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7 Reasons why the Xbox One is better than the PS4

Gordon Kelly

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7 Reasons why the Xbox One is better than the PS4

Given the vitriol directed at the Xbox One since its unveiling in May you'd think it was a competition to see who could throw the nastiest insult. It is too expensive, underpowered, unfocused, overly restrictive and invasive of our privacy.

Except I think it isn't. Certainly there are flaws, but I still think the Xbox One will be a big hit and (controversially) a bigger hit than Sony's much praised PS4 in the long run. Here are the reasons why:

Read our full Xbox One vs PS4 comparison

Content will be more innovative

Bundling Kinect means the Xbox One's £429 RRP is significantly more than the PS4's £349, but it also means this remarkable technology will be fundamental to developers and provide them with a consistent platform to work with letting their innovation run wild.

By contrast the PS4 makes its Kinect-equivalent £55 PlayStation Camera optional to win a price war. This is popular in our economically savaged times, but even if Camera sales are huge they will never cover 100 per cent of PS4 owners and developers can never code with the confidence they can for the Xbox One. Furthermore with the outlay for the PlayStation Camera, the PS4 totals £405. For the sake of £25, it wasn't worth fracturing the PS4 platform.

The Xbox One's performance shortfall will be irrelevant

Some impressive analysis of Xbox One and PS4's performance has been made, but in reality it is unlikely to matter. The PS3 was also more powerful than the Xbox 360, but coding difficulties meant gamers rarely saw the benefit. Now the machines are so similar much of the code can be shared and that issue has gone, but two problems remain: laziness and the PC.

The first has me questioning whether developers will take the time and effort to truly code incremental improvements into the visuals of PS4 titles and even then whether the majority will actually notice the difference.

As for the PC, its performance stands above both consoles this time around and its titles will likely be the source code for multi-format conversions rather than separate development of each format. In this scenario tweaks to prioritise one console's performance over the other seems even less likely, especially as Xbox One titles should look incredible in any case.

Greater functionality will give it a longer shelf life

Much anger has been expressed that the Xbox One is a jack of all trades with not enough focus on gaming. The problem with this stance is the One actually gives games developers a more ambitious and creative core platform for titles then provides a greater multimedia experience on top.

Both consoles come with a range of US and UK centric streaming services (with more inevitably in the pipeline) and Blu-ray drives, but the key differential is the One's HDMI pass-thru. This lets the console control your television and potentially any connected digibox allowing the One to become centre of your living room. There are a lot of ifs and buts here, but the PS4 simply cannot ever do this. Yes a £40 annual Xbox Live Gold pass will be required, but it looks far more ambitious and integral to our long term home entertainment than the PS4.

Better controller

The PS4 adds a lot into its new Sixaxis – Move, a trackpad and a share button to share moments of gameplay – but it doesn't do enough to address its predecessor's biggest problem: it simply isn't as comfortable as the Xbox controller.

On top of this the Xbox One controller has added trigger rumble motors, a flush battery pack, new low power state when not in use, upgraded headset audio data rates, WiFi Direct pairing and Kinect integration which can automatically orientate split screen gaming based on users' positions during same room multiplayer.

FIFA 14

Better launch line up / launch bundling

The most subjective of these points is the quality of the consoles' games selection, but as we approach launch to me it is the Xbox One that looks to have both the better launch line-up and base bundle. Following Gamescom we now know the Xbox One will have 22 boxed titles at launch verses 15 for the PS4 and arguably bigger exclusives: Halo 5, Forza 5, Dead Rising 3, Ryse, TitanFall, Killer Instinct, Sunset Overdrive, Project Spark, Quantum Break and Below verses Drive Club, Killzone: Shadowfall, Infamous: Second Son, Knack, Octodad: Deadliest Catch and The Order: 1886.

On top of this the £429 RPP of the Xbox One will see it come bundled with FIFA 14 (worth £55), the aforementioned Kinect and a headset. The £349 PS4 will also come with a headset, but no games or PlayStation Camera. To match the One bundle would cost PS4 owners £460. No wonder Sony execs are becoming a little more cautious.

SmartGlass verses Remote Play

Good news for PlayStation fans - recently Sony dropped the price of the floundering PlayStation Vita from $299 to just $199 (£190 to £126) which makes Remote Play between it and the PS4 even more appealing. Furthermore we have Sony's promise that Cloud advances will see the Vita be able to play PS4 games on the move in the coming years.

The problem for Sony is that Microsoft's rival SmartGlass has a much greater scope. Whereas Remote Play currently offers second screen functionality for a PS3 or PS4 with a PSP or Vita, SmartGlass on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One offers this with devices running Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Phone, Windows Server 2012, iOS and Android – devices we no doubt already own. With phones and tablets also looking like the portable gaming formats of the future Sony may need to significantly redesign Remote Play to match it.

Flexibility

For our final point, we're not talking SmartGlass or the wider multimedia capabilities of the Xbox One and its bundled Kinect, but rather something which initially infuriated everyone: Microsoft's attitude.

It is clear with the Xbox One that Microsoft is listening to concerns and taking action. Since the initial reveal it has reversed the console's always-on requirements, mandatory use of Kinect, embraced self-publishing and indie games, taken restrictions off second hand games and added a headset and FIFA14 to the basic bundle to offset the £429 asking price. It has also fractionally boosted the speed of the Xbox One GPU with talk of another spec bump before release.

By contrast Sony has done nothing. In many respects it did not need to, but it hasn't responded to Microsoft repeatedly sweetening the Xbox One bundle and doesn't have a great track record when things do go wrong. Sony has been increasingly smug in recent times, but it is Microsoft actually proving it is determined to act and that attitude when combined with Microsoft's greater financial resources bodes well for the future of the Xbox One long term.

Next, read our look at the launch line-ups of the consoles of yesteryear - are they better than the Xbox One's?

JT

August 28, 2013, 12:41 pm

If I had the choice for a free Xbox One or pay full retail for a PS4, I'd still go with the PS4.

MTRLA

August 28, 2013, 12:52 pm

Basically, if you have the choice of receiving $500 or losing $400 you would go with the loss. Good Job buddy.

Technodad

August 28, 2013, 1:01 pm

Great article, and it is important to remember that X1, thanks to Kinect and TV integration and its cool Snap Mode will attract mainstream sales and still pleased hardcore gamers.

Khaled Ali

August 28, 2013, 1:02 pm

Please revise the title of this article to "why Xbox beats PS4 in the US or UK". In the Middle East, most of the features provided by Microsoft will not be available, which goes to show you how little localization they do. And despite the fact that most of what is said in this article is true, it doesn't change the fact that MS doesn't have any principles of its own, at least Sony is CONSISTENT. Think about that

Dominic Vinall-Smith

August 28, 2013, 1:11 pm

I simply can't think of a better way of putting it than that. Well done sir!

LOLatu

August 28, 2013, 1:14 pm

What a muppet your are

Dominic Vinall-Smith

August 28, 2013, 1:16 pm

I was going to call BS on a number of the factually incorrect fanboy defence you raise. If you like the Xbox One, great, good on you. But please don't write articles that you attempt to word as thoughtful and a 'fair' argument. Your information is largely wrong and badly set out. Good lord. I've read fanboy rants - from BOTH sides - but this is among the worst of them.

Jack

August 28, 2013, 1:16 pm

If i was given a choice of a free ps4 id accept it and trade it in lol

Simon

August 28, 2013, 1:17 pm

Then clearly you are an idiot

Dominic Vinall-Smith

August 28, 2013, 1:18 pm

You know what, sod it, your pricing of the camera is off, the list of launch exclusives for both systems is wrong. You clearly wanted to get things to help you in your argument and have come off looking desperate by warping facts to suit you. I am fed up of fanboys.

dpanch_89

August 28, 2013, 1:21 pm

They still have not announced ANY details on how it would work in the UK. I mean, Sony have a deal with Virgin media...so not sure if they'll integrate XBone with tivo, and sky...well I don't know. They really should announce HOW this is going to work, otherwise the extra money for a HDMI input is totally and utterly wasted.

AndyB

August 28, 2013, 1:25 pm

I agree that the additional power of the PS4 won't make a lot of difference - I don't think there will be much discernible difference in graphics between them. For me, the SmartGlass/RemotePlay isn't important, and neither is the HDMI pass-through (oh no, I have to tell the TV to change inputs when I want to swap between PS4 and TV. How will I cope?)

Bundling FIFA is a good idea from MS, although the price difference means I'll still be better off buying a PS4 + FIFA bundle or even separately.

So the only points that make a difference to me are the controller (both are perfectly comfortable to me, although the additional functionality of the Xbox 1 controller is definitely an improvement, although not something that would make that much difference for me.

To me, the biggest potential issue is complacency from Sony. I've already decided to go for the PS4, but I want the Xbox 1 to be competitive so that Sony doesn't get too smug and start taking their foot off the gas - or even worse, start getting arrogant and ignoring what people want. For the same reason I wish the Wii U was a genuine competitor. But it isn't.

Blastiel

August 28, 2013, 1:27 pm

So is it just the author with his head up Microsoft's arse or the entire website? I own both formats now and will own both the new ones and all I can say is that when this guy bullshits he shovels it with both hands! lol

Luan Bach

August 28, 2013, 1:29 pm

With the number of revisionist opinion pieces on the various tech websites recently, I think the MS PR team has been working overtime to get the "correct message" out to the media. How are your "exclusive" reviews/previews going ?
Personally I've pre-ordered a PS4 and will get the XB One after the price drop, as I can't afford to get both at the same time. Also waiting to see if MS is really going anywhere with all these "innovations" that will work in this country and not costing me extra to use.

Gordon Kelly

August 28, 2013, 1:39 pm

Just my opinion, as it says at the top. Pretty sure I'm allowed that.

Gordon Kelly

August 28, 2013, 1:41 pm

I think that's entirely fair - especially as all the points you mention aren't important to you.

Gordon Kelly

August 28, 2013, 1:42 pm

Agreed. MS's relationship with Sky may stand it in good stead here, but without deals in place they are wasted one of the console's biggest differentiators.

Gordon Kelly

August 28, 2013, 1:43 pm

Could you detail the errors as the camera prices was checked with multiple sources, as was the launch title list.

Gordon Kelly

August 28, 2013, 1:44 pm

I do like it, it is far from perfect, but in my opinion I consider the points I raise to be benefits of the Xbox One. It is far from a rant and far from an attack on the PS4. Calm down.

Gordon Kelly

August 28, 2013, 1:46 pm

We won't be changing the article title as the console isn't even on sale yet. This is an opinion piece about 'potential'. Whether the Xbox One lives up to that potential will be another thing entirely.

Marlon

August 28, 2013, 1:46 pm

The bit about it being under powered is rubbish. Microsoft is just now starting to slowly release specs surrounding the intricacies of the CPU, they have yet to elaborate on the GPu, other than increased clock speed. We still don't know what exactly is "customized" about the GPu. Previously, all we knew was, it was essentially a 7790 and the processor, an AMD Jaguar. From there, we all decided to through our opinions out (I included). Now, we know the CPu is Heavily customized, consists of a whopping 5 billion transistors (that's a big deal) and is faster than the Intel Itanium (Poulsen) processor. We know there's a dual core audio chip, there's a shared 47mb's of cache for 4 of the main CPu cores, power gating technology etc. So far, it seems Sony focused on GPu whilst Microsoft focused on CPu. Somewhere, down the line, these consoles will break even...and we don't even know all of the specs yet. What clocks speeds is MS going to run on that CPU? Does anyone remember when, 1 month before the Xbox 360 released, they announced the system was going to have 512mb of RAM, rather than 256? Is that going to happen again? Anything can happen at this point.

Gordon Kelly

August 28, 2013, 1:47 pm

Agreed. I think over the lifetime of a console it's initial purchase price tends to become irrelevant. If I had a strong opinion on one console over the other it would make no sense to commit to a lifetime of using the other one.

Gordon Kelly

August 28, 2013, 1:50 pm

You're spot on. Once everything has come out and the console's are launched I really can't see the power difference being huge or - more importantly - being exploited.

Khaled Al Gaoud

August 28, 2013, 2:00 pm

My request was rhetoric, don't take it literally buddy :-) it's your article, and I DO respect your opinion

Drewidian

August 28, 2013, 2:02 pm

Don't forget that there's a fairly good chance that Cable/Satellite companies will adopt the XBox One and offer it for $99 - $199 on a 2 year contract. It would help with the cord cutting issue and they could have unique interactive experiences that you just won't be able to get on the PS4 which just takes eyes completely away from their services. I think in 2014 after the initial run, we will see cable companies and MS announce key partnerships. MS did state that they were looking to roll out the same features to all of its markets with the XBox One. If they do this, It would quickly outsell the PS4.

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