With just two months until the the Next-gen launches, each company has released most of their specifications on their hardware. We're going to dig in to the specs of each device as well as go into the latest speculations that the PS4 is "50% more powerful" than the Xbox One.
Round 1: Specs
Sony and Microsoft have been mostly up-front about what's inside the box. Both are very close in terms of what they can do although there are some rather nice-sized differences in some key "raw power" areas.
Single-Chip custom Processor CPU. x86-64 AMD Jaguar 8 core GPU: 1.8 TFLOPS
AMD next-gen Radeon based graphics engine 1152 shaders
8 GB GDDR5
500 GB (removable)
305x53x275mm / 6.17 lbs
Blu-Ray 6xCAVDVD 8xCAV
USB 3.0 Super-Speed, Gigabit Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T), IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, HDMI
8 Core Custom CPU (Microsoft) - CPU full specs info not fully revealed 1.31 TFLOPS
853 MHz AMD Radeon GPU 768 Shaders
8 GB DDR3
500 GB (not removable)
335x75x276mm / 7 lbs
USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE 802.111 a/b/g/n dual-band Wi-Fi 2.4/5 Ghz, NO Bluetooth, HDMI
In terms of "raw power", Sony's GDDR5 adds speed and a 1.8 TFLOPS GPU certainly doesn't hurt. On paper, the PS4 is more powerful up front. Most average consumers wouldn't notice a .51 TFLOPS difference or a 384 shader loss, so the XBOX One isn't antiquated right out of the box at all. With Microsoft's promise of loading information like AI and shaders from the "cloud", XB1 may be more powerful than we may know.
Interestingly, a handful of unnamed developers and programmers have come forward when interviewed by Edge and stated the following:
Our contacts have told us that memory reads on PS4 are 40-50 per cent quicker than Xbox One, and its ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit) is around 50 per cent faster. One basic example we were given suggested that without optimisation for either console, a platform-agnostic development build can run at around 30FPS in 1920×1080 on PS4, but it’ll run at “20-something” FPS in 1600×900 on Xbox One. “Xbox One is weaker and it’s a pain to use its ESRAM,” concluded one developer.
Only time will tell how much stronger and faster the next generation of console hardware is but based on raw specs, PS4 seems to win this round.
Round 2: User Interface
Sony hasn't hidden their UI nearly as much as Microsoft has although, as most have guessed, XBOX One's interface most closely resembles Windows 8. In fact, it's almost identical. Both have advantages and disadvantages so let's take a look.
Both systems have relatively attractive User Interfaces but mostly it's preference. Xbox clearly has their's to resemble Windows 8 as closely as possible. Whether or not the consumer likes Windows 8 or not is case by case. In Sony's case, the PS4 received a complete overhaul, although, the PS3's XMB is still hidden in there which is odd but also welcomed provided they have grouped things together in an easier fashion. This round is a draw until we can get our hands on both.
Round 3: Launch Exclusives
Both consoles have a rather mediocre launch lineup as most games are shared across both platforms. Let's take a look at just the exclusive content.
Killzone: Shadow Fall
Guerilla games has been sitting idly by just waiting to unveil its newest, next-gen, FPS, Shadow Fall. Their hard work seems to be coming to fruition as both its E3 and Shuhei Yoshida's presentation at Gamescom (see above) thoroughly impressed. A new setting washed away the browns and grays that the series is known for and we couldn't be more excited.
Delayed: Gran Turismo what? Sony decided to focus (for now) in Drive Club, an arcade style driving game experience that actually seems more fun than expected. Why Sony or Polyphony decided to release Gran Turismo 6 on PS3 as opposed to waiting it out for the PS4 is befuddling but Drive Club does look promising.
Delayed: This whimsical game brought to us in part by PS4's lead architect, Mark Cerny. When it was first revealed at the PS4 event, this adorably beautiful action-adventure game not only looks great, but displays the amount of data that can be on screen at any given time is impressive to say the least.
Delayed: Bloober Team's extremely odd catch-and-kill game with a multiplayer focus is interesting to say the least. As of today, video hasn't been released yet but we have some very demented photos to share. Good luck sleeping.
Delayed: Metanet Software's N series has been a hit and so it was no surprise when in August they announced N++ exclusively for the PS4. Expect the physics based chaos chaos of N+ with a new editor mode to stay in line with PlayStation's Play, Create, Share portfolio.
Resogun looks fantastic. An extraordinarily beautiful game from the studio Housemarque (Super Stardust, Dead Nation, Outland) , Resogun has become one of our most exciting indie launch titles.
Alive and kicking on the PC, Blacklight: Retribution will attempt to gather a larger user-base as it releases on the PS4 as a free-to-play exclusive. This is one of many free online games launching alongside the PS4 on November 15th. Will it get lost in the shuffle going against Warframe? We shall see.
Speaking of Warframe, Digital Extremes was also welcomed with open arms as part of the PS4's launch lineup. Being free-to-play as well, it'll be interesting to see if the community is split too much to have a robust multiplayer on either side. Both games do look great and those who do play them currently on PC seem to enjoy them with Blacklight: Retribution and Warframe scoring 75% and 67% respectively.
DC Universe Online
Obviously DCUO has an installment because they are continuing their FTP MMO experience on the PS4. Players design their own superhero and galavant around the world fighting other heroes and villains. The prospect of having a much more powerful system should prove fruitful to those interested.
Delayed: War Thunder is much different than the rest of the lineup as it is a World War II - Korean War "simulator" where players take charge of aircrafts, naval ships, and armored vehicles in an all-out-war MMO. There's a mode that has us interested in which players take place in full real battles where mechanics, flight, damage, and point of view are all adjusted to the most realistic settings.
Spearhead Games' 4-player, action-puzzler is a very strange one. Players select one of four super-powered lab test rodents (hello, PETA) in an attempt to solve different obstacles. It's hard to tell if this game is demented in a cool way or in a sad way. For now, let's just say it's weird.
Dead Rising 3
Dead Rising combines zombie destruction with insane humor (paddle and a saw...awesome) was a success as was its sequel. What was most surprising was that the third entry into the series is exclusive to the One. The amount of information on-screen is extremely impressive. We cannot wait to attach object A to object B and mass murder hoards of zombies.
Looking for a gorgeous racing game? Here it is in all of it's glory. Forza Motorsport 5 looks fantastic. Like, really good. Microsoft's flagship series of racers impresses time and time again and 5 is no different. If you're buying an XB1 at launch, it would behoove you to get Forza 5.
Ryse: Son of Rome
Ryse is Crytek's Xbox One exclusive and although it looks great graphically, we are slightly worried that it may be a button-mashing, narrative-less demo. The train of thought is purely speculative but it isn't without warrant. Based on videos we've seen thus far, it's exactly what it looks like. We'll find out on November 22nd what it's made of.
C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER! Killer Instinct was synonymous with incredibly long combos and silly characters but it is an beloved franchise nonetheless. Being an XB1 exclusive is an interesting decision by Double Helix considering fighting games aren't system sellers and could use all the support it can get.
Kinect has been quiet so far on the launch lineup so this is Fighter Within; a Kinect game from Ubisoft. In essence, you punch the air, bob-and-weave, and block your way through a workout.
The "spiritual successor" to Panzar Dragoon , Crimson Dragon is on-rails action that looks to be a lot of fun. The graphics don't scream "next-gen" but the concept is interesting with gameplay to match.
Delayed: Peggle was an astounding success and as multi-platform as a game can get. Peggle 2...not so much. Only coming to XB1, Peggle 2 has all the fixings of the original which already sounds like a blast. This game looks to be a lot of fun and if it's anything like its original game, it will be perfect.
Think Hot Shots Golf but with characters that look like The Incredibles and you have Powerstar Golf. These characters also have special abilities giving players different advantages depending on their selection. It looks like a lot of fun but it's doubtful that most will play for more than 2 hours.
This wacky and fast-paced motorcycle game has players control I.R.I.S., a super intelligent assassin sentient motorcycle as it drags Pablo, a spanish speaking human behind her. Pablo's language barrier with I.R.I.S. can be funny at first, but I wonder how long these jokes can stay behind the "racially-insensitive" line. The gameplay looks fun so let's hope the jokes don't get in the way.
You get to run a zoo full of over 100 animals. Not much elaboration is needed to explain to parents and animal enthusiasts why this game sounds awesome. If you have children, this is a great way to let your kids pet animals using Kinect without having to actually get them a Lemur. Frontier Games are known for their simulators like Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 so expect very similar elements.
Zumba Fitness: World Party
With the power of Microsoft's new Kinect 2, players have the ability to workout in a fun way without the embarassment of going to a gym. The player is rewarded with more graphical beauty as they successfully complete dance moves and the Kinect 2 allows 2-player dancing. Sounds like work but fun.
In terms of "quality", launch day will be the deciding factor as we, the consumer, have yet to sit down with these 22 games for more than the hour (at most) we've had so far. Both have 11 exclusives a piece* but attempting to guess at the quality of the games without being able to play them is futile. Microsoft having Dead Rising 3, Forza 5, and Ryse right at launch is impressive with most of the other games most likely just occupying time. Sony's big hitters are Killzone, Drive Club, and Knack which is rather underwhelming in comparison to the Xbox One's hardcore lineup. Sony does offer quite a few free-to-play games and it's the sum of all parts that we think make a bigger difference. Winner based on pure speculation: PS4.
Update: Contrast also available on PS4. PS4 released with 5 free games.
*Additional exclusives are flowing in as the weeks go by. We'll keep you up to date as they do.
Round 4: Camera Peripheral
Both systems have new camera peripherals launching this November. Microsoft's Kinect 2 and Sony's PlayStation Eye are both available at launch; with the Kinect coming packaged automatically whereas bundle packs or a separate purchase will have to be made ($59.99) for the PS4.
The PlayStation Eye is the new revamped version of its previous camera. With better recognition hardware built-in, the Eye is attempting to do a few things the Kinect 2 is able to do but not to the same level. PS Move controllers are still required for active games and the fact that it's not bundled with the standard edition may deter developers from utilizing it to its full potential. Our favorite features we'll be using it for include controller recognition and video feeds for Twitch and multiplayer. Other than that, we haven't seen many games.
Kinect allows for 1:1 movement pickup and voice recognition allowing users to activate and navigate without ever having to touch a controller. Originally it was supposed to be plugged in at all times. Microsoft has since removed the mandatory Kinect but are still packaging it in with the Xbox One which is likely responsible for the $100 increased price tag over the PS4. Hopefully it has better implementation compared to the original Kinect and we get to see some awesome future tech in November.
Without spending too much time with the devices, it's hard to distinguish which will be better for multiple functions. When it's down on paper, the Kinect 2 is the better piece of hardware so it works out that you'll have one in every box to try it out. Whether or not it is as awesome as we hope will have to wait until November 22nd.
The hardware isn't out yet, but the prospects of what this next generation of consoles may be able to accomplish is exciting. What it all comes down for the gamer is simple: am I getting my money's worth? We'd say so, no matter what decision you decide to make. Starting this November, there's one clear-cut winner.