Firstly, you may notice I did not include Nintendo. Nintendo, it’s been a fun ride having you around. You hung around a lot longer than I thought you would. As a purchaser of the Gamecube I thought that would be your demise. I was proven wrong when you made water out of wine with the Wii. Albeit rapidly expiring wine, but wine none the less. I look forward to your life as a third-party developer so that I may enjoy Star Fox and Smash Brothers on systems that will properly care for it. Thanks Nintendo [insert fond memory reel of me and Nintendo hanging out].
As of now the dust has settled quite a bit on what WAS shaping up to be a very interesting console war. If you’ve been under a rock I’ll tell you that Microsoft and Xbox have back peddled on almost everything related to digitizing the video game industry. Right, wrong, or indifferent, that was their goal. But with the complete turn around it seems this revolutionary war has now turned into a cold war. I said it before the consoles were even announced that these consoles more than any other generations before them would converge to a point where really you couldn’t go wrong either way. I think had Microsoft stuck its ground there would’ve been a larger divergence in experience, but now, not so much. But lets see where the battle stands as we speak.
As we speak both systems are essentially dedicated computer builds just for gaming. By this rationale they are both leaps and bounds above their predecessors as finally the consoles have caught up to the PC platform in builds. Most of the specs are rather similar, but there are two differences that should be noted. The PS4 has better RAM, albeit that was changed to match the GB or RAM the Xbox One but its choice of RAM is better overall and it has a removable Hard Drive. I don’t think either will absolutely change the face of gaming, however an edge is an edge, and that edge has to be given to Sony. I know there’s some other components that Xbox fanboys might be hooting and hollering about for this category, but I’m going to list them under entertainment as they are not part of what I would refer to as the meat and potatoes of the systems.
winner – PS4
This category to me represents the system’s ability to be future proofed. To put it in terms of economics, how much money you might have to spend after buying a system into its lifespan to get full enjoyment out of said system will dictate whether they prepared its user for the coming generation. The Xbox One wins this category hands down in my book. Bundling the system with Kinect, teaming up with cable companies and television studios to develop apps, and the highly underestimated HDMI pass through will be something I think will play big roles in the living room in the late stages of the system’s lifespan. PS4 fanboys will get agitated and try to say things like their system is built for gamers, etc. But I think it’s a silly argument, as both systems are meant for gamers, and since when do options come off as bad things. The “great” option of getting a bluray player didn’t detract from the PS3 fans from enjoying some good games, so I don’t see why more entertainment advancements on an Xbox would hinder their contingency.
winner – Xbox One
Sony has finally made their controller bigger. I’ve always feared getting carpel tunnel syndrome from their very small and not very ergonomic controller. The trackpad is a good touch too, and I’ll be very interested to see how that gets used in the coming generation. I imagine it’ll be great for some non gaming stuff, as it seems like a perfect tool for navigating Netflix or other entertainment apps. I assume some game will attempt to use it, but we’ll see. But I think this category is a case of playing catch up for Sony. The Xbox 360 controller was hands down the best controller yet in gaming. There’s not much room for argument on that one. And the Xbox One looks to improve on that model. The biggest upside the Xbox controller still has is the joystick placement. No doubt, Sony revolutionized the game with its dual shock controller but the placement has since seen better redesign that they are just too stubborn to adopt. This category goes to Xbox, but by a much smaller margin than the previous generation.
winner – Xbox One
On the surface it seems they both have their fair share of exclusives. Xbox One really has me intrigued with games like Sunset Overdrive, Ryse, and Quantum Break. Quantum Break especially because of its connection with an on air TV series. That could be very interesting. But to be honest these exclusives are unproven. Sure there’s Halo and Gears, but those games have not changed much and can be nulled on the score sheet by Killzone in my books which looks very good. Sony has gotten some great stuff from Naughty Dog and I look forward to what they can do with that company in the future. The Last of Us is supposedly incredible and has me wondering how I can get a PS3 just to try it out. Infamous is another great proven exclusive that will undoubtedly have another great game in the series. Tack on Uncharted and DriveClub and I think you begin to see a winning recipe. I do think the Xbox One exclusives have more upside as their seems to be more original ideas, but hypothetical points don’t count. My mind may change on this later, but for now the win goes to Sony.
winner – PS4
So of course this leaves us in a tie. Which is why I consider this a Cold War now. But there are a few remaining smaller factors. Online gaming is now a wash with Sony adopting a pay to play model and both companies now bent on giving deals out on a monthly basis. But there’s still a small edge to be found in the battle just beginning under a month ago. That edge which will come as a surprise to some of my friends, has to go to PS4. With all things being pretty close to equal, the tie breaker has to go to the stoic opponent. Sony hasn’t changed much of their message since the beginning. They won E3 hands down, and have had infinitely better PR work from the jump. If you’re already in one company’s ecosystem it may be best to stick with that, but if you’re just joining the crowd, as of now PS4 might have your number. As these things go though, sometimes a desperate company might be the best for the consumer. I’ll be interested to see the reaction of Microsoft and how they plan to lure gamers back to the Xbox.
Note- I didn’t bother using design as a category, because honestly both systems are terrible looking. They both look like something cut from coal, and will most likely be hidden in my living room, regardless of which one I get.