In the automotive industry, there are Chevy devotees and those with a fondness for Ford. In professional sports, Cowboys fans and Eagles fans have duked it out — pretty much forever.
And in the cutthroat war for video-game supremacy, the competition’s more heated than ever this month. It’s Sony — the electronics company behind the highly anticipated PlayStation 4 (left), launching Nov. 15 — versus Microsoft — the computer giant responsible for the Xbox One (right), launching Nov. 22.
Both systems are part of the eighth generation of video-game consoles, the rollout of which began in November 2012 with Nintendo’s Wii U, a family-friendly unit already considered a distant third among serious gamers.
Now the real battle is on; preorder allocations for both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 have sold out, and gamers around the country, no doubt, will muscle their way into line, alongside Santa’s elves, when they hit stores this month.
Haven’t decided which one to put on your wish list? Here’s a side-by-side comparison of both systems vying to be the year’s high-scorer.
Both systems have a black, boxy, monolithic design that hardly seems cutting edge.
Some have compared the look of the large, rectangular Xbox One to an old VCR.
Sony’s PS4 unit is smaller than the Xbox One and benefits from an angular design and a bifurcated appearance. Though larger, the Xbox One is only slightly heavier than the PS4.
Controller preference is highly subjective, but it’s clear that the Xbox One controller and the PS4 DualShock 4 controller aren’t terribly different in basic design than their Xbox 360 and and PS3 DualShock 3 counterparts (dual shock sticks remain symmetrical on the PS4 and asymmetrical on the Xbox One, for example).
However, noteworthy upgrades have been made, such as extra rumble features and a more responsive D-pad on the Xbox One controller and the addition of a touch pad on the PS4 controller.
Motion Control: PS4 Camera vs. Xbox One Kinect
Dance Central fanatics notwithstanding, most Xbox 360 owners view the Kinect motion sensor as little more than a fancy paperweight.
However, Microsoft has made Xbox One Kinect, which is equipped with a 1,080p camera with a wider lens, 10 times more powerful. It is designed to accommodate smaller environments and more players (up to six) than the original Kinect. Plus, the voice and motion controls are more sensitive.
Sony has promised similar performance from the PS4 Camera, but the key lies in how the Xbox One Kinect and PS4 Camera will be utilized with shooters, racers and other hardcore genres — not just fitness and dance titles.
Score: Too early to tell.
TV and Multimedia
Microsoft has an ambitious plan in place to make the Xbox One the centerpiece of the living room. This includes an HDMI pass-through port, which allows other electronic devices to have their video routed through the game console.
In terms of second-screen functionality, Xbox SmartGlass lets you use your phone, tablet or PC as a second screen that interacts with the Xbox One for pausing movies, surfing the Web on your TV, viewing game data, downloading games and much more.
The PlayStation 4 has a similar program, but compatibility with the PS Vita, Sony’s handheld gaming device (Microsoft has yet to enter the handheld arena), gives the PS4 a decided advantage.
Both the Xbox One and PS4 will stream Netflix, HBO Go and the like, but, as with the Xbox 360, accessing Xbox One’s media services will require a subscription to Xbox Live Gold. The PS4 has no such fee.
Under the Hood
According to www.edgeon
line.com, the “PlayStation 4 is currently around 50 percent faster than its rival Xbox One.”
Working to bridge the gap, Microsoft has “recently upped the clock speed of Xbox One,” which, according to some sources, is only a negligible improvement.
With multiplatform games for modern consoles, publishers usually appeal to the lowest common denominator to save time and money, meaning most PS4 titles will look and sound about the same as their Xbox One counterparts. However, console exclusives may show that the PS4 has more graphical processing power.
A video game system, no matter how cool looking, how powerful or how gadget-ready, is only as good as its games. Numerous titles scheduled for launch day, such as Assassin’s Creed IV, Madden 25 and NBA 2K 14, are multiplatform, leaving just 12 next-gen console exclusives (not counting indie titles and download-only games): four for the PS4 and eight for the Xbox One.
PS4 launch-day exclusives: Drive Club, Knack, Resogun and Killzone Shadow Fall, the sixth entry in the popular first-person shooter series.
Xbox One launch exclusives: Crimson Dragon, Fighter Within, Forza 5, Killer Instinct, LocoCycle, Powerstar Golf, Ryse and Dead Rising 3, the highly anticipated survival horror game.
Suggested Retail Price
The PlayStation 4 will cost $399, while the Xbox One is priced $100 higher at $499.
The main reason is because the PS4 Camera, which is available for $59.99 sold separately, will not be included with the PS4 system, while the Kinect 2.0 will be packaged with the Xbox One.
In general, with the economy still in recovery mode, that $100 difference could help move a lot of PS4 consoles.
Launch day exclusives notwithstanding, the clear winner in the pre-emptive console wars is Sony’s PlayStation 4.
However, both systems are likely to wow gamers with their cutting-edge graphics and sounds, advanced online features and, players hope, new uses for their respective motion controls.
The late-November battle between these titans might prove to be epic, but it certainly won’t be Game Over.