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The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are fighting once again for your gaming dollars this holiday season. Which one’s better? Does it really matter which one you choose if they all have the exact same games?
Today, we’re comparing the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 to help you make the best choice this holiday season.
Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are priced similarly.
Both consoles seem to have deals where the console plus an included game is priced at around $350 to $400 (depending on your retailer).
Both consoles have bundle deals with popular games – like Star Wars Battlefront, Black Ops 3, and NHL16.
The only major pricing difference is that you can buy a refurbished Xbox One from GameStop for $299 USD. That’s the cheapest price for the console we’ve seen so far. It’s $50 cheaper than any PlayStation 4 deal we’ve found.
2) Processing Power
Based on pure hardware specs, the PlayStation 4 has faster graphics rendering capabilities – which is the most important spec to look at when you’re comparing consoles.
However, the Xbox One has about 10% faster processing power than the PS4 (1.75 GHz AMD 8-core CPU compared to the PS4’s 1.6GHz CPU).
The PlayStation 4 has 8GB of GDDR5 memory, which on paper, is vastly superior to the Xbox One’s 8GB of DDR3. However, neither system allocates all of that RAM to developers – some of that RAM is needed to run the system.
For example, PS4 developers have 4.5GB of RAM with which to work, while the Xbox One has 5GB. Once again, the Xbox One has slower memory, so the edge still goes to the PS4.
3) 1080p on PS4 Versus 720p or 900p on Xbox One
All of the above tech specs probably don’t really mean much to you. So I’ll give you a better demonstration of how this works where it matters most: TechRadar has published some excellent PS4 and Xbox One side by side comparisons.
Check out the one below:
It’s not immediately noticeable, but if you had to pick, you would probably say the PS4 has more clarity than the Xbox One version. Take a look at the long distance views on the PS4, when you can see slightly further distances and more moving objects.
In many cases, this sharpness is related to resolution.
One of the biggest differences between the Xbox One and PS4 is in their resolution. The Xbox One has had an unfortunate trend of being forced to downgrade games below HD resolution.
So you’ll see PS4 games running at 1080p resolution at 30 or 60 frames per second while the exact same games on the Xbox One run at 720p or 900p at 30 or 60 frames per second.
Some of the games where this difference is especially noticeable include Assassin’s Cree, Call of Duty: Ghosts, The Witcher 2, Thief, and Tomb Raider, all of which run at 1080p HD on the PS4 and run below
If you don’t care too much about tech specs, then your biggest differences between the two consoles will lie in their controllers and their games.
First, the controllers are all about personal preference. Personally, I grew up playing PlayStation controllers and never used anything else.
And then I got an Xbox 360 and loved the new joystick positions.
On the modern controllers, both Sony and Microsoft have made great strides in terms of how the controllers fit into your hands. They’re ergonomic and form-fitting with smooth edges and rounded curves.
The PS4 controller does have the unique added benefit of the front touchpad and mono speaker. The front touchpad has been integrated into the control scheme of some games, while the mono speaker gives you another way to receive audio feedback alongside vibrations from the game.
Ultimately, the main difference between the two controllers is whether you feel more comfortable with off-setting dual analog sticks (on the Xbox One) or parallel analog sticks (on the PS4).
5) Game Library
Both the PS4 and Xbox One have over 100 games in their library. The number of exclusives is slightly lower with this generation than it has been with earlier console generations. Major releases like Fallout 4 and Black Ops 3 are almost always released simultaneously on both consoles.
In terms of the number of games, the PlayStation 4 beats the Xbox One hands down. However, there are plenty of games – like indie games – that you may never play nor care about.
However, there are some exclusives worth knowing about, including:
-Dead Rising 3
-Forza Motorsport 5
-Halo 5: Guardians
-The next Gear of War game
-The Last of Us
-God of War III
The PlayStation 4 tends to get more independently-developed games, while the Xbox One tends to get bigger name exclusives.
Both Microsoft and Sony do battle over DLC releases. Call of Duty Advanced Warfighter and Call of Duty: Ghosts, for example, both received content on Xbox One one month before they received PS4 content.
Meanwhile, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 will have the opposite occur, as content will arrive on PlayStation 4 one month before it arrives on Xbox One.
6) Backwards Compatibility
In terms of backwards compatibility, neither console supported backwards compatibility at launch. However, thanks to a new software update, over 100 disc and downloadable Xbox 360 titles will work on Xbox One this year. Better yet, new Xbox One features – like streaming and taking screenshots and videos – have been crossed over to older games.
Microsoft expects hundreds more games to be backwards compatible throughout 2016.
On the PlayStation, Sony’s PlayStation Now service lets you rent older games in exchange for a fee – which sucks when you can’t play the older games you legally purchased for free.
Making matters worse for both consoles is that certain games aren’t backwards compatible at all. You can only play Halo 4 on the Xbox 360, for example, and you can only play Uncharted 3 on the PS4.
The Bottom Line
The PlayStation 4 has better graphics, better power, a wider variety of games, and easier access to cheaper games (through PS Plus)
The Xbox One has bigger exclusive games and better backwards compatibility.