Although it won't be launching in the UK until the 29th of this month, reviews and previews mean we know exactly what we're getting with the PS4.
Sony's console is being pitched as the pure gaming machine alongside Microsoft's mixed bag of entertainment tricks, and although we've already looked over the two consoles blow-by-blow, it's time to consider in detail why you might pick the PS4 over the Xbox One.
We've already looked over the 5 reasons to buy Microsoft's console instead but let's see why it is that Sony might better deserve your money:
Neither consoles have particular strong launch libraries (though both have more than enough to keep you glued to your TV over Christmas) but in 2014 the PS4 will be the best destination for offbeat, original gaming that actually engages with the player. There’s everything from the likes of Octodad: Dadliest Catch (you play an octopus-father trying to pass muster as a human in front of a suspicious family) to Resogun (a side-scrolling bullet hell style shooter that’s been the standout launch title for the console) and TowerFall Ascension (below), an 8-bit take on Super Smash Bros with medieval and magical stylings. And with Japan as the PS4’s home base and the console itself as region free, it’s the best choice for playing imports as well.
(And if you will insist on listing the big-budget blockbusters, well then, how about Deep Down, Infamous: Second Son and next Uncharted. Not a bad start.)
Although Sony are joining Microsoft in forcing players to cough up for a paid subscription to access online gaming, PlayStation Plus still has the edge over Microsoft when it comes to freebies. The ‘Instant Game Collection’ will give PS4 owners access to new titles for free each month, and although so far the PS4 only offers Resogun and Contrast (an indie noir puzzler), the calibre of games previously on offer for the PS3 are more than promising: Far Cry 3, BioShock 2, and Red Dead Redemption to name just three. There’s even been old-school hits such as the classic 1989 Prince of Persia title and Super Street Fighter II. If there’s a better way to consolidate the PS4’s reputation as the best gaming machine then I haven’t heard it.
We’ve had teardowns and feedback from developers, and it seems to be fairly unanimous: the PS4 is the more powerful machine. I’d be the first to say that the differences between the two are subtle to say the least, but these are machines with long shelf lives, and the PS4’s better RAM and higher GPU clock speed might help in the long run.
And although it’s been pointed out by commentators (myself included) that both the Xbox One and the PS4 are best described looks-wise as ‘black boxes’, Sony’s offering undoubtedly has the edge in visual appeal: it’s more streamlined, the use of the LED strip is brilliantly subtle, and whilst the Xbox One tends to hulk under your TV somewhat the PS4 instead looks poised.
Remote Play & the PS Vita
The PS Vita offers Sony gaming possibilities that Microsoft just can’t match. Although you can get a second screen experience of sorts using connected smartphones on the Xbox One, the PS Vita’s functionality is a big step above this. Remote Play will let PS4 owners play any game they own for the console on their Vita, and early reports have been very favourable. Add in the increasing availability of 4G networks, the upcoming PS4 and Vita ‘Ultimate Bundle’ (rumoured for Christmas) and fantastic handheld titles like Tearaway (below) and it’s clear that Sony are offering a truly ‘always on’ gaming experience.
In an article dedicated to picking apart the differences between the Xbox One and the PS4 we can’t deny that this factor rather leaps out. Sony’s console is a whole £80 cheaper than Microsoft’s offering, with the Xbox One ramping up its price to cover the mandatory Kinect sensor (a peripheral that a fair amount of gamers would rather do without anyway!) and this isn’t even considering the many online features (apps, streaming gameplay) that Microsoft will make you pay for via Xbox Live Gold and that Sony give away for free. If you want to get down to serious gaming for as little as possible, the PS4 is the way to go.