PS4 vs Xbox: Why I chose to buy the Xbox One


Unless you’ve been hiding in an airport with Snowden for the past few weeks you’ve probably heard about the recent release of the PS4 and the upcoming release of the Xbox One gaming consoles.  This is a pretty exciting time for gamers such as myself.  While I would love to own both of the new consoles, I’m trying out this whole “fiscally responsible adult” thing – so I’m just going to buy one expensive gaming system, haha.  So why did I choose the Xbox One?  Before I get to that, I want to mention that both consoles have their positives and negatives, and both are similar enough in their overall capabilities and offerings that I think it makes sense to go with whichever console maker you had from the previous generation.  PS3 owners will probably love the PS4, and Xbox 360 owners are probably going to love the Xbox One.  If you were a diehard PS3 fan chances are you are playing PS4 now and not reading this blog.  If you have a 360 at home, chances are you’re reading up on the Xbox One game reviews in preparation for Friday.  I was excited to get the chance to play my friend’s PS4 over the weekend and there were some really cool things it can do (such as livestreaming video game footage from your console to other consoles) that left me impressed.  And to tell the truth, after Microsoft announced their DRM / used game policies in the summer AND the price was announced as $100 more than the PS4, I was ready to jump ship.  So please don’t get the idea that I’m some PS4 hater.

And just for further validation that I like games in general, and am not some Microsoft crony, here’s my console gaming pedigree:

  • NES
  • SuperNES
  • Sega Genesis
  • Sega Saturn (yeah, that’s right)
  • Sony Playstation
  • Sega Dreamcast (uh huh)
  • Nintendo 64
  • Xbox
  • Playstation 2
  • Xbox 360

So back to the main story.  Why did I chose the Xbox One? Let’s go ahead and break down both consoles to see how their components stack up to one another.

System hardware

As far as the system design itself, the PS4 gets points for style, size and weight.  It has a smaller footprint and also doesn’t require an external power brick.  The Xbox One is larger than the PS4, and also larger than its own predecessor, the Xbox 360.  The good news for Xbox One (and PS4) is that both systems have been reported as running cool and quietly.  As for the controller, both consoles made improvements over their previous generation, with the PS4 controller being a large improvement over the PS3 and the Xbox controller being a small improvement over the already highly-regarded Xbox 360 controller.  New features for the PS4 controller include a touchpad and on the Xbox there are highly sensitive rumble motors (sounds dumb but has gotten positive reviews).  For me personally, the system design itself is not the biggest deal – the controller is a bit more important for me because thats what I’m going to be holding.  I liked the Xbox 360 controller a lot more than the PS3 controller so while both are improved in this new generation, I still have to lean towards Xbox One.

TLDR: Xbox One wins

User Interface

While I haven’t used the Xbox One yet, I did try out the PS4 and after using the operating system on it I came away unimpressed.  Reviews for the Xbox One operating system have been mostly positive, with many sites agreeing that Microsoft has done a better job with their operating system.  Not to mention the deep integration of the Kinect which allows for instantaneous switching between, and controlling, apps and games using your voice.  PS4 does have some voice control but Xbox has them beat in voice commands (see comparison video in the Camera section below).  To be fair, reviews have reported mixed results as far as the consistency of the Kinect recognizing the voice commands – chances are this will be improved with software updates.  The PS4 may gain more voice control through updates.  Both systems can switch between games and apps, and resume games very quickly.  The Xbox OS does allow for switching between more apps before you have to close one than the PS4 because of how the software was designed (I believe there are two operating systems running in tandem on Xbox).  The Xbox OS also allows for snapping an app to the side of the screen so you can do two things at once, ie play a game and surf a website, listen to music, or a number of other things that the ADHD generation might enjoy.

TDLR: Xbox One wins


Ah, graphics.  To some people, this is the most important part of a console.  While I would agree graphics are VERY important for a gaming console, having the most powerful graphics on paper is not.  Last generation the PS3 was said to have superior graphics capabilities but the truth of the matter is, when it came to comparing the same title on each console, you had a 50-50 chance as to which one would look better.  At the end of the day it was on the developers.  This early in the console’s cycle, the graphics have not really reached what the next generation is capable of for either system.  With the PS4 and Xbox One, the graphical gap between some launch titles does seem wider than in the previous generation.  I don’t think there is any doubt that the PS4 has better specs for pushing sheer numbers of polygons or pixels. There has been a lot of talk of 1080p and/or 60fps, and the Xbox’s inability to handle that on games, while the PS4 can (see COD: Ghosts, Battlefield 4, Assassin’s Creed 4).  Many of the reviews I’ve read mention in side-by-side comparisons, PS4 does look better.  You can see some side by side comparisons in the video embedded below (make sure to watch in full screen and high resolution).  Another reoccurring theme I’ve read is that the Xbox One is still such an improvement over the 360/PS3, and the difference between the 1080p or 720p resolutions is not major enough to make them prefer one console version outright over another (considerations such as the system’s controller still come into play, for example).  Also, Forza 5 and Ryse, both exclusives for the Xbox One, are some of the best looking games out now on either system.

TLDR: PS4 wins

(Launch) Games

So like I said before I’m a gamer.  I like games.  I have no problem admitting both systems will have some amazing exclusive titles coming up.  So I don’t see the point of trying to compare all the possible exclusives coming out for either system – that comes down to which one someone prefers.  But if we’re comparing launch titles, the consensus I’ve read (sorry I don’t feel like collecting sources for every thing I’ve read haha) say that the PS4 exclusive launch titles are nothing to write home about.  The Xbox One reviews are coming in this week and while not a LOT better than the PS4 titles, they do seem to be doing better.  This is according to reviews.  The joke for the past week or so has been that the PS4’s highest rated game is Flower.  And yes, its about a flower.  Killzone, the exclusive PS4 shooter, while pretty, has not gotten high reviews.  I’m going with the cross-platform Battlefield 4 as the top FPS out right now.  Personally the Xbox One line-up seems stronger.  I am more interested in Forza 5, Dead Rising 3, Ryse and Killer Instinct than Flower, Resogun, and Sound Shapes – the highest rated exclusive PS4 games (all indie games, interestingly).

TLDR: Xbox wins


Since both systems have cameras available, its fair to compare them.  It should be apparent the anyone that follows gaming news that, just like the PS4 is more graphically capable, the Kinect camera is superior to the PS Eye.

Here is a comparison video from IGN

Here is an older video that shows some other capabilities of the Xbox OS and Kinect voice control (apparently software accuracy has been improved since this video was made, as you can see demoed in the above link)

TLD…. yeah Xbox wins


Both systems are lacking in any kind of real multimedia support at the moment. Both can play Blurays and audio CDs but thats about it. No support for playing any media from drives you might plug in.  Xbox can stream music from a Windows PC – I’m not sure if PS4 currently has that capability.  Both systems will surely be adding multimedia capabilities in the future.  Xbox does have an advantage in that it has HDMI in and so you can plug in your cable line directly into the Xbox and use the Xbox to control your tv and cable surfing.  Apparently there are still some kinks to work out but it is a feature that is not available on PS4.  PS4 does have livestreaming of game footage via Twitch, which is very very cool.  Microsoft had promised this feature before the launch of the Xbox One and has announced they will be adding this feature in early 2014.  So that is a temporary victory for PS4 but overall Xbox is winning in multimedia.

TLDR: Xbox wins

So there you have it.  Out of the 6 categories I could think of that cover the aspects of the game consoles, PS4 wins 1 and Xbox wins 5.  Although having slightly better graphics is nice, I think Xbox One is the right choice for me.

Let me know what your next gen plans are in the comments.  Got a PS4? Getting an Xbox One? Waiting till your tax refund comes in the spring to get one?

 Some Links:

Graphical comparisons

Xbox One reviews (some are still coming out)

PS4 reviews