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Xbox One vs PS4

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The battle between the Xbox One and PS4 will decide the future of home gaming. But choosing which to buy is easier said than done.

They both cost around £400 with a game, they both come from respected names with long histories in the gaming field. They even share many of the same games. To make your decision a bit easier, we've compared the Xbox One and PS4 in minute detail, from the games available to the hardware under the hood.

Xbox One vs PS4 -Video Comparison

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Want to get a closer look at the new game consoles in action? Watch our comparison video below.

Xbox One vs PS4 – Price and Release Date

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At launch, the Xbox One was significantly more expensive than the PS4. It was down to the Xbox One’s inclusion of the Kinect sensor, a separate and fairly advanced piece of motion tracking hardware. However, that’s starting to change.

The many reports about the PS4 outselling the Xbox One in its first few months have caused Microsoft to start being very aggressive about the Xbox console’s pricing. It started off at £429.99 with no games, but you can buy the new Titanfall bundle for £399.99, or even less at some online stores. If we say Titanfall is worth about £40, that makes the console just £359.99. That’s just £10 more than the PS4’s RRP – and don’t forget, you get Kinect too. Some stores are offering the console alone for £379.99 too.

The latest PS4 bundle includes infamous: Second Son, and that retails for around £384.99. Sony’s PS4 just doesn’t have a real price advantage anymore. And that makes choosing between the PS4 and Xbox One even harder.

As has been the case since launch, the PS4 is slightly harder to get hold of than the Xbox One. Microsoft’s console is available just about everywhere, but stocks of the ‘console only’ PS4 package are very limited. You’re best off looking for a bundle – either the official inFamous or Killzone ones, or a ‘store made’ bundle.

Xbox One vs PS4 – Best Current and Future Games

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The most important factor with any game console is games. 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 for both consoles. This was true with the last generation too, but the Xbox One and PS4 make it easier than ever for developers to cross-produce for both platforms.

Let’s have a look at the top games that are already available, and those that are coming out for each console.

Best Current Xbox One games
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PS4 and Xbox One games 1
Dead Rising 3
Available: NOW

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.

- Read the full Dead Rising 3 review

PS4 and Xbox One games 3
Forza Motorsport 5
Available: NOW

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.

8/10 - Read the full Forza 5 review

Best Future Xbox One games
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PS4 and Xbox One games 8
Available: March 2014

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 looks fantastic, but we’re waiting for our review copy to see if it really pans out successfully. Activision has already admitted its multiplayer-only style makes it a hard game to market.

Read more about Titanfall

PS4 and Xbox One games 4
Halo 5
Available: Who knows

An obvious game to watch out for on the Xbox One is the new Halo game. Halo is the series that ‘made’ the Xbox console, which initially floundered against the Sony PlayStation in sales terms.

We know Halo 5 is being worked on, but most other details are unknown at present. It’s going to be made by 343 Industries, but the story, the release date and what it’ll look like are all being kept carefully under wraps at present.

Best current PS4 games
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PS4 and Xbox One games 6
Killzone: Shadowfall
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.

7/10 - Read our full Killzone: Shadow Fall review

Best future PS4 games
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PS4 and Xbox One games 5
Infamous: Second Son
Available: March 2014
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

Read more about inFamous: Second Son

The order 1886
The Order:1886
Available: Autumn 2014

One of the PS4's upcoming 'new IP' games is The Order: 1886. It's a story-driven, single-player, first person action adventure, according to the people making it. This is actually quite refreshing among all the high-profile next-gen games that try to cram multiplayer elements in.

It's set in an alternate version of Victorian era London. Expect plenty of grey, grim and foggy-looking cobbled streets.

PS4 and Xbox One games 9
Uncharted 4
Available: Who knows

One of Sony’s top gaming franchises is Uncharted, the movie-like action series. It’s dramatic, it’s funny and it has always proved a stunning visual showcase. Uncharted 4 is likely to be one of the best-looking ‘next-gen’ games we’ve seen – when it arrives.

When it will touchdown is anyone’s guess, though. In November 2013, developer Naughty Dog released a teaser for the game, but left no further info other than to expect news in 2014.

Best cross-platform games, current and future
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PS4 and Xbox One games
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Available: Now

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.

7/10 - Read the full Call of Duty: Ghosts review

PS4 and Xbox One games 7
Need for Speed: Rivals
Available: Now

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.

9/10 - Read the full Need for Speed: Rivals review

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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.

Read more about Destiny

Games – Conclusions
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At present, the Xbox One has a 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.

Top reasons to pick an Xbox One
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Larger size may mean it’s more reliable long-term
The huge console size of the Xbox One gives air more room to circulate, which is likely to ensure the console does not overheat even when under strain for prolonged periods.

Kinect is undeniably cool
Not everyone likes Kinect, but it has serious potential that you don’t get with the PS4 camera. For example, you can use it to control the console, swiping in the air to perform commands.

Wider distribution of Kinect will mean for more interesting motion gaming
Even more important than the inbuilt features of Kinect, that every Xbox One ships with a Kinect sensor means that developers will be able to confidently put Kinect features into their games. As not everyone will have a PS4 camera, the gaming audience is fragmented.

It acts as a hub for your other home entertainment gear
You can plug another piece of hardware into your Xbox One using its HDMI input. This lets you switch between, say, your digibox and the Xbox One, using the Xbox interface. There’s only one input, but if you use a receiver it’s all you’ll need.

Titanfall is an Xbox One console exclusive
One of the most anticipated next-gen games is Titanfall, a game made by some of the sharpest minds behind the Call of Duty franchise. It’s apparently going to be a PC/Xbox exclusive ‘forever’, so if you want it, you want an Xbox One.

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It’s much smaller than an Xbox One
If you have a cramped lounge/bedroom, the smaller size of the PS4 will come in handy. It is much, much smaller than the Xbox One.

It doesn’t have a separate power brick
Also important, the PS4 incorporates its own power supply while the Xbox One has a separate power brick. This is a big win if you want to take the console around a friend’s house as it’s much, much lighter.

The PS4 is more powerful
The PS4 has a significantly more powerful GPU – graphics processing unit – than the Xbox One. It’s about 50 per cent more powerful.

Remote Play for Vita is awesome

This one only matter for PS Vita owners, but the PS4’s Remote Play is pretty neat. It lets you play full PS4 games on your Vita over your Wi-Fi connection.

PS Plus’s free games plan is great
The PS Plus service costs about £40 a year, but it gets you free games every month. And at present it’s better than the freebie games offering you get with an Xbox One through Live Gold.

The PS4 controller is better

We think the PS4 controller is better than the Xbox One’s. This one will divide opinions, but we’re not fans of the clicky triggers on the Xbox One pad.

Xbox One vs Sony PS4 – Design

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Xbox One

Xbox One – 10 per cent larger than 360, 'big black box' design, 3.18kg
PS4 – Slanted design, 2.8kg

The Xbox One and PS4 are completely different prospects bodywork-wise.

Microsoft’s Xbox One is far, far larger – an imposing black monolith of the living room. The PS4 is sleeker, slimmer and less likely to dominate your under-TV space.

Both keep the severe, black and masculine style that’s common to games consoles, though.

PS4The Xbox One is 10 per cent larger than its predecessor, the Xbox 360. It weighs around the same as the last console, though, at roughly 3kg.

The PS4 is only marginally lighter, at 2.8kg. This shouldn’t come as a great surprise, though, as they both have to fit in similar components.

Why the extra size in the Xbox One? It’s likely that part of the internal volume of the Xbox One’s case is there to aid cooling.

Overheating was a significant problem in the Xbox 360, responsible for causing many of the red ring issues that plagued the console’s earlier years.

Xbox One size
This picture demonstrates the size difference very well.

PS4 vs Xbox One - Which is more powerful?Games border

If you're a hardcore gamer, there's a good chance you care about how your games look. And that's all down to the power a console has on tap.

Which of the new consoles is more powerful? The simple answer is the PS4. We'll look deeper into the technical reasons why in a minute.

What this means in practice right now is that some cross-platform games, such as Battlefield 4, run at a lower resolution on the Xbox One than they do on the PS4. This may equalise over the life of the consoles as developers learn more about each consoles, but the PS4 definitely has a slight edge at launch.
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Xbox One vs PS4 – CPUmini border

Xbox One – AMD 8-core Jaguar CPU
PS4 - AMD 8-core Jaguar CPU

The Xbox One and PS4 use extremely similar CPUs made by AMD. Both use an APU setup, which links together both CPU and GPU into one package.

The CPUs are 8–core chips using ‘Jaguar’ cores – a term picked by their maker AMD to denote their chipset generation. The Xbox One runs at 1.75GHz, which was bumped-up from their original spec of 1.6GHz. Sony's runs slightly cooler at 1.6GHz, which may make some of you think the Xbox One is more powerful. This is not the case. The power of the GPU is much more important here.

PS4 vs Xbox One – GPU and RAMmini border

Xbox One - Comparable to Radeon HD 7000-series, 8GB DDR3 RAM and 32MB eSRAM
PS4 - Comparable to Radeon HD 7000-series, 8GB GDDR5 RAM

The PS4 and Xbox One both use an AMD GPU.

AMD logoAt first glance it seems like their GPUs may be identical, but they are not. On paper the PS4 graphics processor is 50 per cent more powerful, with 1,152 shader processors against the Xbox One’s 768.

Realising that this sounded pretty bad, Microsoft worked on upping the One's power a bit and on 2 August announced that its GPU speed from 800MHz to 853MHz. It's a nice tweak for the tech heads, but doesn't see the Xbox One match up to the PS4.

Having extra processing power will let the PS4 perform more tasks simultaneously – which should in theory allow for more impressive visual effects.

A more impressive GPU is matched with more impressive-sounding RAM. The PS4 uses GDDR5 RAM, while the Xbox One has more conventional DDR3 memory – and both have 8GB of the stuff.

GDDR5 has much higher bandwidth than DDR3, designed for intensive applications such as in graphics cards, while DDR3 is ‘bog standard’ system memory.

If DDR3 was all the Xbox One had, it’d be in serious trouble. But it also has an eSRAM buffer that should help to bridge the 100GB/sec bandwidth gap between the two RAM types. It has a 32MB chunk of eSRAM that will function as a frame buffer.

The news that the Sony PS4 is (almost) categorically more powerful than the Xbox One is one of the reasons why the PS4 pre-order sold out before the Xbox One's.

Read our full strip-down of the Xbox One and PS4 graphics hardware

With a more powerful GPU and, seemingly, faster memory, the PS4 is clearly out in front on graphical specs.

But how do they pan out compared to PC graphics cards? The Xbox One is said to be on-par with a Radeon 7790, the PS4 a Radeon 7870. Unless you're a PC gamer, that's really not going to mean much.

Let's reduce it to cold hard cash. That the Radeon 7790 costs around £100 and the Radeon 7870 £150 tells you all you need to know.

However, EA’s chief technology officer Rajat Teneja claims that the consoles are a whole generation ahead of the top-end PCs on the market. To some that’ll seem like a ridiculous statement when top-end gaming PCs cost thousands of pounds, and these consoles will cost a few hundred.

What’s less contentious is that the Xbox One and PS4 are around 8-10 times as powerful as the previous-gen Xbox 360 and PS3. However, let’s not forget that an increase in graphical fidelity requires an exponential increase in power – so we won’t be looking at games that look 8-10 times as good.

Xbox One vs PS4 –GraphicsGames border

A key question for any head-to-head in the games world is - which has better graphics? It is a question that is, and will probably always be, very difficult to impossible to answer.

As with the current Xbox 360 vs PS3 battle, which console has prettier graphics will vary from game-to-game, and generally the difference is not that great. It's all down to the way games are made.

A developer produces a game for a 'lead SKU', the core platform that it decides to create the building blocks of a game on. That game is then ported over to the other platforms it is to be released on.

Of course, with a project that's as big a deal as an AAA console game, work will happen on the Xbox One and PS4 versions simultaneously. 

The one way to guess at which console has the greater graphics potential is to look at what is going on under the hood - checking out the CPU, the GPU and the core system memory that run the show.

Many of the best upcoming games for the next-generation consoles are not exclusives. Bungie's Destiny, Battlefield 4, Assassin's Creed IV and many others will arrive for both systems. And as the consoles use the same processor architecture, porting between the two should be fairly easy.

Xbox One vs PS4 - AppsGames border

If you want functionality other than what comes pre-installed with an PS4 or Xbox One, you need apps. These give you access to streaming services like YouTube, Netflix and so on.

The Xbox One currently has a slightly stronger apps line-up. It has Sky's Now TV and Sky Go services, and - more important for many - 4OD. These are missing from the PS4. Here's how the roster of the consoles' main apps pans out:

Xbox One apps
If you want the game console to work as your primary entertainment station, the Xbox One is clearly superior at the moment. The downside is that you need an Xbox Live Gold account to view these services - you don't need the equivalent (PlayStation Plus) with a PS4.

Xbox One vs PS4 - Controllers

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Which is the better gamepad? The DualShock 4 or the Xbox One pad? It's not an easy one to call. First, let's have a look at the pads. 

Xbox One controller

Xbox One controller

DualShock 4

Dualshock 4

Both have the genetic material of their forebears, but the DualShock 4 feels like more of a change. Microsoft has stuck with what worked so well in the Xbox 360 controller with the Xbox One pad, and as such it's more of a tweak than a full ground-up redesign.

There are two main changes. The Xbox One pad has rumble motors built into the triggers to give you feedback when, for example, shooting guns. Microsoft has also made huge improvement to the D-pad. The mushy Xbox 360 D-pad has been switched for one that's much more clicky and responsive. It'll work wonders on Street Fighter-style fighting games.

The DualShock 4's changes are more marked. It's a bit chunkier than the previous DualShock controllers and a lot heavier too, giving a firmer feel than the last-gen Dualshock 3 pad.

Sony has also massively improved the analogue sticks in the DualShock 4. Where the DualShock 3 wasn't really much cop for first-person shooters, the new pad is great for almost all types of console games. There's also a new touch pad on the front, between the sticks and the main buttons, and a Share button to make uploading your gameplay videos easy.

After all that, have we really found a victor? Not as such. If you loved the Xbox 360 pad, you'll probably prefer the Xbox One controller. However, the DualShock 4 has a robust feel that previous PlayStation pads simply haven't had.

Xbox One vs PS4 - Accessories

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There aren't all that many official Xbox One and PS4 accessories available yet. Here's which Official Sony-made accessories have been announced:

PS4 accessories

Things to take note of include that there are currently no first-party steering wheels available for either console, and that Sony does not offer a media remote for the PS4 yet. Sony has, however, announced a rather more exciting product - Project Morpheus.

This is an Oculus Rift-style gaming headset that offers a virtual reality-like gaming experience. We currently have no idea when it'll arrive, though. It probably won't be in 2014.

Want a steering wheel? There are officially sanctioned third-party wheels available for each console. Here's a quick look at each.

For PS4: Thrustmaster T80 DriveClub edition (£69.99)

PS4 wheel

This is an entry-level wheel with plastic pedals. It also lacks true force feedback, which is a must for any remotely serious racing wheel. It's not really a wheel for the enthusiast. However, we believe that most existing wheels that will work with the PS3 should be able to function with the PS4. Check out the Logitech G27 if you want a real racing wheel.

For Xbox One: Thrustmaster TX Racing Wheel Ferrari 458 Italia Edition (£249.99)

Thrustmaster F80

The Xbox One is far pickier about which wheels it will work with than the PS4. It's good to see that the one wheel recommended on Microsoft's Xbox website is a high-end one. The Thrustmaster TX Ferrari 458 Italia edition has a proper force feedback motor, metal pedals and a detachable steering wheel.

Xbox Live Gold vs PlayStation PlusGames border

Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus are the paid-for premium parts of the Xbox Live and PSN online services. If you don’t look for a bargain deal online, a year’s subscription to each costs you £39.99. Shop around and it’s easy enough to find a deal for £29.99 a year.

The more important issue – what does that get you?  Traditionally, Xbox Live Gold was thought-of as the much stronger service. It has always had a stronger community. But that is starting to change.

While Xbox Live Gold still makes much more of the social side of the service with things like visual avatars, a stronger achievements system and much clearer notifications of when your friends are about, you get better freebies with PlayStation Plus.

At present, PlayStation Plus offers around 10 free games for PS3 and PS Vita – and a handful are rotated each month. Unless you’re a hardcore gamer, this free stash may be enough to keep you busy year-round. Xbox Live Gold has done its best to emulate this, by offering two free games a month. However, the games selection and the number of titles on offer haven’t matched PS Plus’s.

Both Microsoft and Sony have said they plan to continue offering free games through their paid-for online plans. However, we’ll have to wait until the consoles are released to see what we actually get for the Xbox One and PS4 – ‘legacy’ games are currently offered, which the new consoles simply won’t have yet.

PS4 Remote Play
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One of the neatest new software/hardware features of the PS4 is how it works with the PS Vita, Sony’s gaming handheld. You’ll be able to play PS4 games on your PS Vita, streaming them over your home broadband connection or using a Wi-Fi Direct connection between the two boxes.

It’s a free feature, and one that makes the Vita handheld suddenly seem a lot more attractive. The PS4 automatically downscales the video to match the Vita’s screen, making it much less data-intensive than a full 1080p stream. The Vita has a 960x544 pixel screen, which is a way below even 720p.

Vita Remote Play in itself is nothing new, however support in the PS3 generation was very poor, making few people even realise it existed. The PS4 also has separate hardware components to handle video conversion and streaming, meaning sacrifices don’t have to be made elsewhere.

There’s just one limitation – you can’t use Remote Play for games that need the PS4 camera. While the Vita has its own cameras, the extra processing that would be required to process the separate input wirelessly makes it completely unfeasible.

Of course, there’s no equivalent for the Xbox One. It offers some Xbox integration through the Windows Phone mobiles, but there’s nothing quite like Remote Play on offer.

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There's no particular 'wrong choice' to be made between the two consoles at present. The PS4 is more powerful but there's unlikely to be many huge benefits for now, and the Xbox One has a stronger launch line-up. If you have a PS Vita, Sony's pushing of Remote Play is something worth checking out.

Next, read more about PS4 backwards compatibility

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