June 12 2013
Update: The PS4's support of analog output was based on the initial specifications released in February. This week Sony has announced that this will no longer be the case.
With E3 currently taking over the Los Angeles Convention Center, it's only appropriate to offer up a comparison of the next-generation video game consoles that were unveiled in complete detail by Microsoft (Xbox One) and Sony (PlayStation 4) earlier this week.
First off, there are plenty of similarities as expected. Both consoles feature 500 GB of hard drive storage, 8 GB of RAM, an 8 core x86 CPU, a Blu-Ray/DVD optical drive, a game DVR( which grants the ability to record moments of gameplay and share them with friends as well as stream them live), interactivity with cloud storage, online chat across different games, the ability to use motion control, both HDMI and optical output, and a lack of backwards compatibility with software from the previous generations. Second screen experiences with Microsoft's SmartGlass technology for mobile devices and Sony's handheld PS Vita console will be offered, although neither will be packaged with its respective console. Lastly, both trophies and achievements will be ported for anybody who worries about losing their collections.
Now, because they are competing products, it is obvious that there will be significant differences between the two consoles as they each attempt to conquer the market share. The most glaring one is the price point: the Xbox One will have a suggested retail price of $499 whereas the the PS4 will have one of $399. The next significant difference is that users will be able to play used or borrowed games on the PS4 no matter what. This is also possible on the Xbox One, but only by paying full price for the game.
This takes us to another discrepancy between the consoles. The Xbox One will require users to install the game from the disc, possibly removing the need for the disc altogether when playing the game. This is not the case for the PS4. This explains why the utilization of secondhand discs on the Xbox One won't be possible: the retail game disc essentially only acts as the container for an install file, a file that will need to be renewed monetarily if attempted to use again.
Another contrasting detail shows the attempt by Microsoft to embrace the future and leave the past behind. The new Xbox will need a perpetual high-speed internet connection to work
and won't support the use of analog output cables. Sony has decided to forgo both of these decisions with the new PlayStation, possibly trying to corner consumers who aren't able to access a reliable ethernet or WiFi connection and aren't in the possession of an HDTV.
Other small differences include the PS4's support of Bluetooth technology and the Xbox One's confirmed use of voice commands and motion control. Furthermore the Xbox One will come with the Kinect camera peripheral, while the PS4 will not come with it's new Camera. It also remains to be seen if the Xbox One will come packaged with the new headset that’s been developed by Microsoft as Sony has chosen to do with the PS4 and its new headset.
There will also be some exclusive launch titles for each system that people on the fence may be interested in. You will be able to get Ryse: Son of Rome, a hack-and-slash game that sees the player act as a member of the Roman army, Forza Motorsport 5, another entry to the historic racing series, and Dead Rising 3, the third part of the popular zombie-killing game only on Xbox One on the first day. As for the PS4, Killzone: Shadowfall, the fourth in a first-person shooter series that has players involved in a futuristic cold war, Driveclub, and new first-person racing game showcasing the experience of being in an auto club, and Knack, a platformer pitting a robotic creature against a faction of antagonistic goblins, are the titles it will be able to solely lay claim to at launch.
On a side note, due to the sheer size and scope of these new games, it will be interesting to see how the music industry will get involved. Not only will more artists probably be motivated to license their music for the next generation of video games because of all the lucrative possibilities that decision now presents, but it stands to reason that higher profile musicians will be brought in to score entire games themselves. Video games have become increasingly cinematic over the years, and with guys like Trent Reznor and Daft Punk making their mark in the film world recently, it wouldn’t at all be surprising to see the same kinds of people become involved in gaming.
Have fun making a decision.