Microsoft Xbox One vs. Sony PlayStation 4

Later this year, for the first time, Microsoft and Sony will go head-to-head with brand new game consoles. While the Xbox 360 had a one year head start on the PlayStation 3, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will release within weeks of each other later this year.

The close release dates makes it harder to buy both consoles at launch. Many will likely have to choose just one console later this year. To help make the decision a bit easier, here’s how the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 stack up against one another based on what we know so far.

Read: Xbox One: 5 Exciting New Features

Games

The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are more aptly referred to as media devices, but their games will help set them apart.

At the Xbox One launch event Microsoft said it would have 15 exclusive games in the first 12 months after launch, including eight from brand new franchises. So far that list includes the new Forza 5 racing game, a new game from the makers of Alan Wake called Quantum Change and Crytek’s ancient Rome action game Ryse. Microsoft only showed brief clips of the former two games, while Crytek’s website says we’ll see the re-emergence of Ryse at E3 next month.

Sony didn’t commit to any hard number of exclusive titles for the PlayStation 4 during its event back in February, though it did show off a few new exclusives. During the presentation Sony showed actual gameplay of a new character-driven platformer from Mark Cerny called Knack and an opening sequence of the upcoming Killzone: Shadow Fall. Sony also showed short clips from the new superhero game Infamous: Second Son and the racing game Drive Club.

Advertisement

Both consoles will also have some exclusive content from games that are otherwise multiplatform. The Xbox One will get the first DLC from Call of Duty: Ghosts and exclusive content for EA Sports titles including FIFA 14 and Madden 25. The PlayStation 4 will get exclusive missions in Ubisoft games Watch_Dogs and Assassins Creed 4. All of those games will come to both consoles, but will be slightly better on one or the other.

Console Hardware

Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are big improvements over their predecessors. While the Xbox 360 and PS3 couldn’t be more different, the tech inside the new consoles is surprisingly similar.

The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 both use custom AMD processors with x86 architecture, similar to processors found in desktop PCs. Both consoles also have 8GB of RAM, which is big for developers and should mean more immersive games. Both consoles also have built-in hard drives for storing games. Sony wouldn’t say how big the HDD inside the PS4 is, saying only that it was “very large.” The Xbox One will use a 500GB internal hard drive.

Console Design

Ultimately, no matter what the consoles do, they’ll have to sit somewhere near a TV where users see them all the time. So what do they look like?

Xbox One

Microsoft’s Xbox One looks a lot like a 1990’s vision of a futuristic VCR that uses Blu-ray discs instead of tapes. It’s just a large, shiny black box with a lot of vents. It’s not ugly, but not particularly interesting.

Unfortunately, the best glimpse Sony gave of PlayStation 4 so far was a 39-second video that showed a blurry black box and close-ups of vents. We don’t know any other details right now.

Controller

With every new console generation the controllers change, at least nominally. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controllers still look familiar, but they have a number of changes.

Xbox_One_controller

The Xbox One controller looks like a more refined version of the current Xbox 360 controller. It has a fixed D-pad that looks better than the one on the 360 controller, slightly redesigned sticks and the buttons appear shallower. The controller also features a newly designed battery compartment that makes the controller easier to hold and has more responsive triggers. Microsoft also built in a new rumble system that can reproduce things like a beating heart or a revving engine.

 

PlayStation_4_DualShock_4_top_viewSony stuck with the familiar DualShock design for the PlayStation 4, but the DualShock 4 has a few added features. The biggest change is the addition of a touchpad that will likely either add to gameplay or only prove useful in menus. The controller also features analog sticks with a concave design, triggers that are easier to use, a light bar for the PlayStation Eye and the new share button. Otherwise, the controller has the same design Sony introduced on the first PlayStation.

Motion and Voice Control

Microsoft and Sony both introduced their own motion control technology during the current generation. While the Kinect and Move were optional accessories, both new consoles wil come with their respective accessories in the box.

Xbox_One_Kinect

The new Kinect has a 1080p camera that can detect more people at once and read more data from those users. The device can detect more points on a user’s skeleton (including finger movement), limb rotation, weight shifts and even the user’s heart rate. The new Kinect can also track controller movement when the player is sitting on the couch, potentially adding new motion features to games.

Kinect can also listen to voice commands, letting the user control the console with simple word commands. Saying “Xbox on” can turn on the console and log the user into their account. From there they can issue basic voice commands to start playing a game, watching a movie or watching TV.

playstation 4 eye

The PlayStation 4 will come bundled with the new PlayStation Eye, which will use the Move controller and presumably track the light bar on the DualShock 4. The device can also stream video when the user is streaming a game. Sony didn’t go into many more details about the device in its presentation.

Online Features

The Xbox One will use Xbox Live, like the Xbox 360, but will add a number of improvements. The new console will let more gamers play multiplayer games at the same time and let developers change and release new achievements for games based on the game’s community. The console will also increase the friends list maximum from 100 to 1000 friends.

The PlayStation 4 will include Facebook integration, making it easier for gamers to connect with their friends. Gamers will have the ability to stream games they’re playing on the PlayStation 4 online either through PlayStation Network or UStream. Sony’s Gaikai technology will also let friends help each other through games. With the cloud gaming technology a friend on the other side of the country can take over control of a game, helping them through difficult portions of the game.

Backwards Compatibility

Unfortunately, neither the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 4 will play games from their predecessors thanks to the new system architectures. Sony may let gamers stream PS3 games in the cloud, but that’s not guaranteed for launch or any time after launch.

Miscellaneous

While there are parallels between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, each have at least one standout feature that help differentiate them.

The Xbox One uses an HDMI passthrough that lets gamers watch TV from their cable box without switching the input. Users can easily control their cable box with Kinect voice commands, and use Snap to open apps next to the live stream.

Microsoft will also include Skype in the Xbox One, letting users video chat with friends and family in 1080p through the Kinect’s camera.

Advertisement

Sony’s major differentiator is its indie game support. Sony will let independent studios publish their own games on the PlayStation 4, something Microsoft wont allow on the Xbox One. Sony wants the PlayStation 4 (and the PlayStation Vita) to become the platform of choice for indie developers, while Microsoft seemingly only wants to deal with major publishers.

Comments

  1. George says

    Perhaps you should have mentioned that the xbox one is using yesterdays slow as fck DDR3 RAM against the PS4’s GDDR5 RAM, and the fact that CPU clock runs 25% faster on PS4, and it has a better GPU with more compute units? And no Windows operating system bloat taking up 3GB of its memory?

    Ah why bother, just say they’re identical eh – most wont understand the details huh.

      • Lulz says

        yep unfortunately, http://n4g.com/news/1262357/microsoft-confirms-xbox-one-os-uses-3gb-ram-5gb-ram-for-games.
        The Playstation 4 is made for gaming and the Xbox one mainly for internet and tv . I have a 360 and now i’m gonna buy the PS4 cause it’s more powerful .
        PS4 : 2ghz CPU(xbox : 1.6ghz) , 7gb for gaming and only 1 for it’s IOS (Xbox : only 5 for gaming) , Graphic card a little bit better than the one on the Xbox One . what else ? The only thing that i like in the xbox one is the Kinect 2 it’s better than the one on the PS4 . And finally one other think , i dunno if you’ve seen the exclusivities of the xbox 360 and compared them to the ones of the PS3 ? Personally i prefer the PS3 games .. The 360 ones are only Fictions games ..

        • emma rex says

          Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job Ive had. Last Monday I got a new Alfa Romeo from bringing in $7778. I started this 9 months ago and practically straight away started making more than $83 per hour. I work through this link, http://Bling6.com

    • Sam Good says

      You can tell this writer prefers MS he glorifies their “media” specs and doesn’t mention the PS4’s raw power and performance.Cuz wen I buy a game console I obviously want DDR3 ESPN over GDDR5 gaming power

  2. george says

    All true, and why do you think ms were so quick to gloss over the specs in favour of this mediabox crap. They know the score spec-wise. They thought Sony would only be able to get 4GB of the fast ram in, they screwed up bigtime on that judgement.

    am sure it will sell shed-loads, but the discerning gamers will know. Wait for multiplatform games to appear and see the texture and speed differences for yourselves.

    • Dominic says

      WTF are you talking about? Haha. They are the same spec wise. They are both going to be GDDR5. There is literally nothing seperating them in terms of specs. The only thing that people need to make their choice on is the games, and the new features that each one offers. Stop being a fanboy and look at the truth.

      • zerilos says

        If the One was going to use DDr5 RAM then Microsoft would have mentioned it during the announcement. It’s a huge factor.

      • Joe says

        You are literally retarded. Xbox one is gddr3 ram and the clock speed on the cpu is a tad slower. also the xbox one will be running three operating systems at once unlike the ps4 so that will take up a few gigs of that slow-as-shit ram which gives all the gaming and performance advantage to: PS4. Nice try bitch.

        • Vlad says

          Joe Schmoe, you are beating the already dead horse’s dusty ass. The PS3 was clearly more powerful than the 360 spec. wise, yet the games looked exactly the same…And now the PS4 once again has a slight advantage in specs, yet you do realize that 95% of all games made, are made for both systems, and they will look exactly the same again…. Even the PS3 exclusive games (God of War 3/Uncharted) had no real advantage over the 360 exclusive games (Halo/Gears of War) visually. The same will be said about the PS4 and XBOX ONE, in fact XBOX ONE has already announced more platform specific games…….your argument=Yawn……

          • Jeremy says

            Ubisoft has already come out saying their game “Watch Dogs” will look better on PS4 because they can add more detail and textures, etc to the game. They will take full advantage of the PS4 specs. The reason the PS3 matched the Xbox 360 is that the PS3 had a Cell processor that was hard to deal with. Now Sony went to the developers and asked what they needed to make the best games they possibly could then they through it in the console. It’s a supercharged PC with a x86 processor that game developers have been use to for decades, with the best graphics card made by AMD then they added to it and then it’s backed up by 8 GB of GDDR5. So yeah PS4 will have better looking games. Plus you get quicker access to games because you can start playing the game soon after it starts downloading because of the second CPU that manages uploads and downloads.

          • abdulwahab16ulwahab. says

            What ?? Ps3 exclusives are much better than the xbox

            The last of us . inFamous series . Uncharted . God of war . GT 5 and 6 . Killzone .heavy rain . And much more

  3. Andy says

    Ps4 for me, its a much mote powerful system. Forget the crap about watching tv through the xbox, i can change channels already with a remote easy enough now.
    Also, the PS4 is going to be dead easy to program for this time around, so the games will be proper hardcore compared to the Xbox Zero

    • Dominic says

      Where are you getting that the PS4 is “much more powerful system”? I think you’re saying that because you’re a Sony fan. Everything I am reading is that they are exactly the same in terms of power and specs. So I have no idea where you are pulling that from.

      • John says

        Blind fool. 1.84 TFlops vs 1.24 TFlops. 8gb GDDR5 vs 8gb DDR3. Bandwidth 176 gb/s vs 64 gb/s. 1152 cpu cores vs 768 cpu cores. Clearly PS4 is rocking the specs. Next time, comment when you’re actually informed

    • Basilisk says

      And the PS3 was more powerful than the 360, the games looked the exactly the same. You do realize that the game developers that make the games for both systems will make them exactly the same? I have both the PS3 and the 360, and will probably have both the PS4 and XBOX ONE. They both bring their unique elements to the table. But saying the PS4 is more powerful and going to kick the XBOX ONE’S butt is exactly the same thing people were saying the last time around.

      • Jeremy says

        There was a guy who said the same thing in a different comment so I will just post this again:

        Ubisoft has already come out saying their game “Watch Dogs” will look better on PS4 because they can add more detail and textures, etc to the game. They will take full advantage of the PS4 specs. The reason the PS3 matched the Xbox 360 is that the PS3 had a Cell processor that was hard to deal with. Now Sony went to the developers and asked what they needed to make the best games they possibly could then they through the specs in the console. It’s a supercharged PC with a x86 processor that game developers have been use to for decades, with the best graphics card made by AMD then they added to it and then it’s backed up by 8 GB of GDDR5. So yeah PS4 will have better looking games. Plus you get quicker access to games because you can start playing the game soon after it starts downloading because of the second CPU that manages uploads and downloads.

        • Joey says

          Right…just like the ps3 does? The mass market, will not care enough about minor differences in their graphics. Hard core games…also wont care. That is why the inferior 360 dominates ps3 now. Differences in graphics that take a keen eye and studying to notice = who gives a shit. MS gets this and Sony does too. That’s why Sony is not positioning it’s hardware, but instead its DRM and connectivity benefits and NOT their hardware advantage.

          Also, WTF is with all this talk about GDDR3 being “slow as shit”. What’s in the current generation? Yeah, I rest my case.

  4. Avaritia says

    @John
    Why the hostility? I agree with Dominic that the major factor will be games. Was the PS3 not more powerful than the xbox360? Didnt stop xbox from dominating sales, besides – the visual aspects and game-play were so similar that I couldnt tell (and didnt care to) All it made me do was buy both consoles so that I have a wider range of game titles to choose from.
    Nuff said on that then

  5. hielke says

    Microsoft hasn’t confirmed a thing and if the rumors are true about the slower gpu and ram then Microsoft will probably change that before the launch of the new Xbox

    • Jeremy says

      They won’t because they aren’t focused on games, they’re focused on their 3 OS’s and all the TV crap.

  6. Andre Long says

    The only real important thing to know here is that ( this is a fact ) you have to pay to play used games via online so those that are actully dumb enogh to do that have to have wifi thats a big turn off for the xbox one on top of a already 30-60 fee to get the game used

    • Jeremy says

      It will not take the disks but they will later have those games available (ps1-3) available through Gaikai their cloud based gaming service.

  7. p3veteran says

    How about the fact that the Xbox is not going to let you borrow games from friends or buy pre-owned games to use. Also with the Xbox you will have to use an internet connection to play – even if you don’t want to play online. As a parent with a “tween” this does not thrill me at all. My kid isn’t mature enough to handle playing online, plus I live out in the country and our internet connection is not very reliable. Put all that with the fact that it is going to cost $100 more than the PS4.

  8. Soldier says

    PS4s new features were ALL available on Xbox 360 lol. Even the indie games were on option was available. PS4s features are current gen stuff. Point ANYTHING out that’s innovative, or that Microsoft didn’t do first on current gen? I can’t believe how easily you guys all run towards Sony’s console, when anyone who has eyes can see it has nothing to offer. $100 difference? really…… Xbox One will ship with Kinect 2.0 which costs $200. PS4 will not ship with their Playstation Eye which is the crappier device anyway. Microsoft’s DRM policy will benefit all players in the long run. Sure it takes a few steps to share a game, but you can share a game with 10 family members all playing one game off the cloud at the same time. One copy of Battlefield 4 turns into 10 people? nice. If you dont believe me, go to majornelson.dotcom to see for your self. For you noobs that dont know what major nelson is, major nelson is a direct partner with Microsoft’s Xbox.

    • abdulwahab16ulwahab. says

      On the ps4
      More cpu speed
      Better ddr
      Much better exclusives
      u can use used games with much better way
      Video unlimited and music unlimited
      USB ports are in better Places
      Sony focus on games unlike ms
      More features on the controller

      Huh ? Can u c these features on the xbox dONE ?

  9. MOD says

    David, please dont come here with your bullsh!t “quick buck” stories, you should be dragged behind a car

Leave a Reply