Sony PlayStation 4 sells 40 million, but Microsoft has backward compatibility
My incredibly in-depth Xbox One vs PS4 comparison is more meaningful than ever with the battle continuing to rage intensely in 2016. My guide considers Microsoft’s backward compatibility news and previous price drops, and how it all contrasts with Sony’s powerful specs, exclusive games and graphics power.
Now almost two years since the consoles launched, Sony’s sales numbers prove that PS4 is more popular with early adopters of the next-generation of video games. Fact.
PlayStation 4 is outselling Xbox One 2-to-1 right now, surpassing 40.43 million systems sold worldwide, while Microsoft’s sales numbers are at 20.99 million. Back in January AMD hinted at price drops coming to both consoles, so it’s looking as though the PS4’s sales dominance is looking set to continue for the foreseeable future.
Who cares? Those are overall sales statistics – all meaningless, as multiple Xbox One price drops and surge in popularity are starting to make the debate a little more even. Better still, last November Microsoft began bringing Xbox 360 backwards compatibility to the Xbox One.
This is a lot more substantial than Sony’s existing backwards compatibility solution for the PS4, which is based around allowing users to stream games from Playstation Now. It’s a neat solution, but it can’t compare to playing a game locally on your console.
Microsoft’s come-from-behind campaign consists of adding exclusive games like Halo 5, full DVR capabilities, readying an Xbox Elite controller, gamepad remapping and, further out, experimenting with HoloLens.
In addition to Xbox One backward compatibility, Microsoft also enabled game streaming to Windows 10 presents exciting game streaming possibilities in its November update which came out last year. We’ve got a full guide on how to stream your Xbox One games to PC.
It’s also the only console with EA Access.
Not to be outdone, Sony has also enabled game streaming on its console, allowing users to use remote play to play their PS4 games on their Mac or PC.
Sony also has a couple of large, interrelated hardware releases lined up for later this year. Playstation VR, Sony’s answer to the Oculus Rift, is set to launch this October, and a more powerful 4K console is due to launch alongside it.
This console, codenamed the Playstation NEO, will be capable of outputting at 4K resolution, and will be fully backwards compatible with existing PS4 games. This enhanced power will not just be used for resolution, it should also work much better with Playstation VR.
In terms of games, Sony’s console has just seen the release of the fourth part of its critically acclaimed Uncharted series, and apparently it’s pretty good. Meanwhile Doom’s hotly anticipated reboot has just launched on both consoles, and Blizzard’s Overwatch is set to land in just a couple of days.
“We have the advantage in powering gamers through the next decade,” say both companies.
- Xbox One vs PS4 hardware design
Deciding between PS4 and Xbox One is like peeling back an onion, and it starts with the outermost layer, the hardware design.
Xbox One’s dimensions make it a menacing gaming beast that measures 13.5 in x 10.4 in x 3.2 in. It’s also riddled with vents, a design decision to avoid another Red Ring of Death overheating scenario.
Xbox One is a monster console with lots of vents, but at least it won’t overheat.
It towers over every other device (though Microsoft advises not to stand it up vertically), and completely dwarfs our smallest home theater gadget, the app-filled Chromecast.
PS4 has a more distinctive angular shape with an overall stylish design. This half-matte half-gloss console measures a slimmer 10.8 in x 12 in x 2 in at its widest regions.
These dimensions make Sony’s machine more media cabinet-friendly, at least next to Xbox One. The new Xbox also weighs a heftier 3.56 kg vs PS4’s 2.75 kg.
PS4 is smaller and a little more stylish.
PS4 has the advantage of hiding ports too, this can actually make it harder to plug cables into the back of the system.
In this way, Xbox One represents functionality over form. A lot of the internal specs are comparable, but Microsoft and Sony really diverged when it came to the designs of Xbox One and PS4.
That may matter since you’re buying into an expensive console that’s going to sit front and center in your living room entertainment system for the next ten years.
- Xbox One vs PS4 front and rear ports
More clear cut is the wireless connectivity situation. PS4 makes room for gigabit ethernet and 802.11 WiFi bands b/g/n, while Xbox One includes all of that plus the older 802.11a band.
Xbox One also supports both the 2.4GHz and newer 5GHz channels that are compatible with dual band routers. PS4 limits connections to 2.4GHz, which is likely to have more interference.
Both systems launched with 500GB hard drives and now have 1TB variants, but only PS4 allows user-replaceable internal drives. An Xbox One teardown found a standard-looking drive inside, but replacing it voids the warranty. Be careful.
Instead, the Xbox One June update finally allowed gamers to add external storage to the monster-sized system. There are strings attached. The drive needs to be 256GB or larger and USB 3.0 compatible.
External storage isn’t an option that Sony supports in its “go big or go home” internal approach.
PS4 and Xbox One are void of remarkable characteristics on the front. There’s a Blu-ray/DVD combo drive to the left and their respective, muted-color logos to the right. PS4 has a pair of USB ports tucked between its sandwich-like halves next to where the disc drive is located.
It’s party in the back Xbox One connections. That’s where it has two USB ports, HDMI in, HDMI out, S/PDIF for digital audio, a proprietary Xbox One Kinect port, an IR blaster connection and an Ethernet port. To the far right is a K-lock in case you want to lug this system around to LAN parties.
Sony went with a minimalist approach when it came to PS4’s rear ports. You’ll only find an HDMI out, S/PDIF, Ethernet and PS4 camera port (marked “AUX”) around back.
Xbox One is more feature-packed in this area thanks to its HDMI in and IR blaster connections used for its TV cable or satellite box functionality. But are you really going to use this feature? PS4 lacks this passthrough technology, opting to stick with gaming as its top priority.
- Is PS4 or Xbox more powerful?
- Best PS4 vs Xbox One specs for RAM
- PS4 vs Xbox One graphics comparison
It’s a trend we’re seeing from PS4 games that achieve a 1080p resolution at 30 or 60 frames per second when their Xbox One counterparts run at 720p or 900p at 30 or 60fps.That’s the case with Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty: Ghosts, The Witcher 2 and Thief. It’s even more evident in Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition where it’s 60fps on PS4 vs 30fps on Xbox One.
Battlefield 4 is one of the few PS4 games with a native resolution of 900p. Alas, it was still just 720p on Xbox One. Not that it matters. Both versions were plagued with glitches for months.
This is in no way a deal-breaker for the Xbox One, and here’s why. First, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference without a side-by-side comparison. You won’t miss the extra grass in GTA 5.
Second, everyone’s hopeful that as developers mature with these two year-old consoles, the gap will close and games on both systems will prove what next-generation gaming is all about.
Third, the differences are more noticeable in the Xbox One and PS4 graphics comparisons that include Xbox 360 and PS3. Both Microsoft and Sony leave their last-generation graphics chip architecture and RAM limitations behind, and it shows.
- Xbox One vs PS4 price difference
It’s expensive to be an early adopter, and the initial PS4 and Xbox One prices prove just that in each of the countries the systems have launched.
One year ago, the PS4 price was the more tempting deal: $399 for the console and DualShock 4 controller. Xbox One was expensive at $499 for the system, Xbox One controller and Kinect.
Microsoft’s Xbox One price drop puts it on an even table or ahead
After two official Xbox One price drops, the cost comparison is actually in Microsoft’s favor in the US. The new list price is $349with a game, but without Kinect included. It’s rumored to go even lower soon, maybe at E3 2015.
Right now, that’s $50 cheaper than the PS4 that doesn’t come with a game. Pre-owned Xbox One and PS4 consoles are even better choices, and in most regions are now becoming plentiful.
The early PS4 vs Xbox One price difference gave Sony an lead at face value, and gamers didn’t seem to mind that the PS4 camera was a separate purchase. Also, for almost a year, it was the only console of the two being sold in countries like India, Japan and Turkey.
Price and availability made for Xbox One’s assured shortfall in the beginning. Now, the price point is moot. Can it catch up?
- What’s in the box?
At launch, Xbox Ones came with the console, a controller. and the Kinect camera. These systems also had “Day One 2013” emblazoned on the cardboard box and at the center of the controller.
That’s a nice perk for Xbox loyalists, though not worth the premium they paid. Subsequent Xbox One bundles have included Titanfall or Sunset Overdrive for the same price, while newer, cheaper systems make Kinect optional.
Inside the PS4 box is the console and one DualShock 4 controller. Wires include an HDMI cable (Sony learned its lesson after backlash for not including one with the PS3) and a micro-USB cable for the controller.
Don’t throw out the box right away. Tucked inside is a 30-day subscription to PlayStation Plus and a wired mono earbud, contrasting with the just-a-cheap Xbox One headset.
The price difference between the PS4 and Xbox One was a sticking point for gamers over the first several months. Microsoft reshaped the argument at E3 2014 with price-matched Kinect-free Xbox One and may give the console another price drop this year. The question is, will gamers bite in the latter half of 2015?
- The controllers
- Xbox One vs PS4 controller
- Xbox One Elite Controller
The PS4 controller’s front touchpad and mono speaker are a unique way to interact with games, and developers are starting to find ways to adopt this technology into their controls schemes.
Which controller is better? There’s a lot of satisfaction with the PS4 gamepad, but that may have more to do with people’s surprise at how much more comfortable the DualShock 4 is compared to the DualShock 3. That wow factor may wear away soon.
The Xbox One vs PS4 controller comparison ends up being a matter of opinion. Some gamers are accustomed to Sony’s parallel dual analog sticks, while plenty of others opt for offset analog sticks that have been part of the Xbox universe since the beginning.Xbox One Kinect vs PS4 Camera.
Neither have proven themselves worthy
A robust games list for Xbox One Kinect and PS4 Camera has been slow to materialize, even though Microsoft and Sony insisted on sticking with controller-free camera inputs.
The good news is that the new Kinect technology is promising, tracking up to six skeletons at once and processing 2GB of data per second. It can pick up heart rates, facial expressions and 25 joints, thumbs included.
The camera’s 60% wider field of vision compared to the Xbox 360 Kinect remedies the annoying “stand 6 feet away” error messages we experienced last time around.
Xbox One Kinect is certainly powerful, it just needs more games. Right now, there are few reasons to keep the 1080p camera plugged in.
Kinect was good on paper, now it just wears a paper dunce cap.
There’s a free Kinect Sports Rivals demo that’s fun, and the full version came out last year. It also supports two Xbox-exclusive workout games, Just Dance 2014 and a pair of Harmonix titles: Fantasia: Music Evolved and Dance Central Spotlight. Fighter Within, though, is far from playable.
PS4 doesn’t have as much to offer at this point either, but it’s hard to find in stock. Formerly called the PlayStation Eye, it features two 1280x800px cameras in a body that’s slimmer than the Kinect.
Unfortunately, the PS4 Camera games list is also slimmer. The included robot mini-game The Playroom has been updated since the console launch, but little else besides Just Dance 2014 requires the device.
In the future, Project Morpheus will utilize the PS4 Camera for virtual reality, but the a long-off prospect of VR games doesn’t really explain why the camera is often sold out.
- The best PS4 and Xbox One games
Both the PS4 and Xbox One now have substantial games libraries. The PS4 has just under 600 games, of which almost 100 were exclusives, while the Xbox one has a larger quantity of games (629) but a much smaller amount of exclusives at just 33.
Titanfall stands above all others on Xbox One if you’re into playing Call of Duty-style first-person shooters in which you double jump with a jetpack, wall-run and hop into a giant mech. Sunset Overdrive feature just as crazy-frantic gameplay, while Halo: The Master Chief Collection lets us relive all the old classics, although the experience was somewhat spoiled by a number of technical problems that have never been fully solved.
The Xbox One also saw the return of Master Chief in Halo 5 last year, although 343 Industries is now in control of the franchise now that Bungie has moved on to Destiny duties.
Call of Duty DLC favors Xbox One when it comes to DLC. Does that matter to you?
Call of Duty DLC favors Xbox One when it comes to DLC. Does that matter to you?Xbox One games in development include the next Gears of War and open-world cop game, Crackdown 3, two games that are sure to join the growing best Xbox One Games list.
The quality and quantity of Sony’s exclusives have really impressed us this generation. Recently we awarded Uncharted 4 a ‘Play it Now’ rating, the highest on the techradar scoring system. Meanwhile, the hard-as-heck Bloodborne and The Witness also impressed.
Finally, remakes of The Last of Us and Ratchet and Clank round out what is a very impressive series of PS4 exclusives.
- Indie games on PS4 and Xbox One
Indie games like Fez became smash hits in the last generation
Our most-wanted PS4 games list doesn’t end there because Sony got out in front of supporting independent game developers.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch from Young Horses and Transistor from Supergiant Games came to Sony’s console in April and May last year. Outlast from Red Barrels Studio made the PC-to-PS4 transition in February.
At first, Microsoft maintained that Xbox One games would need to be fronted by a publisher. That changed when the company announced that it would allow self-published games and, in the future, every console would act as a developer kit.
We’re still waiting on this “free Xbox One dev kit,” a potential game-changer when PS4 developer kits cost thousands of dollars. Until that shift happens, Sony has the attention of the indie developer crowd thanks to its early lead.Xbox One vs PS4 apps
When it comes to apps, Xbox One is in the ever-so-slight leadThe Xbox 360 and PS3 proved to be more than just gaming machines and Xbox One and PS4 are no different. Of course, most are shared across both platforms.All next-gen gamers have access to Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Crackle, Vudu and Redbox Instant and baseball subscription service MLB.TV.Xbox One corners the app-filled market with ESPN, Fox Now, FX Now, NFL, Ted, The CW, Twitch, Univision Deportes, Verizon FiOS TV and YouTube. It also has Microsoft’s own soon-to-be-defunct Internet Explorer, OneDrive, Skype and Xbox Music and Xbox Video services.That contrasts with PS4. Sony’s console features Crunchyroll, Epix, NBA Game Time, NHL GameCenter Live, YuppTV, the WWE Network and the free music video playing app VidZone.Initially, Xbox One had first access to HBO Go before PS4, but now both consoles have the premium channel as an app. At least, if your cable provider isn’t Comcast. Neither system has HBO Now, which remains exclusive to Apple TV.More niche apps are expected as time goes on, so this is hardly the final list of apps for Xbox One and PS4. Sony backers who are also HBO subscriptions can expect equal next-generation treatment for the the premium on-demand network “eventually,” which just cements Xbox One’s app-filled advantage.
- Are PS4 and Xbox One backward compatible?
- Other PS4 and Xbox One differences
However, there are other factors at play one should consider before buying into a new system. It’s a good idea to converse with friends, keeping mind of their potential bias.
Since there’s no such thing as cross-platform multiplayer, you may be split up when playing Call of Duty on PS4 when all of your friends own it for Xbox One.
Both Microsoft and Sony are charging for multiplayer this console generation, whereas PS3 gamers got to log into matches Scott-Free.
Sony sadly moved closer to Microsoft in this way, while Microsoft moved closer to Sony by tearing down the Xbox Live app paywall. You no longer have to subscribe to stream Netflix and other apps.
Microsoft also supports MP3 and DLNA playback with the Xbox One, whereas Sony neglected to add such compatibility. It’s promised to rectify that in a future firmware update, but hasn’t supplied us with an update in several months.
The PS4 vs Xbox One comparison has evolved in the last 18 months, mostly because Microsoft’s plans have shifted, from Xbox One price drops to more lenient paywall policies to graphics specs upgrades.
These two next-generation consoles are now on a more even video game playing field, which means Sony and Microsoft are going to start throwing Uncharted 4 to Halo 5 Guardians at you, and that’s a win for all gamer.