in the world and share with friends.
Another of the major advantages that the PS4 has over the Xbox One is the fact that you can access Hulu, Netflix, and other streaming services (and of course, the normal Internet browser) without PlayStation Plus, while the new Xbox One requires an “Xbox Live” subscription in order to use these same services. All is not roses, however, as you will need a “PlayStation Plus” subscription in order to play online multiplayer games, which is one major difference between the PS4 and its predecessors, and a mild sore point among gamers.
Xbox One: Kinect and HDMI Pass-Thru
One of the strongest features of the Xbox One has been the Kinect motion controller accessory. The device has been re-engineered with an infrared blaster, which can convert your voice commands into IR commands. The IR blaster will allow you to control your Xbox One and other home theater devices from the comfort of your couch, or anywhere else within the Kinect’s microphone range. The Kinect can also recognize up to six different people on the same console, remembering which controller you’re holding and which player you are, and as a result you can switch controllers mid-game and still play the same character.
The Kinect also has a new fitness functionality, which lets you train to programs, like P90X and Insanity, using an interactive touch to enhance your experience. Two of these features are muscle mapping and pulse detection. Muscle mapping measures which muscles are engaged during your workout, and provides pointers to give you better results. As for pulse, the Kinect can detect “micro-fluctuations” in skin to calculate your heart rate, at a range of up to 10 feet. Pretty amazing technology for a home gaming console!
Another innovative feature of the Xbox One is the HDMI Pass-Thru, which allows the system to accept an HDMI feed from other devices, letting you watch TV, connect to your PC, or even use another gaming console without having to switch the input on your television set.
“Snap mode” is another new feature in the Xbox One’s interface, which lets users display multiple things on the screen at once, allowing you to play a game while doing other things on their Xbox at the same time, like watch TV or browse the Internet.
The Xbox also got a revamp to its multiplayer system with “SmartMatch,” a system that allows you to search for a multiplayer game while you do other things on your system, and a new addition to the reputation system. Similar to the approach in GTA V Online, the new reputation system pairs you with players in your range: if you have a bad reputation, you will be paired up in games with similar players; the same goes for good players. While some say that this is the best way to enrich the online experience, others argue that it might be too easy for someone to give another player a bad reputation out of spite. Xbox One has since come out to say that warnings will be given before any action takes place, and bad ratings will be investigated before a reputation is graded down.
Finally, a word on DRM (digital rights management). Many gamers were outraged in the days following E3 when Microsoft revealed its new draconian DRM policy, which prevented the resale or lending of game disks and required the console to connect to the Internet every 24 hours in order to verify licensing. After the backlash, Microsoft reverted the DRM system back to the Xbox 360’s method of rights management, allowing disks to be swapped or sold between gamers. Xbox also has a similar game sharing feature to the PS4, which links digital games to your account.
PS4 vs Xbox One – Pricing
- The PS4 has a starting price tag of $399 when it hits stores on November 15.
- The Xbox One has a starting price tag of $499 when it hits stores on November 22.
The new generation of consoles is exciting — better systems will allow developers the opportunity to play and experiment with the new platforms’ capabilities, providing better games in the process. Whether you prefer the cost-effective and share-friendly PS4, or the new and improved Kinect and multiplayer features of the Xbox One, the PS4 vs Xbox One battle will end up benefiting you in the long run!