I’m a happy gamer.
The next-gen war is on and my favorite gadgets are getting upgraded.
Now that a healthy amount of time has passed after both reveals, we can lay what we know about these two consoles on the table and discuss who won the second round of the next generation console wars.
There are two products and two giant companies pitch these products to you, fellow tH’ers. They want you to buy their stuff if you can buy only one and if you can buy more than one, they want theirs in the pack.
Let’s start by stating the obvious, we know what X1 looks like while PS4 – thanks to Sony’s thunder stealing tactics – is still a mystery. And what is X1? Well, it’s a black box. It looks a little too big but it’s also sharp, simple and beautiful.
This is a chess game. Sony believes Microsoft started the previous console generation by revealing Xbox 360 first, so this time around, they went on first but with a twist, they did not reveal everything, leaving the actual machine to be unveiled later, after Microsoft makes its move. And what about Microsoft? They did the same. They showed the console and how smart that thing is but there were too few games, gameplay videos or technology demos. Those will come at E3.
Both consoles use an eight-core AMD processor but Sony’s new console delivers 1.84 TFLOPS while X1’s throughput is 1.23 TFLOPS. PS4 also has the upper hand in system memory with 8GB of 5500 MHz GDDR5. So in terms of raw gaming power PS4 seems to be ahead of X1. But remember same thing was said for PS3 and Sony failed to make use of those Cell shaders in the previous battle from which, Microsoft emerged as the winner.
Here, we need to say that Sony and Microsoft have different aims in mind. Sony, wants to deliver a solely gaming experience while Microsoft’s goal is to dominate the living room. There’s a curious change of style here, remember the last generation, Sony brought blu-ray to our homes, making PS3 a device of innovation with almost no exclusive games, while Xbox 360 was strictly a gamer’s machine.
Now X1 offers lots of sports and TV channels that will be meaningless unless you live in USA but the device will also bring a better and more capable Kinect, voice recognition, snapmode, Skype…
And last but not least, a juggernaut of a TV show, Halo.
Smart TV’s finally have a market with Google and Apple locked in battle. And here X1 looks smarter than PS4. How many gamers will prefer a solely-gaming platform when another can offer similar games and smart TV?
PS4 upgraded their not-so good controller taking cue from Xbox 360’s flawlessly designed one and fleshing out theirs. Good move. MS focused on what’s inside of the controller, leaving the case design almost untouched. Microsoft says there are 40 improvements inside, including trigger rumbles. We’ll decide if they work, when we actually play something.
I’m a little skeptic about the PS4 share enthusiasm, obviously there are a lot of people out there who would put a gun to your head to show their funniest moments in games but are there enough of them for that button to matter? PS4 will introduce play-as-you-download ability which will be cool and useful and X1 will play games as they install and will include an auto-resume feature. Sony will focus on its service, rather than the device and try to keep its handheld afloat while MS will make use of all the mobile devices through Smart Glass.
Microsoft made two small but vital moves by informing the industry that X1 will be able to play 4K games and may offload computations to cloud, freeing up power on the device itself in the future.
“Always on” craze is gone but Xbox One will require a connection to work flawlessly and Kinect will be always listening. But does it really matter in today’s world? Where we have smartphones on us all the time, with a generation that check-ins on Foursquare and Facebook, a generation that still use the terrible gatekeeper software that is iTunes. So will one more eye or ear matter much? I prefer no eyes and ears in my home but I may allow them to peek this time around.
Since not many will be able to own one of each, it will mainly be about what the user requires in his preferred console. Microsoft is creating a strong nexus for home entertainment and Sony will be delivering better looking exclusives. It would do justice to say that Microsoft is spearheading the innovation this time, even without the IllumiRoom wonder. And if IllumiRoom is revealed as a part of the X1 strategy on E3, the battle will suddenly become very hard for Sony.
Now everyone is ready for the second round, which will go down on E3. What we know is that Sony will show the machine and Microsoft will reveal the exclusives. Oh and you bet there will be many surprises.
In any case, having these amazing options and technologies at our disposal, makes me think that life is good for a gamer. Wouldn’t you agree?