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PS4 has lost the high ground in next-gen console battle

Andy Vandervell by

PS4 vs Xbox One

Post-E3, Sony execs must have been tempted to dance a little jig of delight (in private, of course, as no one wants to see exec jig in public, just ask Steve Ballmer). Microsoft had gifted them good will, momentum and a bountiful cache of grenades to chuck at Microsoft whenever they felt like letting off steam. The famous 'game sharing' video was the peak of such efforts, but Sony has rarely missed an opportunity to poke Microsoft in the ribs.

It will think twice now.

Recent weeks have seen a number of small blows to the PS4 and its 'anointed winner' status in some circles - a preposterous concept, of course, but a common one all the same. First was the news that Driveclub, Sony's exclusive 'socially connected' racing title, is delayed to 2014; next was the news that Titanfall is now a confirmed, permanent Xbox One exclusive rather than a time limited one; and finally the bombshell from an official FAQ that the PS4 won't support DLNA (the wireless networking standard), MP3 playback (yes, you read that correctly) or external hard drives (and this one, too).

Loss of launch titles

The first announcement put a serious dent in the PS4's launch line-up. As our look at the best and worst console launch line-ups in history showed, a good racing game is an essential ingredient in any good console launch line-up. The SNES, our winner in that feature, had F-Zero; the original PlayStation and the PS2 had Ridge Racer; the first Xbox had Project Gotham Racing; the Xbox 360 had no less than three big hitting racing games in PGR 3, Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Ridge Racer 6. Oh, and the PS3 had Ridge Racer 7 because... well, Ridge Racer!

The PS4? Well it had Driveclub but no longer does, while the Xbox One comes flying out of the gate with Forza Motorsport 5. Both get Need for Speed: Rivals, but that's a consolation prize in comparison. There's a good reason Driveclub was meant to be a launch title, so not having it is a serious dent in Sony's plans. Titanfall, meanwhile, isn't a launch title for the Xbox One, but is in the 'launch window' and it's one of the few 'new IPs' (industry parlance "hey, look, we made something that isn't a sequel!") that has gamers purring in anticipation... that's probably not a good choice of word, but I'm running with it. Purring gamers, hmm.

Indeed, looked at objectively, the Xbox One's launch line-up is a winner on many fronts. Dead Rising 3 isn't mentioned often in dispatches, but the series is critically acclaimed and the next-gen edition is exclusive to Xbox One at launch. The PS4 has the edge in indie titles, one it no doubt hopes to retain, but the Microsoft One has the edge where 'system sellers' are concerned. A lot rests on the shoulders of Killzone: Shadow Fall now.

Sony says no to network streaming

The stripping of DLNA, MP3 and external hard drive support, meanwhile, is bizarre. Somewhere in the Sony machine someone has no doubt deduced that few people use the features, and that Sony would rather people use its services to access music, TV and films.

That's probably true, but in dropping the features Sony has shown it isn't quite as in touch with its most loyal, ardent fans as it claims to be. PS3 devotees have been up in arms about these (frankly rather trivial to implement) losses given the PS3 does these things so well. It's stranger still considering DLNA is something touted on numerous Sony devices as a way of sharing content with.... other Sony devices.

People have rightly recognised this as an attempt by Sony to lock them into Sony services and control what they can and can't do, which sounds similar to a certain controversy about always-on DRM that kicked this cycle of recriminations off in the first place.

All these incidents, and Microsoft's occasionally desperate but increasingly effective Xbox One PR campaign, has dented Sony's strut somewhat. In the greater scheme of things none of these are decisive blows because the fate of these consoles won't be decided in the first few months, and there's quite enough gamers to keep the profits flowing for both for years to come. But the idea that the PS4 is the self-evident 'best choice' has long been extinguished.

For my part, I think I'll wait to see what the Steam Machines are like before I decide.

Next, read our in-depth Xbox One vs PS4 comparison

Go to comments

deadlake

October 31, 2013, 1:34 pm

The difference between ps4 and xbox one is that the ps4 will run games at 1080p while the xbox one will run them at 720p and we could go into other effects PS4 has the horses to support.

The ps4 will be £100 cheaper, difficult choice if you want to play BF4 or call of duty ghosts et al.

Ma2ew

October 31, 2013, 1:41 pm

xbox one doesnt have mp3 playback either

NotFromUK

October 31, 2013, 1:42 pm

Does Xbox One then support DLNA? I thought it isn't known yet. I understand UK is more pro-xbox, but I think you're overestimating the effect of Driveclub and missing DLNA supprot. I'd think that if Sony wants to deny DLNA usage, then MS would be willing to do that so much more eagerly to force their own services (that are behind the Live Gold paywall) down users throats. For my part, I'm confident Sony will add DLNA support to PS4 sooner or later.

Alex Walsh

October 31, 2013, 2:11 pm

It wont play music CD's either apparently. So for Playstation loyalists, they'll end up leaving their PS3 plugged in for media streaming, and having the PS4 there for nextgen stuff. Bonkers.

mothergoose85

October 31, 2013, 2:23 pm

No, but it does have xbox music which I believe can playback from your library if you've uploaded it (or it's on a NAS it can see). Could be wrong there but that was my understanding.

mothergoose85

October 31, 2013, 2:24 pm

Difficult IF the game devs leverage the voice commands on the xbox one kinect - I really like the concept of that, if you can say "cover me" rather than having to do a combo key press, that could really add something to the dynammics.

Roofus Dilinger

October 31, 2013, 2:26 pm

"Lost the high ground" seems really ironic with the big FPS's revealing the 720-1080p gap.

Maylon

October 31, 2013, 2:26 pm

Xbox One supports 1080p for games, please stop spreading fud.

Suhaib

October 31, 2013, 2:47 pm

PC! ftw? ok a modest system now is already a baby steam box and you can play soooo many games already from old gold titles to new ones...
not sure what all the fuss is about the new console really.

Guest

October 31, 2013, 2:57 pm

Sorry, what's your source for that statement? Not saying it's not true, just never seen it anywhere.

luvthesnapper

October 31, 2013, 3:38 pm

lol it hasnt lost any ground, by removing features no one uses to begin with.

luvthesnapper

October 31, 2013, 3:40 pm

yea but they can't make it to that resolution. hell, they can barely make 900p, at this point. sure it supports it, but most games aren't running at it.

StonyK

October 31, 2013, 4:24 pm

Strange article. I'd argue the opposite - that PS4 has suddenly jumped to the highest ground possible with two of the main releases (COD and BF4 aside from possibly FIFA) being 1080p on PS4 and 720p on Xbone. That is a big issue because it's not some silly argument about cd's on one (i don't have any anymore!) or don't like kinnect etc it about one machine displaying multi plat game better on one console that the other.
It's like comparing two PC's, one better performance than the other. You'd always pick the better performing one especially if it was £80 cheaper.

deadlake

October 31, 2013, 4:31 pm

The point is that xbox one is rendering in 720 p for "call of duty ghosts", whereas PS4 is pushing for 1080p. Infinity Ward promised parity between platforms and has had to admit this is not possible (at present???).

Impulsi0n

October 31, 2013, 4:36 pm

What is it with you guys, i've noticed 4 articles in the past few weeks being negative about the PS4, in fact its been this way since both console were announce, got a prerogative? Microsoft offering some £££...I always liked this site for its fair and unbiased opinions however if you continue this trend i will stop using this site.

I'm sure the fact that PS4 are only offering, Killzone, fifa, maddan, nfl, battlefield 4, call of duty and many more indie games, yep you got me, this terrible lineup, worst in history its doomed to fail.

Stop looking for issue's with the PS4 and be positive about it, the
fact thats its going to be the most powerful console on the market,
offering 1080p at 60hz and cheaper AND has stuck with its original policies...

GET A GRIP will you.

andyvan

October 31, 2013, 4:36 pm

I confess I wrote this before the COD story broke. I still think the PS4 has lost some of its early momentum, though. Will be interesting to see some real side-by-side comparisons when they both finally launch.

andyvan

October 31, 2013, 4:51 pm

There are positive stories and there are negatives, that's how the world works. You don't get 100% positive all the time. We report the news, and if the news is bad news then that's how it's portrayed.

Case in point, when 'always on' DRM rumours RE: the Xbox were at their height, I wrote this: http://www.trustedreviews.com/...

And where in the article did I say the PS4 was doomed to fail? Clue: no where.

See quote from end: "In the greater scheme of things none of these are decisive blows because the fate of these consoles won't be decided in the first few months..."

All I'm saying here is the PS4 isn't riding a wave as high as it was post-E3, not that it is "doomed to fail" as you put it.

So kindly, and politely, I ask: please read the article

Noel Grundy

October 31, 2013, 5:26 pm

Look at them getting all defensive, Isn't it sweet. IMHO yes the PS4 has more horse power, I don't think anyone will deny that. But I think the Xbox One is a more rounded system. Kinect, Hdmi through put, media support, External hard dive support. 300,000 servers (PS4 15,000). I'm getting a Xbox one day one, Dare say I'll get a PS4 further down the line. Much like I did with the current gen of consoles.

Tim Sutton

October 31, 2013, 5:54 pm

The loss of DNLA is fatal. I would almost certainly have bought a PS4 to replace the HTPC in my living room, but now (games aside) the PS4 has less useful functionality to me than a £30 Raspberry Pi.

I didn't really want a console, but the PS4 was nicely priced and specced and I've actually envied some PS3 owning friends for how well and simply their console handled their whole home theatre needs. I was going to buy my first console since the GameCube, and I'm sure I would have bought many games along the way.

Not now though.

And just as a heads up to the console fanboy wars, seriously stop arguing over 720p upscaled or 1080p native. They'll look almost identical in motion on a TV screen, and if you were actually serious about graphics power and high resolutions, you'd just have a PC.

Kakugo

October 31, 2013, 6:11 pm

I totally agree.
I use my PS3 99% of the time as BD/DVD player and for streaming video from my PC and 1% for games. It looks like for me the PS4 would be as useful as a c**k-flavoured lollipop. Oh well, at least I don't need to wonder anymore if I should upgrade or not.

Bobtheblob

October 31, 2013, 6:13 pm

I love how worked up fanboys get... Tell me, are you being paid by Sony? Or do you hold lots of shares in Sony?

Chris Cooper

October 31, 2013, 9:05 pm

Why is it that none of the FTP games that are going to be available on the PS4 are ever mentioned? Planetside 2, DCUO, and EQ next is a no brainer for a ps4 release once its launched. Not to mention that all 3 of those are MMOs. MMO players have been foaming at the mouth for a console release..and now look at how many the PS4 is giving them. And thats not even mentioning Elder Scrolls Online later! Its just funny how this entire section of the ps4 and psn are conveniently left out of the game line up reviews.

The MP3 (or lack of) I can fully understand. Im sure a ton of ppl love to listen to their own BG music while they play. This is absolutely a MUST fix. But CDs? and DVDs? seriously? If the ability to play a dvd is a deal breaker, then you shouldnt even be looking at a console at all. Get a friggin dvd player and go on about your merry way. CDs??? um...how many people want to fire up the ps4 just to put a music CD in? How many people actually use CDs anymore? Again, if that is a deal breaker....you are on the wrong isle in the electronics dept.

The external HDD is also a weird complaint because it has a replaceable internal HDD.

andyvan

October 31, 2013, 9:20 pm

I, personally, am really interested in Planetside 2, so you have a fair point, but is it in the same mold as a Killzone, Halo, Forza etc? I'm not sure. Maybe this time it will be if Sony gives it a proper push, which I imagine it will.

Chris Cooper

October 31, 2013, 9:31 pm

If you are using your console 99% of the time to watch movies, then a gaming console period is a waste of money. spend $100 and get a blue ray/dvd player and then do a review on that instead of pretending that you were going to spend 400 bux on a console that did the exact same thing as what you have now.

Loghorn

October 31, 2013, 9:37 pm

I can't believe that people are getting so worked up over a very small issue that most average consumers won't care about. Nothing but a bunch of stupid, entitled kids.

Refusing to buy a console or cancelling your pre-orders based on small issues like no MP3 player or no DLNA doesn't make them real gamers; just posers.

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