Side by side, they may look like two black boxes, but both feature hardware and an operating system dedicated to a purpose: Sony want to integrate your gaming devices; Microsoft want control of your living room.
First things first: Dispel any notions you have that gaming consoles are purely about games. The options presented with these new generation consoles will grow to dominate your every entertainment moment.
In the seven years since the previous generation of each console was released, huge developments in online content delivery—including on-demand movie and TV services—and portable gaming platforms, have seen home entertainment revolutionised. Both new consoles embrace these techno marvels of modern life to various degrees.
Xbox One is the clear attention-getter by combining all your entertainment options—set-top box, on-demand and streaming content, free-to-air channels, and even Skype—into one menu. Fire up a game; then navigate TV channels or online services to play via the screen-within-screen option. It’s the future, now.
Not to be outdone, the PS4’s potential will titillate when you team it with a PS Vita, delivering gaming away from your lounge room with Remote Play. Pause a game on your console to continue playing later at work (on your lunchbreak!), then pick up again when you get back home. This also means no more fights with your spouse when they want to watch Toddlers & Tiaras!
Microsoft’s answer to this is their SmartGlass app; enabling users to interact with their console or game via a touchscreen. Sadly, it’s not nearly as comprehensive as the Vita.
Gamers may be loyal to consoles, but the inclusion of a Blu-ray player in the Xbox One has really levelled the playing field. From a hardware point of view, both offer superior gaming power, HD video output and a host of future-proof user features. So what to consider when making your choice? Go for the obvious.
If you already own a PlayStation Vita and like the sound of integrated gaming, the PS4 is your weapon of choice. The flexibility built into this system is Sony’s attempt to capture your heart and soul for the next generation.
If, on the other hand, you like the idea of controlling your entertainment system with one ‘ring’ to rule them all, the Xbox One is the winner. Also be aware that as entertainment streaming services become more flexible, more accessible, or just plain cheaper, the Xbox One will really come into its own.
For our money, The New Daily is going with Xbox One.