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Game Wars: PS4 vs. Xbox One

Juan Ramon Cancio Vela | Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It is once again time for Microsoft and Sony fanboys alike to rant on online message boards about why their next-gen console of choice is the best thing to happen to gaming since the invention of Monster energy drinks. In recent months the two videogame empires have been mobilizing their gears to try and pull ahead in the newest of console arms races. For those of you who haven’t been keeping score at home, Sony’s PS4 seemed to take a short-lived lead at this summer’s E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo). This was due mostly because Microsoft’s earliest press releases, including E3, showcased several unpopular policies in regard to the brand new console.
The most poorly received of these was the Xbox One’s Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions; this policy explicitly stated that the gamers would not be able to sell their used games back because each game was going to be playable on only their own system. Another point that did not sit well amongst most gamers was the Xbox One’s price point, which was effectively $100 more expensive than Sony’s PS4. However, with the sudden reversal of Microsoft’s DRM restrictions policy it seems that things have settled down and Xbox fanboys are finally coming around.
For those of us who like to play video games, even with the never ending list of due dates looming over our heads, it can seem like a rather difficult proposition to try and pick between one of these two next-gen consoles.
I am here to hopefully give a clearer idea of what to expect from this holiday seasons’ brand new consoles. Before we get into some of the more specific subject matter I want to try and briefly illuminate some of the basic hardware and software specifications these new consoles will be sporting.
Let’s start off with the Xbox One. The One will come with a Blu Ray/DVD reader, 8 GB RAM (DDR3), 500 GB hard drive (non-removable), an 8 Core Microsoft custom CPU and a 853 MHz AMD Radeon GPU (estimated 1.31 TeraFLOPS/s peak GPU shader throughput).
As for the PS4, it will come with a Blu Ray/DVD reader, 8 GB RAM (GDDR5), 500 GB hard drive (removable), a single-chip x86 AMD “Jaguar” processor with 8 cores, and a AMD Radeon Graphics Core (estimated 1.84 TeraFLOPS/s peak GPU shader throughput). For those of you who aren’t too up to date on your tech speak, that should give the PS4 a slight advantage on the hardware/software side of things.
That being said, Microsoft’s corporate vice-president Yusuf Mehdi said it best while speaking to investors at the Citi Global Technology conference.
“Hardcore gamers, … buy for the game … [they] don’t buy for stats on a spec sheet,” Mendhi said.All the technological specifications aside, we can all rest assured that both systems will produce beautiful quality content and will most likely produce essentially the same amount of resolution, so this should not be a main concern. It is important to realize however, that some of Microsoft’s higher price is due to the fact that they are including an updated Kinect system with your Xbox One purchase. This system has been revamped to exploit the full potential of the now apparently integral add-on. The plan is to use this camera device to create a simpler interactive TV experience by allowing your Xbox One to respond to simple voice commands as relayed by the Kinect system.
Likewise, it is pertinent to point out that the Xbox One system will be providing the option to watch live TV with this product. Microsoft has partnered with Time Warner Cable, the NF, and possibly ESPN to produce dedicated apps and content for its users.
The PS4 will not be shipping with the Play Station Eye (the response to Microsoft’s Kinect), and will therefore be approximately $100 cheaper. It will also force its users to begin paying for online gaming by purchasing the Play Station Plus service, much like Xbox’s Live service. However, with the key difference that as far as we know so far the Play Station Plus service will only encompass online player-to-player gaming. This is very different from Microsoft’s Xbox Live service which encompasses and essentially bars users from accessing any of i’s online features without paying for the membership. In short, with the PS4 you will supposedly not be barred from using apps like Netflix if you haven’t paid for the Play Station Plus membership.
The Play Station 4 will be available for purchase in the United States this coming holiday season Novr 1h for $399, and the Xbox One will be available Nov. 22dfor $499.
Contact Juan Ramon Cancio Vela at
jcancio@nd.edu
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.