The PlayStation 4 has launched in the US (and hits the UK on the 29th) and the Xbox One has now launched worldwide.
We’ve already given you the blow-by-blow comparisons of hardware, controllers, games and everything in between, so now let’s look at the reasons why you might plump for one console instead of the other, starting with our top five reasons to buy the Xbox One.
And before you go accusing us of some sort of institutional bias (well, a little late for that perhaps), we've also had a look at the top 5 reasons to buy a PS4 instead of an Xbox One.
It’s not just that you can pass live TV through the Xbox One (allowing TV/internet split screens and always-on notifications for game invites) but there’s also the fact that the console supports the .mp3 format and is integrated with SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage service. Sony will surely be adding some of these features after the PS4's launch, but it seems that the Xbox One still offers more ways to handle different types of content. Add in a range of different apps for video on demand services and the Xbox One becomes a certified entertainment hub.
Okay, so in the post-PRISM age it’s not reassuring to think that Microsoft will have an unblinking eye located in living rooms up and down the country, but you’d be foolish to ignore the Kinect 2.0’s capabilities. The skeletal tracking is way more advanced than previously (although the checking-your-pulse-by-watching-your-skin is, yes, a tad weird) and early reports of titles like Xbox Fitness suggest that it’s actually a pretty useful tool. Having your console correct your push-up posture might not sound like a great gaming experience, but sitting on the sofa, controller in hand, won't improve your health.
Neither the PS4 or the Xbox One have a particularly stellar array of launch titles but Microsoft, I think, has the edge. They offer the straightforward high-def experiences of Forza 5 and Killer Instinct as well as the cinematic scope of Ryse and the (apparently) charming distraction of Zoo Tycoon. Look to the future and you not only have franchises like Halo and Fable returning, but new IP (intellectual properties) like Cobalt (the next title from Minecraft creators Mojang) and Titanfall (above) perhaps the most exciting of the next-gen shooters.
Titanfall will also be a game that shows of the possibilities of Microsoft’s expertise with cloud computing. Although this mechanism hasn’t featured heavily in the launch titles, developers will be adapting to it in the future - using Microsoft’s $700 million Project Mountain data center to offer back-end support to Xbox One titles. This will help everything from lag in online shooters, to cloud-based AI support so your console can focus on delivering the best graphics. There are potential problems of course (what if the cloud fails? What if more games do eventually require always-on internet?) but the benefits are too good to ignore.
From Star Trek to Iron Man, speaking to your computer is one of those hallmarks of future technology, and Microsoft is determined to bring it into your living room. It’s not without its problems (you have to e-nun-see-ate when speaking and you
sometimes always feel daft repeating instructions to your TV) but the voice commands in the Xbox One are incredibly powerful and they’ll become more streamlined over time. And if switching between games and TV just by speaking doesn’t sound useful to you then just think of the time you’ll save by telling your console ‘Xbox on’ instead of hunting for that controller.