Xbox One vs. PlayStation 4

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Posted December 7, 2013 by Robert Steltenpohl in Video Games

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Next generation of gaming is here people. It’s arrived. We have endured almost a year of low blows, people being fired, and a lot of flip-flopping. It has been built up with anticipation for everyone and I am so glad it’s here. No more twitter battles, memes, and debates over, which is better or more powerful.  It’s here and the winner is … The Gamers? Sure, why not.

I have the privilege of having both systems and I have spent quite a bit of time with them. I have had both systems since the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, so no great loyalties one way or the other. I am going to compare and contrast from a gamer perspective, with no computer programming background. I won’t bore you with technical specs of each system. I am just going to break down these main comparisons:

1)   Dashboard

2)   Digital downloading

3)   Camera use

4)   Controller

5)   Games

DASHBOARD

PS4-dashboard

The PlayStation 4 has significantly changed their dashboard and that is a great thing. I, for one, was not a fan of the PS3 dashboard. Honestly, I hated it. I was exhausted from the convoluted labyrinth I had to drudge through just for data management. The new dashboard on the PS4 is leaps and bounds easier. The games and streaming services are all on one straight line to access on the front screen. It’s simple and easy. The utility icons are above the games and are easily distributed for your convenience. Just imagine all of your icons line from the PS3 and bump them up a row replaced by your games and streaming sources. If you have a movie in the system then that’s the first item on your row of games. It’s actually nice. The store is almost the same as before and I guess that’s fine, but I really hate that they use the scrolling letter choosing for searching. Instead, we should be using a keyboard or voice search portal. The biggest positive was that my wife, who doesn’t game but loves Netflix and Hulu, was able to work the system with no problem. The dashboard is simplistic and upgraded from year’s prior, but still has some tweaks to make.

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Xbox 360 might have had one of the best dashboards we have ever seen. Unfortunately, they changed what was working. The Xbox Dashboard is annoying and looks like a collage of apps. There is just so much going on in one screen that it does take your eyes a moment to adjust. I understand the reason. They want everything in one central location. However, for a system that is trying to be everything entertainment, it’s kind of just a blurred together screen of choices. You also have no way to check the space left on your hard drive. Yeah, you read correct. There is no way to check and see how much space you have, unless you pull out pen and paper. The reason why Xbox has such a prosperous Dashboard though is because the voice commands, for general selections, work so well. I can just say “Xbox, play Ryse.”, “Xbox, play Netflix.”, or “Xbox, call Lisa on Skype.” I wish it didn’t take so much for me to get to the options as well. It’s just annoying for a system that claimed “made for the whole family” and my wife couldn’t work through this if I showed her a YouTube video. It seems that Microsoft is trying to immolate Apple and their idea of a central location for all choices. I have the hang of it now, but it shouldn’t have taken me until now to feel comfortable maneuvering through my dashboard.

It’s not by a great amount but this category goes to PS4.

DIGITAL DOWNLOADING

This category might be the most cheer worthy and the biggest headache for the PS4. Downloading has never been faster and easier for PlayStation. I can now start a download and continue playing my game while it downloads. You can set your system to standby and it will download any update or installs, automatically. I love this feature and have used it numerous times already. The negative is that, for some reason, the system freaks out when you accidentally delete a game from dashboard. So here’s what happened, my brother accidentally deleted his FIFA DG from the dash. To save time, we just grabbed my copy and used that. There is an install for the disk and we waited for it. Played for a while, set up the game to re-download while we slept, and went to bed. The next morning, the game was stuck in an error. The game downloaded only enough to play the demo version. It couldn’t download the full game because the install from the disk was on the system. It made no sense. So after an hour of deleting, installing, and many negative thoughts towards the system, it worked. I called Sony and spoke with them about this and they told me, “Your system is made to either play the disk or play the digital download. You can’t mix the two.” I understand that this maybe a dumb thing to gripe about but it seems like a lot of hoops for a simple error. There is also no queue for your downloads. If you want to download a game and some DLC for it, the system just downloads all three at the same time. It can take forever. There needs to be a way to organize this in a better way. Overall, this is a fantastic upgrade but has got to be touched up a bit.

This category is probably where Xbox prospers most. You can download and play at the same time. There is a queue for your downloads and it promptly tells you, yes tells you, when the game is finished. I don’t have a lot to say about it. It’s convenient and easy. I love it.

I give the Xbox One the victory here.

CAMERA USE

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Let me start off by saying that the PlayStation Eye was a pretty good product that Sony failed to invest in. That usually seems to follow with them and their accessories for systems. I’m looking at you controller keyboard. However, the PlayStation Eye 2.0 is an upgrade and has some great uses early on for this system. The voice recognition is basic and is really only good for a handful of uses, but its camera is used quite a bit. Twitch, which has become my favorite thing to do lately, incorporates the camera so you can easily interact with your viewers. The camera picks up your voice really well and can be used as a speaker for when you are playing games with your friends. I wouldn’t suggest using it over a headset, but it will suffice for the time being. It should have been the first camera we received last generation, but if it’s supported, this accessory could prosper.

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Kinect 2.0 is fantastic. It’s simple as that. The upgrade from 360’s camera is pretty cool and useful for most of your needs. The voice commands are pretty spot on and it’s just awesome walking into a room and saying, “Xbox, on.” It recognizes your voice and logs you in by your facial recognition. It’s some Star Trek tech that is gimmicky but cool as crap to use.

Xbox One takes another category.

CONTROLLER 

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This is a category that Playstation 4 grew immensely in. If there were an award for “Most Improved”, then it would go to the PS4 controller. The controller is actually made for actually human hands now. The triggers don’t make you feel like a double-jointed circus freak. The sticks are better made and griped for longevity of gaming. It feels like a controller that is better in almost every way. They also added the nifty touch pad to the controller.  Right now, it’s mainly used to bring up maps or call timeouts, but the future of the button could be really cool to see. The share button is probably the coolest feature of the controller. After a quick set up, you can start streaming or sharing with a touch of a button. This button is leaps and bounds better than it’s predecessor and I couldn’t be happier.

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The Xbox One controller is still fantastic. The triggers fit, the controller fits perfectly in your hands, and they got rid of the battery pack in the back of the controller. It’s a great controller, once again. The only set back is the controller is a bit smaller and the bumper location makes your reach for it, but it doesn’t take too much away from the positives.

This is the one category that is a wash. Both are great for their consoles.

Games

            This category, like every category, is completely subjective. I am going to focus on the exclusives for both systems. If you want to look at cross console games, I believe it’s easy to see that PS4 has more detail and it’s better looking.

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PlayStation has 4 exclusives: Resogun, which is a blast and probably the best game of both consoles. Killzone is a fun, gorgeous game that is good but it’s nothing special. War Frame is the fun free to play game that has been surprisingly enjoyable game. DC Universe Online, the free Sony MMO that has slightly better visuals but is still the same “funnish” game.

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The Xbox One gave us three exclusive games: Ryse, I loved this game. It’s fun, action packed, and absolutely stunning in gameplay. DeadRising, the zombie killing, weapon crafting game that is fun but just a rehash of last generations version. Killer Instinct is a remake of the classic fighter that brings new art, new action, and a new commentator (that is obviously having a blast doing it.) It is free to play with Xbox Live, however you are only allowed one playable character and have to pay $20 for the other characters.

I give this category to Playstation, due to diversity, more variety, and just better games at launch.

Ultimately, it’s up to you. If you have always followed Xbox, then you will probably love an Xbox One. The system plays beautiful games and is built for any type of entertainment you desire. You will deal with some ridiculous installs and the feeling that the system felt rushed out the door. The Sony fanatics will still love their Playstation 4. The system won’t treat you like the first 3 months of the Playstation 3 launch. It’s sleek, quiet, and built for the gamers. You will still deal with some of Sony’s awkward choices on certain items and the annoying Playstation store. This decision comes down to two things 1) What are you looking for? Gaming or all around entertainment. 2) Are you willing to pay $100 difference?


About the Author

Robert Steltenpohl

I'm a teacher from Georgia. I love sports, video games, comics, and movies. I think the Bioshock series tells the best story ever in video games.