Microsoft Xbox One or Sony PlayStation 4?


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The next generation of gaming consoles will be starting by the end of the year, and the two giants in the console space—Microsoft and Sony—have both shown off their consoles. Both have also announced the price of their consoles. The obvious question on everyone's minds is: which one should I buy? Let's have a look at both the consoles to see if we can get an answer.

The console has a sleek blocky design

Both the consoles are based on AMD's new x86-based chipsets, which more or less puts them on equal grounds. However, both the PS4 and the Xbox One do seem to have the edge over each other in certain regards. On one hand, the PlayStation 4 has the faster DDR5 RAM, compared to the Xbox One's DDR3, whereas on the other hand, the Xbox One has its cloud's computing powers, which some of its launch titles seem to be using, namely, Forza Motorsport 5 and its driveatars. The Xbox One has a slight lead because of this.

This is where it comes down to personal taste. The PlayStation 4 has a very monolithic design with elements taken from both the PlayStation 2 as well as the original PlayStation. The blocky design has been borrowed from the first PlayStation and the sleek cuts from the PlayStation 2.

The PS4's design seems to be influenced by both the original PlayStation as well as the PS2

The Xbox One, on the other hand, has gone for a completely new design. It has a certain industrial feel to it, which many people find dull and uninspiring. Microsoft is keeping this look uniform with the new Kinect as well.

On the software side of things, the Xbox One has many of its interface's design elements borrowed from Windows 8's Modern UI. The interface can also be navigated by either waving your hands around in front of the Kinect or by using voice commands. The PlayStation 4's interface seems to be very tile-based as well, but almost all the controlling will be done through the controller and its touchpad. Microsoft has the slight edge here once again thanks to the number of ways you can navigate through its UI.

However, games on the Xbox One will be running on a virtual machine with its own dedicated operating system for games. This means the hardware resources available to games is considerably cut down, which in turn could mean a weaker performance. On the PlayStation 4, games run on the OS that's running all the time. This gives the PS4 the edge.

The controller doesn't have any touchpad

The Xbox One controller hasn't seen too many changes visually. The only change that's immediately noticeable to most people is that it has a new d-pad. Under the hood, however, Microsoft has touted a number of innovations, with the biggest one being force-feedback on the trigger buttons. How this will be used in games is yet to be seen.

The PlayStation 4's controller, while maintaining the same basic design as previous DualShock controllers, has a major new change—the touchpad. This touchpad will allow some extra game mechanics that could potentially be gesture-based. The controller itself also has the new much-touted Share button that lets you instantly upload a video of your last few minutes of gameplay. The winner here is the PlayStation 4.

The touchpad can bring some interesting new things to games

The Xbox One comes bundled with the new Kinect, which the console is inoperable without. The new Kinect can be used for a number of things, including navigating the UI through both gestures as well as voice commands. However, it could also make some people uneasy, since the Kinect can identify players. It can also read heartbeats, but how this will be used in gaming is unclear.

The PlayStation 4 has the PlayStation Eye, but it is completely optional. It won't come bundled with the console. Instead, it will be available separately for those who might want to buy it. It will work with games that specifically need the Eye, and might even work with the general UI. Point goes to the PS4 because it offers a choice and is generally less creepy.

The PlayStation 4's interface

Other features
The infamous Xbox One unveiling was filled with praises for its TV capabilities. The console can connect to a TV's set top box and show all of your regular TV channels. Along with this, it will also give you access to the Xbox One's features, such as multitasking, where, for example, you can Skype with a friend while watching a football match.

The only non-gaming feature that the PlayStation 4 seems to have, apart from its social aspects, is that it can double as a Blu-ray player. Point goes to the Xbox One because of its extra features.

The Xbox One will come bundled with a Kinect

Backward compatibility
Neither the PlayStation 4 nor the Xbox One are backward compatible with games of the previous generation of consoles, namely, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. However, Sony is tackling the issue in a unique way. While you won't be able to just slip in your PS3 game Blu-ray into the PS4 and play the game, you can access the PlayStation 3's game library and play it on the PS4 through Gaikai's game streaming service. However, this does require a really fast internet connection. The point goes to the PlayStation 4 just for having the feature.

Another subjective area. The choice of consoles sometimes depends entirely on what exclusives you might want. Whether it's the Xbox One and the next Halo game or the PlayStation 3 with Killzone: Shadow Fall.

A large list of developers will be developing for the PS4

This is where the PlayStation 4 wins big time. The console is priced at $399 in the US, which roughly translates to Rs 23,399. However, the pricing for the console in Europe is 399 Euros, which roughly translates to Rs 31,053. This is closer to the console's Indian price, which is bound to be even higher because of taxes and duties.

Microsoft revealed during its pre-E3 press conference that the Xbox One will cost $499 in the US, which roughly translates to Rs 29,016. The European prices are higher with a price tag of 499 EUR (Rs 38,284) in Europe and 429 GBP (Rs 38,804) in the UK. This is quite expensive, especially compared to the $399 price tag of the Sony PlayStation 4.

The PlayStation 4 seems to be the clear winner here

The PlayStation 4 is the clear winner here. The backward compatibility and the price really help the console get an edge over the Xbox One. It also helps that the PS4 won't need you to be constantly connected to the Internet just to play games. The Xbox One has some strict limitations on offline play and used games. The PS4 will have no such things. As it stands, the PlayStation 4 is the winner. Only time and developer support will decide which console dominates the market.