The holiday season is rapidly approaching and bringing with it the dawn of the next generation consoles. With expected release dates just around the corner the battle between Sony and Microsoft has grown more heated than ever. A near daily onslaught of press releases from both companies showcasing every excruciatingly minute detail of their new consoles has gamers facing a tough decision. With the PS4 and Xbox One set to square off in a head to head bout, everyone has been wondering which console is going to win over our hearts and our wallets. For some devout fans the answer is as simple as manufacturer loyalty, but others are struggling with the decision as if it were Sophie's choice. But regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, it is a decision that can't be taken lightly considering the absurdly expensive costs of the consoles. Sony’s PS4 will be retailing for $399.99 while the Xbox One will cost a whopping $499.99.
I've never purchased an organ on the black market before, but I can only assume that the street value on a kidney is far less than what helpless gamers will be shelling out this December. And I say helpless because we all know that no matter how ridiculous the price tag is we'll still gladly pay it. In all honesty, Sony could announce tomorrow that their new system was made entirely out of kittens, but after seeing the trailer for Second Son, I'd still gladly cough up the money (after making a charitable donation to PETA of course). The reality is that if you're a console gamer then you're going to be taking a shot to the coin purse, literally. Unless you own stock in Facebook or Exon and are planning on picking up both systems, then you've got a tough choice to make in the months ahead. Since you'll most likely be forgoing the purchase of groceries for the foreseeable future in order to save your dough, it's important that your hunger pangs aren't in vain. So which system will justify skipping Christmas presents for the family while you hoard your change like Scrooge McDuck?
On paper both systems are fairly comparable in terms of CPU, but the PS4 gets the nod for GPU superiority. Another intriguing thing to note is the Sony’s inclusion of GDDR5 memory which is considerably faster than the DDR3 found in Microsoft’s boxes. While gamers might not notice the differences, developers could end up preferring one memory architecture over the other after a few cycles with each system. Despite the subtle differences in hardware, just know that games on both consoles are going to be pretty...very, very pretty.
PS4 - 8GB GDDR5
XO - 8GB DDR3
PS4 - Single-chip x86 AMD "Jaguar" processor, 8 cores
XO - 8 Core Microsoft custom CPU
PS4 - AMD Radeon Graphics Core Next engine w/ 1152 shaders
XO - 853 MHz AMD Radeon GPU w/ 768 shaders
PS4 - 500 GB Removable Hard Drive
XO - 500 GB Non-removable Hard Drive
Next to the tech specs, the biggest draw for most is which console will offer the best exclusive content. In recent years a number of major developers have saddled up with Sony tipping the scales in terms of sales. The growing list of developers includes Sucker Punch, Guerilla, and the now household name, Naughty Dog. Although Naughty Dog hasn't announced if Nathan Drake will be making his appearance on the PS4 in 2014, Sony has confirmed that an impressive 20 exclusive titles will be coming to the console in its first year. A few of the games we'll be seeing early on, if not as launch titles, include Killzone 5 and inFamous: Second Son. Surprisingly, Microsoft's unveiling revealed very little about what upcoming software would be accompanying their new hardware, but since then we’ve seen the list grow greatly to include titles such as Titanfall and the highly anticipated next entry in the Halo franchise. Below is a list of games that have been confirmed so far as exclusive content for the next gen consoles. Although the lists may seem small now, there are several more games expected to be announced in the coming weeks in addition to a slew of cross platform titles.
- Halo 5
- Dead Rising 3
- Forza Motorsport 5
- RYSE: Son of Rome
- Quantum Break
- Killer Instinct
- Sunset Overdrive
- Project Spark
- The Order: 1886
- Drive Club
- Infamous: Second Son
- Killzone: Shadowfall
- Deep Down
If any gamers are still undecided as to which console they should dropping their money on there are a few other factors to consider. The reason the XO is the more expensive competitor is because of the Kinect. Microsoft’s new console is fully integrated with the Kinect and allows for player identification and even voice commands. While Sony has decided to sell the PS4 Eye as an add-on for $59. Another big selling point for the battling companies is the improvements made to both controller designs. Sony has finally given their controllers a little more weight to compete with Microsoft’s heftier controllers. They have also improved the shoulder buttons to better mimic actual triggers which was another complaint FPS fans had with the PS3 controllers. There is also a touchpad built into the controller as well as a light for player identification which also responds to being hit. Since Microsoft’s controller has already been a well-crafted vessel for gaming, fewer major adjustments were made. Xbox’s new controller will actually be lighter than in previous generations. Additionally, the controller will still feature the off center thumb stick and trigger buttons that are almost completely resistance free. It'll be hard to say who's controller will be better until users actually get their hands on them, but despite Sony's apparently superior console, it looks like Microsoft may be taking this category.
From what we've seen so far the choice might not be completely clear which console wins outright, but Sony's impressive hardware and slimmer price tag should be enough to sway those on the fence. While the Xbox One is certainly a force to be reckoned with it appears that the PS4 might be the better choice for gamers. At the moment, the list of exclusive content for the Xbox One seems to dwarf that of the PS4's, but we can expect those lists to expand substantially as we near November. It's also been difficult to pinpoint exactly what we should expect in the One when Microsoft has been constantly updating their console to feverishly keep up with the number of presales for Sony's unit. And although Sony still hasn't officially announced when we'll get our hands over their console it's almost a certainty that we should expect it to hit shelves around the same time the Xbox One does. So with both consoles making their way to retailers within the next few months we can expect the campaigns between both companies to heat up. The means that those still undecided will have a few more months of sifting through the propaganda before breaking out their wallets, but for me, my money will be on the PS4 come this fall.