Xbox One vs. PS4: The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

Peripherals

No longer content to just capture the input of your fingers, both consoles tout motion control peripherals that engage the rest of you as well. Well, more of you, anyway. The new Kinect 2.0 and the PlayStation Camera are updates to two technologies we already know. Here’s what they’ve got to offer.

PlayStation Camera

This replaces the PlayStation Eye of old. Much like the Kinect, it now features two camera sensors for stereoscopic, depth-sensing vision. Each sensor has 1200×800 resolution, f/2.0 aperture, 30 centimeter capture distance, and an 85-degree field of view. Integrated into the Playstation Camera is a four-channel microphone array, though no word yet on its utility for voice commands.

Also no word on if the Playstation Camera can be used as an audio input for chat and recording, but we do know it will work with the PlayStation Move controllers and will not be included with the console. The Playstation Camera will retail separately for $59.99.

Xbox One Kinect 2.0

The new Kinect is another bump up with a 1080p wide-angle time-of-flight camera, a technology that uses the speed of light to determine distances with light pulses. With three times greater fidelity than its predecessor and 2 gigabits of data per second, the new Kinect can detect objects as small as 2.5 centimeters with a reduced latency of 20 milliseconds and also includes an infrared sensor. Demos have showcased the ability to detect heart rates, facial expressions, and body weight displacement.

The biggest news is that the biggest dudes can now get the Kinect to cooperate more easily. With a 70-degree field of view and a range of 0.8 meters to 4.2 meters, the Kinect 2.0 can track up to six people within a space. Compare that to the 1.8 meters minimum distance and four users of the original Kinect. As of now, Kinect 2.0 will come bundled with every Xbox One; though Microsoft originally said a connected Kinect was required for the Xbox One to actually work at all, it now has stated that the camera can be shut down or even unplugged without affecting the Xbox One’s other, unrelated functions.

Changing Policies

Coming out of E3, Sony walked away with just a bit more mustard on their hot dog as Microsoft’s stringent Xbox One DRM and online policies seemed almost Orwellian by comparison. But things have changed since then, and the plot has thickened.

Microsoft’s Stumbles

At its unveiling in May, it was revealed that the Xbox One would have a litany of requirements to run, which made folks quite grumpy. The console required a near-constant Internet connection, only permitting 24 hours of offline at a time before synchronization. All games, physical and digital, would be tied to a single Xbox Live account, only allowing for a one-time transfer from console to console, and limiting potential trade-ins to unspecified partner retailers.

Just days after E3, a statement was released saying that almost everything that players had vocally opposed would be fixed with a day-one patch. Region restrictions, online requirements, and disc authentication were all dropped. But along with them, family sharing, digital lending, and other features were also left behind. Later, Microsoft also dropped the previously stated requirement that the Kinect 2.0 sensor always be connected and in a standby state.

Microsoft Studios CEO Phil Spencer has called the Xbox One a “two-way conversation we have with our customers,” but many speculate that former President of the Interactive Entertainment Business Don Mattrick’s move to Zynga might have been precipitated, at least partially, by this grand reversal.

Sony’s Potshots

Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, was smiling at E3 as he announced that the PlayStation 4 would have no used game restrictions, and reiterated that it has no always-online requirements. Afterward, the video with Yoshida and Boyes came out, a self-aware showing of this difference between Sony and Microsoft. The Internet went mildly wild.

During Sony’s Gamescom 2013 presentation, President of Sony Computer Entertainment Andrew House took another jab at Microsoft, saying “While others have shifted their message and changed their story, we were consistent in maintaining a message that is fair and in tune with consumer desires.” Then he dropped the launch date and the Internet went wild again.

Though Sony has taken the chance to criticize Microsoft, its draconian policies have all been abandoned, placing the two consoles on much more even footing going forward. Still, how both companies handle the consoles in the next generation remains to be seen, and it’s possible policies on both Microsoft and Sony’s side of the fight could change over time.

Launch Day Availability

Perhaps as important as anything else is when and where you can put down money to get these new consoles into your hands. In Sony’s case, we know everything we need to know. In Microsoft’s case, there’s just one thing missing.

PlayStation 4

The PlayStation 4 will launch on Nov. 15 in North America and November 29 in Europe, Australia, and Central and South America for $399, €399, or £349, depending on what’s in your wallet.

As of right now, all bundles are sold out online at Best Buy, GameStop and Amazon. You can still pre-order online at Walmart, but that retailer only guarantee a delivery date of “on or just after 12/31/2013,” which doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. The Walmart bundle does, however, come with either a second controller or a PlayStation Camera and a game for $517.96. That’s a savings of a whopping $2.01.

Xbox One

The Xbox One will launch sometime in November in North America, Australia, Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, and New Zealand. The rest of the world will have to wait until 2014. We don’t know the actual date of release, but recent rumors put it at Nov. 8, a full week before the PlayStation 4. Other rumors place the release date at “late November” past the PS4′s No. 15 release. Either way, you can get it for $499, €499, or £429.

Amazon’s Day One bundle includes a commemorative controller and the Day One achievement, or you can get the Standard Edition and save three cents. Walmart, though, will let you reserve for pick-up a Day One edition with a three-cent savings as well, though it also offers a bundle with an extra controller and a game for $617.96 (another $2.01 in savings). Best Buy will slash a whole zero dollars off a bundle consisting of a second controller, Call of Duty: Ghosts, and 12 months of Xbox Live Gold for $679.96.

Launch Day Costs

Both consoles will actually be more expensive than their retail asking prices in order to unlock full functionality, and we’re still not sure what other features Sony might require a Playstation Plus subscription to utilize. This is as complete a breakdown as is available of what you’ll be spending on each console at launch.


Playstation 4

  • Console: $399.99
  • One-year Playstation Plus subscription (required for online multiplayer): $49.99
  • Retail game: $59.99

Total essential Day One cost before tax: $509.97

Optional Peripherals:

  • Playstation Camera: $59.99
  • Controller: $59.99 (x3: $179.97)

Total potential Day One cost before tax: $748.94


Xbox One

  • Console: $499.99
  • One-year Xbox Live subscription (required for online multiplayer, entertainment capabilities, streaming video): $59.99
  • Retail game: $59.99

Total essential Day One cost before tax: $619.97

Optional Peripherals:

  • Controller: $59.99 (x3: $179.97)

Total potential Day One cost before tax $799.94

Because the Xbox One and the Playstation 4 are bundled with different equipment — namely, XB1 includes a camera that is an optional peripheral for the PS4 — the following is what a true 1-to-1 comparison of Day One costs, to achieve comparable functionality for both consoles.

  • Xbox One total cost before tax (including Xbox Live, one game): $619.97
  • PS4 total cost before tax (including Playstation Network, one game, Camera): $569.96

Back to Contents


Ross Lincoln and Phil Hornshaw collaborated with Tim Poon on this report.


Changelog

8/30: Added source list. Added “late november” XB1 release rumor. Removed statement on PS4 HSA/hUMA exclusivity. Clarified details on Amazon pre-orders.

8/31: Clarified XBox One Gold subscription “Television and Film” features.


Sources: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15], [16], [17], [18], [19], [20], [21], [22], [23], [24], [25], [26], [27], [28], [29], [30], [31], [32], [33], [34], [35], [36], [37], [38], [39], [40], [41], [42], [43], [44], [45], [46]

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17 Comments on Xbox One vs. PS4: The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

JeffDaniel

On August 29, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Great work guys. This is by far the best side by side review I’ve seen!

Can’t wait to see you guys online!

Jeff

Jordan

On August 30, 2013 at 6:13 am

Battlefield 4 is by DICE, not crytek…

KeithH

On August 30, 2013 at 8:40 am

First, there are 2 and a half months before the releases (All of September and October). Second, as has been shown by the Hot Chips conference, the XB1 also has a unified memory controller. Sony has only stated that their games are “by the end of the year” and not “on launch day”, like Microsoft has.

In fact, I couldn’t find any source that specified which of any of the 33 “launch window” games for Sony would be on day 1 (MS has their list of 23).

Also, can someone please tell me where the graphics specs for the XB1 come from. The only place that I have been able to drill down a source for, were from an “unamed source” over at Anadtech. If you have another source for this info, can you please state it?

Compiling lists of info from other sites, that themselves based their info on other sites does not make this fact. While most of your info is probably correct, I would love to see some actual journalism.

Phil Hornshaw

On August 30, 2013 at 11:32 am

@KeithH

Whoops, you’re right about the months, that was my bad in editing.

Huntsman06

On August 30, 2013 at 2:15 pm

It is true that ALL of the stated features under “Television and Film” will require an Xbox Live Gold membership? I would expect them to continue requiring it for apps like Hulu and Netflix, but I won’t be able to say “Xbox, go to channel ” without paying a premium?

Mike

On August 30, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Wow. Nice wrap up. I didn’t even know you were required to have xbox live gold to use services like Netflix what a crock of crap. Another anti consumer policy on Microsofts part. Alps they did is place a restriction on being able to use a service you already pay for on their hardware. If I have Internet and Netflix I should beable to wwatch it without gold. No other device like phones or computers have these restrictions. Screw Microsoft. I hope they bury themselves

Yiur mom

On August 30, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Battlefield 4 is made by DICE not Crytek…

iPerrydon

On August 30, 2013 at 6:45 pm

what does this guy know? cod:ghosts is not a release title on either console. infinity ward themselvs at E3 said that next-gen release will be q2 of 2014!

iPerrydon

On August 30, 2013 at 6:46 pm

what does this guy know? cod:ghosts is not a release title on either console. infinity ward themselvs at E3 said that next-gen release will be q2 of 2014!

Phil Hornshaw

On August 31, 2013 at 10:22 am

@Huntsman06

In fact, there’s some confusion about that, and I’m about to make an update here.

At PAX Prime just yesterday, Microsoft’s Albert Pinello told Ross Lincoln that HDMI passthrough AND “TV guide stuff” would be available to players WITHOUT an Xbox Live subscription.

That’s kind of at odds with what we thought we understood about Xbox One. On its official website, Microsoft talks about GuideOne, software that allows you to have a customized view of your TV programming, use voice commands, and so on, and says that that feature will be available to Xbox Live Gold subscribers.

So our takeaway from that brief interview with Pinello, which we’re hoping to get clarified with Microsoft, is that at least SOME of TV features will be available right out of the box. There’s still some confusion there, though.

The full story out of PAX Prime is right here: http://www.gamefront.com/microsoft-xbox-live-gold-not-needed-for-xbox-one-tv-features/

Mo

On August 31, 2013 at 11:35 am

PS4 needs Ratchet and Clank and Jak and Dexter

D22

On September 1, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Nice review. I would just say you need to include xbox’s 32mb of ESRAM as an addition to the 8gb basic ram.

Cheers

Derrick

On September 2, 2013 at 9:45 pm

No mention of chargeable controllers? PS4 is self contained battery that can be charged by plugging it in, XBox One you would need to buy a kit for similar function.

@iPerrydon Not sure what news you are following, but Ghosts will be a launch title for next-gen consoles. It’s coming out 11/5 for current-gen, too.

Viralwhite

On September 4, 2013 at 4:02 pm

There needs to be a small correction to this article. The article stated the following:

“…You can still pre-order online at Walmart, but that retailer only guarantee a delivery date of “on or just after 12/31/2013,” which doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence…”

This is NOT accurate. As of today (9/4/13 – 1900 hrs) the website clearly says:

“Reserve today in store!
Step 1: Put only 10% down*
Step 2: Pay over time
Step 3: Available for pick up on 11/15/2013 ”

Went by my local store today in Richmond, VA. They have a display that has cards inside of them (limited) and you take it to the counter and check out.

James Boye

On September 5, 2013 at 2:39 am

You have completely forgot to mention and factor in the extra cost for the battery pack you need to by for the X1 controller.

effect

On November 19, 2013 at 7:28 am

why are people shocked that you need Gold to run apps like netflix on xbox one? If you have a 360 you would know you have to do the same thing! Just remember people xbox is on their own os system so your fee for xbox gold includes a protected network unlike PS3 & 4! I have many of friends in Chicago and California where their systems have been attacked! A lot of people don’t even realize that their ps3′s are already infected! Don’t believe me? Try installing a anti virus on your ps3 and do a scan or find a free one online, you’ll be amazed on what’s in your system! (Another little detail Sony NEVER tells you about!) BTW the ps4 cam is equal to a test model of the original kinect, it looks like crap and doesn’t compare to the original kinect, it’s only worth the $59.99

blobthebob

On November 24, 2013 at 2:17 pm

effect, I don’t where you got your information, but the playstation 4 camera is much better than the original kinect. the kinect 1.0 only had one lense and as well 1 or 2 microphones built in, as for the PS4 camera there is twice the number and they are used to narrow in the exact location of your person which the kinect 1.0 did not have as for capabilities. Let’s be real when comparing them