PS4 vs Xbox One: 7 Things Buyers Need to Know

The PS4 and Xbox One are just getting started in a battle to be the game console of choice for the next five to ten years, and many shoppers are considering buying a PS4 or an Xbox One for the first time.

While the Xbox 360 arguably won the last console competition, there are now Xbox Owners thinking of switching from Xbox to PS4 now that Sony is back with a cheaper console and competitive online play.

There are also gamers who may switch from PlayStation to the Xbox One for the ability to use multiple apps on the screen at once, for the ability to control your TV and Cable box or for the new Kinect 2 features.

Comparing PS4 vs Xbox One? Here are seven things  buyers need to know.

Comparing PS4 vs Xbox One? Here are seven things buyers need to know.

PS4 vs Xbox One

When buying a console, most gamers are buying a PS4 or an Xbox One for the better part of a decade. We are already seeing new system updates that bring bug fixes and soon enough we will see updates that add new features. We saw this with the PS3 and the Xbox 360, which gained many new features in the last five years.

Xbox One Review | PS4 Review

We’re looking at how the consoles compare today to help you figure out if you should buy the PS4 or the Xbox One, but the both consoles are just getting started.

Here are seven areas to compare the Xbox One and the PS4 to figure out which console you should buy.

PS4 vs Xbox One Performance

PS4 vs Xbox one performance is tough to pick a winner in real world use right now.

PS4 vs Xbox one performance is tough to pick a winner in real world use right now.

The PS4 and Xbox One are both powered by an AMD APU with a Radeon 7000 series GPU, but there are differences in specs that could impact performance at some point. According to Extreme Tech the Xbox One has an advantage with a higher processor speed, but the PS4 wins out in the GPU arena, even though Microsoft has a faster clock speed on the GPU.

In real world use, the PS4 and Xbox One deliver very similar looking games. The cross-platform games like Battlefield 4, Call of Duty:Ghosts, and others deliver very similar graphical performance. The video below shows a side-by-side Battlefield 4 comparison where the explosions, details and gameplay look very similar.

It is possible that long-term one of the consoles will gain an edge over the other, but in the short-term the biggest advantage is that the PS4 can run some games at a higher resolution compared to the Xbox One. The video above shows the PS4 running at a higher 1600×900 resolution than the 1280 x 720 resolution on the Xbox One.

Expect the next crop of games which come out in early 2014 to dismiss some of these differences. Consumers would be wise to avoid putting too much stock in the specs and resolutions of the PS4 and Xbox One during the first several months, and focus on whether or not the games look good on each platform. After spending a lot of time playing games on both systems, it’s too close to call a clear winner now.

PS4 vs Xbox One Games

When it comes to the question of PS4 games and Xbox One games, there are many games available on both platforms and there is one important warning that applies to both consoles.

The Xbox One and PS4 do not allow gamers to play old games, which means if the owner wants to play PS3 or Xbox 360 games they will need to keep an old console around. While this is annoying for many gamers, it does make jumping to another console easier because no matter what console they buy the old console will still need to be kept on hand to play old games.

There are many games available on both the PS4 and Xbox One.

There are many games available on both the PS4 and Xbox One.

Here is a list of games available or coming soon to both the PS4 and Xbox One. Some of these will not arrive until 2014, but when they do the only things that will be different are; access to DLC first, some graphical differences and perhaps bonus items.

  • Assassin’s Creed 4
  • Battlefield 4
  • Call of Duty:Ghosts
  • Destiny
  • Dying Light
  • FIFA 14
  • Madden 25
  • Need for Speed:Rivals
  • Mirrors Edge 2
  • NBA 2k14
  • NBA Live 14
  • Thief
  • Watchdogs
  • The Witcher
  • and more.

PS4 exclusive games include the following games, these are just some of the most popular games we expect to see.

  • Killzone Shadow Fall
  • Drive Club
  • Deep Down
  • Infamous Second Son
  • Tekken Revolution
  • Blacklight: Retribution
  • Resogun
  • and others
The PS4 and Xbox One each come with exclusive titles.

The PS4 and Xbox One each come with exclusive games.

Xbox One exclusive games include the following, with more to come in the following months and years.

  • Titanfall
  • Crimson Dragon
  • Dead Rising 3
  • Forza 5
  • Halo
  • Killer Instinct
  • Ryse: Son of Rome
  • Fable Legends
  • and others

This time around, the PlayStation requires users buy PlayStation Plus to play online. Users don’t need the $50 a year paid subscription for using Netflix and other apps, on the PS4. The Xbox One requires an Xbox Live account to play games online and to use entertainment apps and the Xbox One Guide to control a TV.

Gamers will need Xbox Live Gold ($60 a year) or PlayStation Plus ($50 a year) for a full experience.

Gamers will need Xbox Live Gold ($60 a year) or PlayStation Plus ($50 a year) for a full experience.

Both PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live include some free games for users, but as of yet there are no details on what games they will deliver to the Xbox One and PS4.

While playing games on the PS4 and on the Xbox One over the last month I have yet to find one game that is available on both which looks better on one of the consoles over the other. The early exclusives like Killzone and Ryse look nice on their respective consoles but are not enough to make me want to buy one console over the other.

PS4 vs Xbox One Controllers

The PS4 controller and Xbox One controller are new for the new consoles.

The PS4 controller and Xbox One controller are new for the new consoles.

The PS4 Controller and Xbox One Controller are both new versions for the new console. Both of these new controllers bring improvements over the previous generation, but neither is perfect.

The PS4 controller is a larger, easier to hold controller which is worth picking up and experiencing even if you hated the PS3 DualShock 3 controller. The DualShock 4 controller that ships with the PS4 includes a rechargeable battery, but it only lasts around eight hours on a single charge. Users can charge using the PS4 USB port and the included Micro USB cable. The PS4 controller now includes a touchpad that can activate special controls or pull up a map depending on the game and a share button that allows users to share the last 15 minutes of gameplay.

The PS4 and Xbox One controllers add new features.

The PS4 and Xbox One controllers add new features.

The PS4 controller also includes a 3.5mm port to plug any headphone in. This allows gamers to route all game audio to the headphones and if the headphone has a microphone it works for online play as well. This allows gamers to play without disturbing others in the house without buying expensive third-party headsets.

The Xbox One controller is redesigned with new rumble triggers and a thinner center area that makes it comfortable to hold for long periods, but means no built-in rechargeable battery which seems like an oversight in 2013. The battery lasts longer than the PS4 controller, but when it goes dead you will need to hunt for AA batteries. There is an Xbox One Plug and Play kit that will add a rechargeable battery, but it should be included out of the box.

Third party headset support comes to the Xbox One in 2014, but the PS4 supports any 3.5mm headset right now.

Third party headset support comes to the Xbox One in 2014, but the PS4 supports any 3.5mm headset right now.

The Xbox One controller comes with a headset which is the only way to use voice chat on Xbox Live through the controller. You can use Kinect as a microphone but it is not as good as plugging in the headset. Right now there are no third-party headsets to plug-in to use for chat, but we will see some in 2014. Microsoft blames the issue on the new voice chat which does deliver a better sound quality than the Xbox 360 did. Users can share Xbox One gameplay by using their voice to record a play, but it only keeps the last 30 seconds recorded at any given time.

You’re not going to buy the Xbox One or the PS4 for the controller alone, but the PS4 does come with a better more functional controller out of the box, so it is something to consider.

Kinect 2 vs PS4 Camera

While the PS4 wins the controller battle, The Xbox One is a clear winner when it comes to the Kinect 2 vs the PS Camera. When it comes to using the camera to make a Skype call, the quality is close enough that it won’t make a big difference to most users, but the real differences come in what you can do with the PS4 Camera and Kinect 2.

The Kinect 2 for Xbox One is more powerful than the previous Kinect and offers more use than the PS4 camera.

The Kinect 2 for Xbox One is more powerful than the previous Kinect and offers more use than the PS4 camera.

The new Kinect is capable of turning on the Xbox One with the voice command “Xbox On,” and it uses facial recognition to sign the user in. This is very handy for users who are sharing an Xbox One with multiple members of a family.

The PS4 and the Xbox One can both listen for voice commands to switch from the home screen, open games and perform other commands. The Xbox One is not perfect, but it is more accurate than the PS4 and offers wider control of the system. Also the Kinect 2 system allows users to use in-game voice control in games like Madden 25 to call audibles, time outs and more.

With the PS4 Camera users can stream games live on Twitch to let friends take a look at how they are playing and the PS4 Camera will zoom in on your face to show reactions to gameplay. The Xbox One Kinect Camera will allow a PIP narration of a game, but it does not zoom in and is not live streamed.

Also worth noting is that the Kinect 2 comes with the Xbox One, accounting for the higher price. With this in the box users will get access to these features by default and publishers can count on the Kinect system being connected and build in support for games. Kinect also supports gesture controls.

The PS4 camera is a $60 add on that doesn't match the Xbox One Kinect at this time.

The PS4 camera is a $60 add on that doesn’t match the Xbox One Kinect at this time.

The PS4 Camera is a $60 add-on that users must purchase. This means the PS4 doesn’t support voice commands out of the box and not all games will include voice control.

The Xbox One has a clear lead in the voice control and camera connectivity area.

PS4 vs Xbox One Entertainment

The Xbox One and the PS4 are more than just game consoles. Both of these consoles let users load apps like Netflix, Hulu Plus and others to play video and more on the console. The Xbox One even lets users plug-in a cable box or satellite box to control it with the Xbox and with Kinect voice commands.

One major difference is that you need a $60 a year Xbox Live Gold membership to use the entertainment apps on the Xbox One, while the PS4 apps work even without the equivalent PlayStation Plus membership.

Users will not find CD or MP3 playback on the PS4, but the company is looking into how they can add support. The Xbox One plays CDs and supports MP3 playback as a PlayTo device.

You can check out the full selection of apps on PS4 and Xbox One, but the major names in streaming video are on both consoles. We should see more apps for music in the future.

Connect a cable box to the Xbox One.

Connect a cable box to the Xbox One.

The Xbox One wins out with the ability to take over a cable box and replace it with the Xbox One TV Guide which offers voice control and a nicer interface than the clunky cable box you have in place now. The Xbox One Kinect sensor blasts IR commands that bounce off your walls and back to the TV and receiver. The Xbox One also includes a NFL app that offers scores and updates to the right side of a live TV broadcast for a more complete football experience.

If you want access to more entertainment and one device plugged into the TV, the Xbox One is a winner here, but entertainment is only part of the console experience.

PS4 vs Xbox One Integration

Both of the consoles connect to apps and to existing devices to expand the experience. Sony allows gamers to play PS4 games on a PS Vita with Remote Play or to use the device as a second screen, as well as offering a PS4 app on iPhone and Android. Microsoft uses Smart Glass to let gamers control the Xbox as well as some games like Madden. The Xbox One also wins out in the connection to Windows 8 and Windows 7 devices.

Playing Assassin's Creed 4 from the PS4 on the PS Vita.

Playing Assassin’s Creed 4 from the PS4 on the PS Vita.

The PS4 wins with Remote Play, but the service is not perfect. You will need to buy a $200 PS Vita and because the device does not use the same buttons as the PS4 users will need to combine the touchpad on the back of the device and it can be a little tough to control games like Assassin’s Creed 4. The PS4 Remote Play works at home or on the road with a great connection on both ends. This works ok over the Internet when I am at another house or office, but playing over LTE in a moving vehicle proved too frustrating to use.

The PS4 app offers access to friends, alerts and acts as a keyboard to enter text on the PS4. When applicable you can use the app to turn your iPhone or Android into a second screen.

The Xbox One does not offer any remote play features, but you can take advantage of Windows Integration and Windows, iPhone and Android apps that extend the gameplay.

With Play To, the Xbox One can communicate with Windows to receive audio and video streams. Windows 8 can see the Xbox One on the Network and Windows 7 can stream things from Windows Media Player.

The SmartGlass app for the Xbox One allows users to control parts of the Xbox One and can integrate with games like Madden for CoachGlass, which allows users to control plays and more.

PS4 vs Xbox One Price

Finally, the last thing buyers need to know when comparing the Xbox One and the PS4 is the price of the system. While the Xbox One is $100 more expensive it does come with a Kinect sensor that does add value for the price difference. The PS4 is cheaper than the Xbox One, but if you want voice controls you will need to spend $60, bringing the difference to just $40.

Should I buy an Xbox One or a PS4? The answer is complex, but price shouldn't be the only factor.

Should I buy an Xbox One or a PS4? The answer is complex, but price shouldn’t be the only factor.

When you buy an Xbox One or a PS4, keep in mind that it is an investment in gaming over the next five to eight years.  Over that time a $100 difference isn’t that much, so it should not be a major factor in which console you buy.

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