Both the Xbox One and PS4 have been around for enough time to give us a solid grounding for the strengths and weaknesses of each. Whether you go for the people’s favourite, the PS4, or opt for the potentially more well-rounded Xbox will be decided on your preferences. The decision is not clear cut. To help you work out which console is right for you we’ve compared each aspect so you can safely decide between the PS4 or Xbox One.
As well as covering all the hardware angles we’ll also checking out the games that are already out and the games coming to the two consoles thanks to E3 2014.
Xbox One vs PS4 – Price and Release Date
In a suprising, but honestly refreshing, turn of events Microsoft has made some major changes to the way it has been marketing the Xbox One. There were a few new things to note If you were looking to buy a PS4 or Xbox One a while back.
Most shocking of all is that the Kinect is no longer tied to the Xbox One – Microsoft has announced its plan to release a Kinect-free console for $399. That’s the same price as the PS4 without any games.
Whereas before the cost factor was a major issue when choosing between the two consoles, now they have reached parity.
Some of the restrictions that seemed to penalise Xbox One owners have also been restricted. You don’t have to purchase and Xbox Live Gold membership to access things like Netflix, which is a big bonus for those looking to make their console act as a home entertainment unit.
The Xbox One is now a lot more like the PS4. And in this case, that’s a good thing.
The Xbox One’s original ‘RRP’ was $499, where the PS4 has sold for $399 since it launched November.
However, we have already seen a bit of Xbox One price erosion, where most places still seem to sell the PS4 at its original price. Amazon currently sells the Xbox with Kinect for $499, just a little more than the proposed price of the console without Kinect. We’d probably take the Kinect for just $50.
Of course, most of you will likely want to buy a console along with a game, and that changes things significantly. Here are the current bundles you can order with the consoles:
Prices are based on what we could find from reputable retailers at the time of writing
Lots of the launch bundles are becoming scarce as they are replaced with newer games. The logic is pretty obvious – once a game’s price drops a few months after launch, it loses its bundle appeal.
The most up-to-date of the game bundles are the Titanfall Xbox One package and the Watch Dogs PS4 deal. Until recently the Xbox Titanfall package (which includes Kinect) was available for $499, but most of those deals have dried up.
The most important factor with any game console is games. Forget graphical fidelity and looks, above all else, you should go with the console that has the games you want to play.
Many of this generation’s games will be available on both consoles which makes choosing between them that much trickier. This was true with the last generation too, but the Xbox One and PS4 make it easier than ever for developers to produce games cross-platform.
Let’s have a look at the top games that are already available, and those that are coming out for each console.
Best Future Xbox One Exclusives
Halo 5: Guardians
What is it? Halo, naturally Release date: 2015
At the moment we know very little about Halo 5: Guardians, aside from the name and that it’s coming to Xbox One next year. It’ll serve as the sequel to Halo 4, and be one of the leading Xbox One games for 2015.
The story is largely a mystery, but you can expect to see the same sort of fast first-person action seen in all the previous core Halo games. Are we excited? Yes. Do we need to know more about Halo 5? Definitely. We’ll be back with more details soon.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
What is it? Old Halo, made new Release date: November 2014
As a way to bridge the gap between now and the release of Halo 5, we have Halo: The Master Chief Collection. It’s a pack of the four previous ‘core’ Halo games, all revved up for the Xbox One with 1080p, 60fps visuals.
The multiplayer has been reinstated too, including absolutely reams of maps from all four games. As part of the collection, you’ll get beta access to Halo 5: Guardians too, making it a must for Halo die-hards.
Forza Horizon 2
What is it? Open-world racer Release date: September 30 2014
The Forza series has split into two halves. There are the core Forza Motorsport titles and the rather less serious Horizon games, which have a free-roaming element.
Forza Horizon 2 takes place in Southern Europe, letting you roam in the area around a music festival, taking part in the usual dazzling array of races. This should prove to be a good visual showcase of what racers should look like on Xbox One, more so than the early Forza Motorsport 5.
What is it? Game-creation tool Release date: TBC
Project Spark is an intriguing game creation tool that will let you make full games, by the looks of it. Think of it as Xbox One’s alternative to Little Big Planet 3 and you won’t be too far off the mark.
It appears to let you make 3D adventures, 2D platformers, racers and puzzle games. But will it give you real scope? Will it be too difficult and time-consuming? Either way, we’re looking forward to finding out. While an Xbox One console exclusive, Project Spark will also be available on Windows 8.1.
What is it? An OTT action game Release date: TBC
People have been turned into mutants, thanks to an evil energy drink. The city is in chaos. And you are the hero who has to sort it all about.
Sunset Overdrive is a bit like Infamous, but with a sense of humour and a proper colour palette. This game could be bags of fun, especially if you’re after a game whose focus is pure fun, but that isn’t just aimed at kids.
Best Future PS4 Exclusives
Little Big Planet 3
What is it? A platformer and game creation tool Release Date: November 2014
Little Big Planet has become one of the defining series of the modern PlayStation era. And while it no longer attracts as much attention as something like Uncharted, it attracts kids and adults like almost nothing else.
It’s a cutesy platformer, but also a full game creation tool. You can really let your creativity rip with this Little Big Planet 3, and make games with no real knowledge of coding. To an extent it’s more of the same, and LBP3 is compatible with levels already in the LBP universe – of which there are more than 8.5 million
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
What is it? The PS4’s lead adventure title Release Date: 2015
A Thief’s End is the first Uncharted game to come to PS4, and once again it’s a Nathan Drake Adventure. The Uncharted series offers some of the most cinematic experiences in gaming, and Uncharted 4 is no different.
It’s a “globe-trotting” adventure in which you’re looking to uncover a “historical conspiracy”. We don’t know a great deal about Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Yet. But we expect great things. Sony says it’ll have more to tell us in the coming months.
What is it? A game from the makers of Dark Souls Release Date: 2015
We don’t know much about Bloodborne yet, but there’s a reason to be excited already – it comes from the man behind the Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls games – Hidetaka Miyazaki.
As you’d expect from the creator of those grim classics, Bloodborne is not a barrel of laughs. It’s about a virus transmitted through the blood, something that turns people and creatures into horrific things. And it is horror, rather than fantasy, that is the theme this time around. For many, this will be one of the most exciting games of the next 12 months.
The Order 1886
What is it? Action-adventure set in London Release Date: 20 February 2015
It’s not often we get to see games set in London that aren’t racing titles. The Order 1886 is set here, and it’s an action adventure where you play a knight who is part of an order tasked with taking down a horrible breed of werewolf-like creatures.
Expect bad English accents, lots of moody, foggy environments and loads of shooty action. It’s getting pretty positive previews at present, although as a new IP we’ll have to wait to see if this is the real deal.
Best Current Xbox One games
The most exciting early Xbox One console exclusive is Titanfall. It is a sci-fi shooter, and it’s not afraid to be grim and serious, with a darker tone than the cross-platform Destiny.
Unusually, there’s no single-player mode in Titanfall, but there will be single player-style story elements weaved into the action to give play more meaning than the average multiplayer blast-fest. It sold 700,000 copies in its first week, but some have criticised it saying it looks like a last-gen game.
Dead Rising 3
Like the previous Dead Rising games, Dead Rising 3 is a third-person action game set around a zombie invasion. Its world is much larger than that of the last two games, though, based in a city rather than a specific location within a city.
It’s not the best showcase for next-gen graphics and it doesn’t have quite the spark of inventiveness seen in the former games. But it’s a launch line-up highlight, and something a little different.
7/10 – Read the full Dead Rising 3 review
Forza Motorsport 5
The game that marks the Xbox One as the racer’s favourite at present, Forza Motorsport 5 is a semi-serious racing game that looks and feels great. Match it with something like the Mad Catz Pro Racing wheel and you’ll be in heaven.
However, it’s not the ultimate racing game, lacking some of the structural brilliance of the last game in the series, Forza 4. Still, for now it’s the best next-gen racer if you don’t want a pure arcade experience.
Available: NOW The single notable ‘gamer’s game’ that the PS4 had over the Xbox One at launch was Killzone: Shadowfall. It’s a grim first-person shooter set in the future, and a pretty good way to see what your shiny new console is capable of, compared to the PS3.
It’s not a shooter you’re likely to have fond memories of for years to come, but it’s a good job the PS4 had it to rely on given how many of the console’s other games were pushed back into 2014.
Infamous: Second Son
Available: NOW Infamous is a superhero game that’s not tied to a superhero license, and that’s a good thing in this case. You’re not tied to a famous character’s intentions, letting you play the good guy, or the bad guy. And your actions dictate the sort of powers you develop.
In style, it’s similar to the previous Infamous games, giving you an ‘open world’ city in which you can wreak havoc. This is the first major 2014 PS4 exclusive, and it has us a good deal more excited than Killzone: Shadow Fall.
Call of Duty: Ghosts
One of the most-anticipated recent games is Call of Duty: Ghosts. It’s a first-person shooter, just like the other games in the series.
If you don’t like the genre, or have been unimpressed with the previous CoD games, it’s unlikely you’ll get on with this one. However, for fans of the series it’s a treat. It’s just not a particularly inventive or dynamic entry in the Call of Duty line. The ‘ghosts’ of the title are a special band of US forces who have to combat a group of terrorists trying to use a galactic superweapon to try and take down the US. It’s also the first Call of Duty game to feature a dog as part of your squad.
Need for Speed: Rivals
The Need for Speed series has some serious ups and downs, but we’re happy – and surprised – to report that Need for Speed: Rivals is a highlight. As with the other games in the series, it’s an arcade racer rather than one that tries to be in any way realistic.
Its world is open, and it blends multiplayer and single player modes into a single environment for a seamless feel. It’s bags of fun, and the game that ensured neither console was without a good racer at launch.
Available: September 2014
Destiny is a ‘new IP’, a game not based on an existing series. People are still extremely excited about it, though, because it’s made by Bungie, the development studio behind the first Halo games.
It’s a science fiction shooter that merges multiplayer and single player play styles – something we’re likely to see an awful lot of this year. What’s getting us more excited, though, is that it looks fantastic and offers grand vistas to explore. This game will come to previous-generation consoles as well as the new guard.
At present, the Xbox One has a slightly better game line-up, and in the near future it has more significant exclusives. However, the series that came to define console exclusives in the PS3/360 era will remain the same. So if Uncharted means way more to you than Halo ever will, think carefully before dismissing the PS4.
We’ll find out a lot more about the future games coming out for these consoles during E3, which takes place in June.
Further on this feature we’ll look into every bit of each console in depth, but if you want a quicker read, here are the top reasons to buy each console.