With the holiday season approaching, many Americans are going to consider buying a gaming console for their friends and family. Some will do so for the first time, while others will look to upgrade their previous generation Wii, Playstation or Xbox. All will be faced with a difficult choice: Should they buy the Microsoft Xbox One or its gaming arch rival the Sony Playstation 4. Although Microsoft has done some innovative and bold things to appeal to the gaming consumer over the years, the Playstation is a better option and for this reason, is expected to dominate sales this holiday season.
Microsoft’s Xbox One console was released with limited fanfare, in large part because of its steep price tag, bungled rollout, and confusing marketing campaign. In fact, the release was not much different than most Microsoft product launches. The company has developed a reputation over the years for everything from rolling out rushed products without sufficient product testing (Windows 95, Windows Vista, Xbox 360), to spending billions of dollars on a supposedly “revolutionary” upgrade, only to watch the product quickly fizzle (Windows Vista, Windows 8).
The Xbox One was no different. The insane price tag of $499 turned off any prospective buyer. Dabbling in voice recognition, along with attempts to transform a gaming system into a home entertainment machine, turned off hardcore gamers. Casual users would not spend $500 for something capable of replicating an Apple TV, Roku, or even a $35 Chromecast. Buyers were initially forced to shell out $150 for the motion sensing Kinect, something that drew the ire of serious video gamers everywhere. Microsoft has since dropped the price to a more reasonable $350 by stripping out the $150 Kinect, in part to match the price point of the PS4.
Even after the release and initial reaction, the Xbox One is still struggling to gain a foothold. Its supposed features, like the Windows 8 style screen tiles, Kinect voice recognition, and the multi-task enabling snapping feature, all make gaming that much more difficult. The tiles take too long to load. The voice recognition has still not been perfected and seems to constantly think that it is being talked to. The snapping feature is useless and bothersome to the gaming experience.
Sony’s Playstation 4 on the other hand is remarkably straightforward. It boots quickly to one simple menu. A game loads up quickly and seamlessly without the need to undergo extensive voice recognition or “snapping” configuration, and without mastering any kind of learning curve. Youtube streaming and Facebook sharing are still possible, but unlike the Xbox, these features do not dominate the operating system and take away from the gaming experience.
At the same time, gaming elements that do have more features are integrated much more seamlessly than on the Xbox. For example, the DualShock 4 controller has a front facing touchpad and motion capabilities, along with a built in speaker. It also supports micro USB.
Finally, the PS4 offers better resolution for most games. Xbox One owners have to settle for 900p for many titles, while PS4 users can take advantage of 1080p resolution. On larger screens, the difference is noticeable.