Xbox One, PlayStation 4, both, or neither?

Article

posted 8/7/2013 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
Platforms: PS4 XBO
The staff shares their opinions on which next gen systems they will or won't be buying.

Sean Cahill
I'm still very much on the fence on this topic.  Before Microsoft recanted several of their policies, I was behind Sony after the E3 presentations by both companies.  Now that the Xbox One no longer has several of the strict policies in place, some of which I really didn't have an issue with, this is going to be a decision I wrestle with for awhile.  I really like the look of both systems and what they have to offer in features, power, specifications, etc.  The price point may be a factor for me, but I feel as though the XB1 is getting a bad rap on this since it is coming with the Kinect 2.0 as a $100 add-on so, essentially, the consoles themselves are the same price.

My lone sticking point is that I realize a lot of people don't necessarily want the Kinect, but wouldn't mind it if it wasn't required to be plugged in all the time.  Getting past that seems to be a trivial matter in my opinion.  Right now, however, it's a total toss up.  I feel that I will benefit more from having an XB1, so I will ever so slightly lean that way, but I'm going to change my mind at least a half a dozen times on this before launch.

Sean Colleli
The Xbox One DRM debacle and backpedaling is a pretty emotionally charged subject, so I'm trying to avoid that whole can of worms and just focus on objective facts. While I don't absolutely need either of the next gen consoles hitting this holiday, I'd have to say I'd go for a PS4. I've barely touched my 360 since I built my gaming rig--really I only boot it up for the few 360 games that my girlfriend likes to play too. I can see the exact same thing happening with Xbox One, and upgrading my rig to play most of the same games is going to be quite a bit cheaper than that $500. I do all my media streaming through my PC and with Steam Big Picture I can play most of my favorite games on my TV with a controller anyway. XB1 is, for me, the definition of redundant and in the case of Kinect unnecessary. I'm tired of gimmicks and I already have something that does everything XB1 does but better, faster and with more privacy.

Not only that, XB1 really has nothing in its launch window that I'm even remotely excited for. The only way Microsoft could get me (grudgingly) on-board is if they realized there's a gold mine of IP in Rare that they're just squandering, and announced actually good sequels to Perfect Dark, Conker, Jet Force Gemini and a few other games from Rare's N64 golden days. That's obviously not going to happen anytime soon, and I've never liked Killer Instinct much anyway, so I have next to no interest in Microsoft's overpriced, Kinect-mandatory teevee box.

PS4 doesn't have much more on it that I really want either, but for some reason PS4 just seems like a more reasonable investment. Sony has really changed my opinion over the last few years, with the PS3 as a durable workmanlike console with plenty of decent exclusives, and those PS2 HD collections that I'm addicted to. Not only that but Sony is supporting the indie scene in a big way, while Microsoft seems to be ignoring that it even exists. As we've seen on Steam indie games are really where all the interesting new ideas are, and both PSN and Wii U eShop are going to explode with indie content over the next year. I was sad to see backwards compatibility go and I'm really not sold on all the social media focus, but if forced the PS4 just seems more reasonable, and I must admit that $400 price tag is a far sight more tempting than the XB1's $500.

That said, I'm more or less happy with my current, ridiculously OCD setup of retro and modern consoles, my gaming PC, and as far as next gen I'm reasonably satisfied with my Wii U and what it has coming out this holiday. I play all of my old consoles regularly and I can't see that happening for PS4 or XB1, at least not for a year or so after launch. There isn't a lot of room in my entertainment center anymore, and the new consoles need to earn that real estate and the limited HDMI slots on my TV.  I haven't preordered either XB1 or PS4, but both the Vita and Wii U launches have taught me that console shortages are probably a thing of the past and early adoption is rarely a good idea anymore, so I'm in no hurry or panic either way. One thing's certain, I'm sure as hell not swapping out my Dreamcast for some upstart new console that can't even do everything my PC already can.
 

Jeremy Duff
There isn’t a choice to be made in my household: PlayStation 4 all the way! While I get all of the concerns about the now-defunct policies that were going to inhibit the Xbox One experience, those weren’t the deciding factors in my decision. It didn’t bother me to check in once a day and I completely understood the used game policies. However, I didn’t get what the system did to expand my gaming experience. The only thing that appealed to me is the integrated Twitch support; however, I already possess to tools to do that on my own so I don’t need to invest $500 in a system just for that luxury.

The PS4 on the other hand has shown me how it will enhance my gaming experience. The revamped PlayStation Network and social networking integration really looks slick and I love the instant sharing of videos on the fly. Sony also has an incredible lineup of exclusive titles that interests me a lot more than Microsoft does.  The one thing that has completely sold me on the system however is the streaming of games to the Vita; I love my Vita and the fact that it is going to be a viable portal to all of my home, console games really gets me excited. And I won’t even get started on the benefits of the PlayStation Plus program which will undoubtedly only get better as we move into the next generation.

Randy Kalista
My college roommate bought an original Xbox three months before shipping off to the Marine Corps. He left behind his trapped-in-adolescence girlfriend (good move) and he left me his Xbox (bro move). Xbox "fanboy" might be a strong label to slap onto my forehead, but I've certainly enjoyed the Xbox family for over a decade now. So it's with trepidation--maybe a little--that I'm batting for the other team and buying a PlayStation 4. I used to be 100 percent into AAA games, now I heavily supplement my diet with indies, and the indies have chosen their champion: Sony. Free-to-play games, like the decidedly awesome World of Tanks, will truly be free-to-play on PS4, while anybody without an Xbox LIVE Gold membership won't be getting any sweet tank time. That's just one example and these consoles aren't even in homes yet. I also like the idea of not paying extra for video services like Netflix and Hulu Plus. Thank you, PS4. Sony's vision has been clear-headed from the beginning, whereas Microsoft has reversed its stance on issues they swore up and down were irreversible. Do I like a company that is adaptable and able to make course corrections as new information and fan feedback emerges? Yes. Do I like a company that holds an open dialogue with gamers and developers before the stuff hits the fan? Even more. Advantage: Sony.

Jeff Kintner
Even after all of the hubbub and take-backsies that's happened in the past week, if I were to get a console at launch, it would be a PS4. Money's gonna be tight for me this year, so if I do get a PS4, I'll be going halvsies with my SO on it. And that $100 price difference means we can get another game and controller right off the bat, which I'd take over a Kinect any day. Plus, I don't even have cable, so Microsoft offering me an all-in-one entertainment center doesn't really mean anything to me.

Matt Mirkovich
I wound up ordering a PS4 shortly after the Sony press conference. And now that I think about it, I kind of wish I had placed an order for the Xbox One as well. However money is a bit of a factor for me right now, and Sony had a more compelling argument for why I should get their console, I think it was one hundred reasons in fact. The difference in what determined which console I picked came down to who had a clearer message about their console at E3. We're already seeing Microsoft make drastic changes to the Xbox One, but seeing it explained by people outside of Microsoft, their console makes sense, but it is terribly presented. If they wanted to be the console equivalent of the Steam Box then they needed to come out and say it. Not drop the intended DRM practices that the console is going to have, and now they've had to back-pedal away from that stuff. And it's quite possible that the console, and gamers, are going to be worse off in the long run. But regardless I am eager to own both consoles at some point in the future. Both had some titles that I was interested in and hopefully I'll be able find a balance between them that's better than this current console generation.
 

James Russell
Arguably the biggest question for gamers as of now is “PS4 or Xbox One?” The Wii U, sadly, has been left out. Or maybe it never really wanted to be a part of the fight in the first place. Regardless, it isn’t part of what everyone is talking and asking each other about. So which one will I be going for and reserving my copy of this fall? Well, for me, it wasn’t that difficult of a decision to make.
 
While the PlayStation 4’s model may look like an alternate version of the Xbox One with a similar look on the outside, it’s a more powerful device than that of its archrival. The PS4 has an 8-core Jaguar AMD CPU similar to that of the Xbox One, but with a GPU that’s said to be on the same level as the Radeon 7870 while the Xbox One’s is closer to the 7790. However, it has 8 GB of GDDR5 RAM with a memory bandwidth of 176 GB/second compared to Xbox One’s DDR3 RAM and memory bandwidth of 68.3 GB/second. So the PS4 seems to have the advantage here with its faster RAM and stronger GPU.
 
Technical jargon aside, though, it’s not what initially sold me on the PS4. The PlayStation 4 supports used games and it has no DRM restrictions and also allows indie developers to self-publish their games. You will also not need PS Plus in order to run media apps. And if this weren't enough, from what I've heard, the new PlayStation controller has an improved feel to it will longer handles, tighter analog sticks and better shoulder and trigger buttons. The other part that sold me on the PS4 was its lineup of exclusives such as Knack, The Order: 1886, infamous: Second Son, and many more soon to come.
 
I did initially consider getting the Xbox One, though not right away, despite its original policy. But since the recent backpedal and changing its policy to that of the 360, I have taken my consideration back as I do not believe Microsoft deserves my money now. They have shown me more than before that they care more about selling their product than about their potential consumers. That and their list of exclusives do not intrigue me enough.
 
Thus, I will be going PS4 this holiday season. With its improved controller, exclusive lineup and an essentially more powerful console, I look forward to enjoying myself with what it has to offer.

John Yan
After taking a look at both systems and what benefits as well as deficiencies, I ordered a PlayStation 4. I want the system to play games and I didn't want to deal with any of the hassles I thought would be coming for the Xbox One. Also, I like not having to pay a monthly fee if I want to use my console to watch Netflix or some other subscription service. While the Sony E3 press conference stated that you'll need a PS+ subscription to do multiplayer, recent news has come out that there are going to be exceptions like free to play MMOs. 

At E3, there wasn't one game that sold me on the Xbox One and to buy it with the restrictions they had with their system. Killer Instinct looked and played OK, but even as a huge Killer Instinct fan, it wasn't a system seller for me. Dead Rising 3 didn't impress me and I wouldn't be surprised if that came out on the PC later. In fact, most of the games I wanted to play were either on both systems or the PC. The TV functionality interested me, but I don't like the implementation of being an overlay and relying on an IR blaster. I'll have to see if there are many cable boxes and TV's that support CEC, and if the Xbox One did that that would actually make it a lot more reliable TV box. Still, no DVR functionality sort of killed this feature for me. I don't like the Kinect is required for the Xbox One to work as I think that should be an option peripheral. Bundle it in every console, that's fine with me, but don't force me to use it. Microsoft just wasn't prepared well (Most of their answers to really important questions are we are still working out the details) so there were just too many variables and too many unknowns for me to order the system. 

I currently have a PC connected to my TV in the living room and that's my entertainment hub as well as playing Steam games. The PlayStation 4 is a better supplement to my gaming needs in my situation as there are more unique games for that system that won't be coming out on the PC. 

Charles Husemann
I pre-ordered both systems during E3. My thought then was that having both systems at launch would give me the option to play all of these great games at launch. I'm not a huge Killer Instinct fan but Dead Rising 3 looks interesting and other titles like LocoCycle. On the PS4 side there is Knack and the new Killzone Shadow Fall. Of course there's always the “fun” of being on the ground floor of any launch and going through the trials and tribulations of a new system. I expect both systems to be fraught with all kinds of launch issues, hopefully none of which are as bad as the birthing pain the Wii U went through. 

To be honest, it is really hard to recommended buying either system at launch to anyone who isn’t an early adopters or hard core gamer. None of the great titles, like Destiny or Titanfall, will be available until 2014 and launch titles are notoriously awful. I know some people are excited by Ryse but honestly what I saw at E3 didn’t really get me going and it’s hard to put a lot of stock in Killzone Shadow Fall after the mostly average Killzone 3. Maybe I’ll be wrong on both titles but it’s hard to ask people to spend that kind of coin until the second wave of games are in the stores.
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