There are plenty of people debating the strengths and weaknesses of the PS4 versus the Xbox One online but for once there is a clear difference between them- the new Xbox is the clear loser. Make sure you get insurance quotes for covering your console and TV because the chances are you risk smashing them, in either excitement or fury...
The November launch date means both will be available for Christmas 2013 so sales are likely to be brisk. Both will charge an annual subscription for multiplayer gaming access but the PS4 is 20% cheaper which is surprising- the Xbox One at $499US will cost a thousand Rand more than the PS4 at $399US. So in theory the Xbox should be better, right?
Wrong. Technically they are very similar in terms of performance but the Sony
console will have the edge. The PS4 version has 18 CUs (Compute Units) generating over 1.8 teraflops of processing power, while the Xbox one has only 12 CUs. The memory and architecture of both is equally high spec with eight-core AMD x86 CPUs and 8GB RAM so although there may be subtle differences between them the Xbox
is certainly no better than the PS4 in terms of hardware.Turning to the new controllers, again Sony seems better. The DualShock 4 is apparently the best controller Sony has ever designed. It has a new touchpad and a speaker for personal sound along with other improvements. The Xbox One controller is slightly better than the 360, but they have fixed problems rather than introduced new features. Notably they improved the D-pad and thumb sticks which will reduce the frustration of fighting game combos.The big difference between the two is their approach to game ownership. When it was first announced, the Xbox One system would have limited how many people you can lend your games to and control their resale. The console was going to be forced to report back every 24 hours of play to authenticate itself online otherwise offline play would be disabled, so you could only play a game without internet connection for one day. This led to a huge backlash against the Xbox and extensive criticism in the media. People on the internet reacted so badly to the pre-owned sales limitations and authentication requirements that Microsoft U-turned on these features in a matter of days and hurriedly abandoned their plans.So is anything about the Xbox better? Well it ships with an updated Kinect device which can now track six people at once, and which can recognise voices and faces. Since the PlayStation Eye will come as a separate purchase and cost around R700 that closes the price gap a little, and there are promises of great features in the future such as 'Illumiroom' and voice/gesture controlling your TV. However the always-on requirement, constant monitoring and mandatory camera will leave many people feeling that Big Brother is coming in through your console.