The Eternal Console War: Xbox One vs PS4 – Quality or Needs?

Console war: this is probably the most “intense” war in gaming community ever since PS2 – Xbox era. Even in this new generation of PS4 – Xbox One, this war is still going strong across console communities, forums, social pages, and more… Most of the “battles” on the internet share the same goal of dictating which one is the best. However, these sort of “battles” often get to dead-end rather than having a satisfying result for both party. That said; there is a question which slips under the radar: “Is there truly a best console? Or is it just the matter of personal preference?” With that question in mind, today we would like to have looked back at these discussions between Xbox One vs PS4 and try to come up with the most viable answer.

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Table of Content:
1. An Overview of Xbox One and PS4
1.1. Xbox One- Knight in Shining Gears
1.2. PlayStation 4 – The Army of Exclusives
2. Xbox One vs PS4: What do people say?
3. Needs or Quality?

1. An Overview of Xbox One and PS4

Before we look into this console war between Xbox One vs PS4, let’s take an overview at each console first and see what they offer:

1.1.  Xbox One – Knight in Shining Gears

xbox one vs ps4 1

Xbox One the White Knight (Source: Internet)

The original Xbox One was first released in 2013 and Microsoft marketed it as the “all-in-one entertainment system.” Then in 2016, Microsoft revealed the superior version – Xbox One S. And finally in 2017, the so-called “most powerful console to date” – Xbox One X – was officially announced, featuring tons of hardware upgrades and especially the 4K resolution graphic support. So, how powerful Xbox One is exactly?

Xbox One Specs

Xbox One

Xbox One S

Xbox One X

CPU

1.75GHz 8-core AMD custom CPU 1.75 GHz 8-Core AMD Custom CPU

Eight custom x86 cores clocked at 2.3GHz

GPU

Integrated AMD graphics clocked at 853MHz Integrated AMD graphics clocked at 914MHz

Integrated AMD graphics with 6 teraflops of performance

Memory

8GB DDR3

8GB DDR3

12GB GDDR5

HDR

No Yes

Yes

4K

No Streaming content only, gaming upscaled

Yes

Storage

500GB & 1TB
(supports external)
500GB/1TB/2TB

1TB

Xbox One Price

xbox one vs ps4 2

Xbox One Starter Bundle (Source: Internet)

Currently the original Xbox One is pretty much replaced by the more powerful Xbox One S. According to Microsoft store, the Xbox One S is often sold in bundle at the price of $299. The best Xbox One S bundle to date (July 4, 2018) is probably the Xbox One S Starter Bundle which offers 1 Xbox One S 1TB console, 3 months of Game Pass, and 3 months of Xbox Live Gold. Given the value of Xbox Game Pass and Live Gold, personally we say this is a good deal.

The Xbox One X, as we have seen, is much more powerful and its price is $499. At the current time (July 4, 2018), Microsoft also offers the Xbox One X PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS Bundle (1TB) which includes 1 Xbox One X and the game PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (PUBG).

Xbox One Games & Services

xbox one vs ps4 3

Playing old legendaries? Why not? (Source: Internet)

Some people may argue that “Xbox One does have any exclusive”; however, saying like this is really a stretch. If we look at Xbox One exclusives, there are actually more titles than we thought. Still, the reality is: Xbox One’s best exclusives are mostly about Gears of War, Halo, Forza Horizon, and Forza Motorsport. There are not many new noteworthy exclusives in the past few years, except for a few titles like Sunset Overdrive, Cuphead, and Ori and the Blind Forest. The recent 2 exclusives Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2 could not change the tide, especially when Sea of Thieves was a big disappointment for the majority of players.

Luckily, Xbox One features a new service called Backward Compatibility. In short, Xbox’s Backward Compatibility allows players to enjoy the games released in previous gens, including the awesome classics like GTA San Andreas, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, the classic Star Wars Battlefront 1 and 2 by Pandemic Studios, and more… The list goes on and on with total of 513 backward games to date (July 4, 2018). Furthermore, this list is getting constant update in near future.

In addition to backward compatibility service, Xbox One also features Xbox Live Gold service (approx. $9.99 per month) which provides stable multiplayer platform for players, discounts, and about 5 free games offered each month. And talking about multiplayer, Xbox One players can cross-play with PC and Nintendo Switch players, which is always a good thing.

Overall Impression of Xbox One

xbox one vs ps4 4

The most powerful console to date – Xbox One X (Source: Internet)

The main reason why we call Xbox One as the “Knight in Shining Gears” is mainly because of their powerful Xbox One X. Of course, not everyone will 100% get an Xbox One X. But when we put 2 consoles into comparison, surely we will want to compare the best arsenal each console has. Aside from that, the plus points about Xbox One are also about its multiplayer platform quality and especially the backward compatibility which allows players to enjoy the gold games of the past.

That being said, Xbox One still has to face one harsh reality: the exclusives. In E3 2018, Microsoft did show quite a lot of exciting titles like Halo Infinite, Gears of War 5 (or Gears 5 to be exact), and Forza Horizon 4. Yet in the moment, Microsoft’s exclusives are pale compared to PS4’s. This is also a main counter-argument from PS4 fans, which we will address in later section. But for now, let’s get to PlayStation 4!

1.2. PlayStation 4 – The Army of Exclusives

xbox one vs ps4 5

PS4 the Dark Horse (Source: Internet)

The original PlayStation 4 (or PS4 for short) was released in 2013, just around the same time when Xbox One was out. In 2016, Sony release the revised version – PS4 Slim, and around late 2016 – early 2017, the more powerful version PS4 Pro was released. If we look in terms of sales, PS4 is far winning over Xbox One.

Back in 2013 – 2014, Xbox One has quite a close battle with PS4 in terms of sales. At the end of 2013, Microsoft claimed to sell over 3 million Xbox One, while its Sony competitor sold around 4 million PS4. Of course, this early number did not mean anything in long-term. But gradually, PS4 got far ahead than Xbox One. By the end of 2017, there were already total of 66 million PS4 sold, while Xbox One’s total sale was only around 31 million. But again, sale number is just one thing, what’s more important is: what does PS4 offer?

PS4 Specs

PS4 Slim PS4 PS4 Pro
CPU 1.6GHz 8-core AMD Jaguar 1.6GHz 8-core AMD Jaguar 2.1GHz 8-Core AMD Jaguar
GPU 1.84 TFLOPS, AMD Radeon 1.84 TFLOP AMD Radeon 4.2 TFLOP AMD Radeon
Memory 8GB GDDR5 8GB GDDR5 8GB GDDR5 1GB
HDR Yes Yes Yes
4K No No Yes
Storage 500GB 500GB & 1TB
(upgradeable)
1TB

PS4 Price

xbox one vs ps4 6

PS4 price range in 2016 (still applies in 2018) (Source: Internet)

A PS4 Slim costs around $299, while the more powerful PS4 Pro costs about $399. Of course there are additional bundles, including the console itself and a bonus game. But when comparing them to Xbox One’s bundles, it seems Xbox One has much more variety and their best bundle also offers more value, at least in the current state. That being said, clearly the PS4 Pro has much lower price than the Xbox One X, given the fact that PS4 Pro is not as powerful as the Xbox One X.

PS4 Games & Services

xbox one vs ps4 7

PS4’s juggernaut of 2018 (Source: Internet)

Here’s probably the main reason why so many people get into PS4. At the moment, PS4 has tons of great single-player exclusives like Bloodborne, Uncharted 4, Horizon Zero Dawn, Persona 5, God of War 2018, The Last Guardian, Infamous Second Son, Ratchet & Clank 2016, Gran Turismo Sport, and more… It also offers remastered version of old games like Shadow of the Colossus and The Last of Us Remastered. All of these games are undoubtedly popular and also the main attractions of PS4.

In terms of services, PS4 features PlayStation Plus which starts at $9.99 for a month. PlayStation Plus also offers multiplayer platform, discounts, and new free games per month. Aside from the Plus service, there is PS Now service at the price of $19.99, which is quite similar to Xbox’s Backward Compatibility. It offers around 450+ old games from previous gens and more games will be added in near future. While it sounds nice, here’s the catch: this service based on streaming, which means you will need stable internet. There are so many potential issues when using this service, especially if you don’t have strong and stable internet at home. Lags, bugs, and loss of connection can give you a huge frustration. Therefore, PS Now service can be considered… negligible.

Overall Impression of PS4

xbox one vs ps4 8

Ghost of Tsushima anyone? (Source: Internet)

As we mentioned, the main attraction power of PS4 comes from its huge exclusives lineup. From Bloodborne, Persona 5, Uncharted 4, Horizon Zero Dawn, to God of War, it is not an exaggeration when saying they are the main drive force of PS4. Even now, Sony is pushing their exclusives even further with new titles like Spider-Man 2018 game, Ghost of Tsushima, The Last of Us Part 2, Death Stranding, and Nioh 2. Despite of the terrible E3 conference, we still cannot deny the power from Sony’s upcoming exclusives.

That said, while PS4 has advantages in single-player exclusives, it seems to lose the battle in terms of multiplayer platform. Especially in recent incident when Fortnite players got their accounts locked on PS4, Sony has stepped on a bad position when they did not allow cross-play with other gaming platforms. Despite their announcement to reconsider the cross-play possibility, the damage has already been done.

Anyway, with all that information out of our way, it’s time to check out several arguments which people often bring out in this PS4 vs Xbox One war.

2. Xbox One vs PS4: What do people say?

Based on what we have looked throughout internet and discussions with other players, here are 5 most common arguments we have seen between Xbox One and PS4 fans:

Xbox One X is more powerful than PS4 Pro.”

xbox one vs ps4 9

Yes, it is indeed more powerful than PS4 Pro. (Source: Internet)

This is a fact which both Xbox and PlayStation players agree: Xbox One X indeed has more powerful specs than the PS4 Pro. But then this is something we mentioned before: it is more like about players’ needs rather than console’s true quality.

Despite having more powerful specs, it does not mean Xbox One X beats PS4 Pro in terms of performance. Xbox One X can indeed deliver more beautiful graphic than the PS4 Pro, what PS4 Pro delivers is still good enough to keep many players’ happy. Those who need game to have exceptional graphic, Xbox One X is definitely a great choice. But those who do not pay that much attention to graphic may not see the more expensive Xbox One X ($500) necessary.

PS4 has more sales than Xbox One.”

xbox one vs ps4 10

Wii U, Xbox One, & PS4 sale chart early 2017 (Source: VGChartz)

Personally we believe the sale result is simply a mere fact, not a concrete reason to say Xbox One is totally worse than PS4. The thing is: sales can only predict the popularity at most, not the quality of each console. Given the sale record, PS4 is indeed more popular than Xbox One with twice the sales. But if we just base on sales and popularity to dictate the quality, it will be like saying: “Candy Crush is the best game ever.”

Xbox One has no exclusive.”

xbox one vs ps4 11

Xbox One does have exclusives… but not as much as PS4. (Source: Gamespot)

This is something PS4 fans often bring out in every Xbox One vs PS4 battle. And we do agree one thing: PS4 has better exclusive lineup than Xbox One. As mentioned, even now Xbox One still mainly focuses on their big three: Gears of War, Halo, and Forza. And while Microsoft does include new exclusives like Cuphead, Sunset Overdrive, Ori and the Blind Forest, these games are not impactful enough to make players think: “I need to buy Xbox One for this game.”

Exclusive is important weapon in this console war; however, we still think it cannot dictate whether PS4 is better than Xbox One or not. It is more about popularity rather than true quality of a console. Again, look at Xbox One sale record of 2017, we can still see 21 million consoles have been sold, which mean there are millions of players caring about Xbox One and they believe it is good. From our perspective, this is more about players’ needs rather than about console’s true quality, which we talk about in the last section.

There is no reason to buy Xbox One X.”

xbox one vs ps4 12

Native 4K gaming? Why not? (Source: Internet)

This is a common counter-argument against Xbox One X’s powerful specs. The main idea is that: Xbox One X does not have any noteworthy exclusive which can show off all the capability of the Xbox One X. This argument does have a point, but again, this more about players’ needs rather than console’s quality.

I’d rather buy a PC than a Xbox One.”

xbox one vs ps4 13

This is a war we rather not talk about for now… (Source: Internet)

We have seen many players bringing this reason up since most Xbox One’s exclusives can be played on PC like Gears of War 4, Halo 5 Guardians, and Forza Horizon 4. And since PC is far more versatile than a console, why not get a PC instead?

Again, this argument does have a point. But we will have to take budget aspect into consideration. Let’s compare a $500 PC and a 500$ Xbox One X and here’s the result: A $500 PC can only play AAA titles in medium setting at most. At 4K, it can barely maintain 60FPS. On the other hand; a compact, gaming-specialized Xbox One X can maintain 60 FPS in 4K easily. So if you only want a machine for gaming, yet having limited budget, your best bet is Xbox One X.

For people who have generous financial capability, getting a powerful PC beyond $500 is arguably better decision than getting Xbox One X. But not all players can have such capability. And in such case, the question returns to: “Which console should we choose: Xbox One vs PS4?

3. Needs or Quality?

This is something we have concerned for months about this console war between Xbox One X vs PS4. Most of the discussions we’ve seen so far seem to hit the wrong mark. When we talk about which console is better, what does “better” mean exactly? Is it about console’s overall quality, service, or performance? Or is it simply about our needs?

If the discussion is about quality, here are the pros and cons between Xbox One and PS4, based on our experience:

Xbox One PS4
Pros + Features Backward Compatibility service which offers 500+ games from last gens.

+ Features arguably better multiplayer platform with cross-play capability with PC and Switch.

+ Xbox One X offers powerful specs with native 4K experience, 4K Blu-Ray player, and 4K streaming.

+ Features tons of AAA single-player exclusives, including both released and upcoming titles.

+ Features VR support.

+ PS4 Pro has cheaper price, while still offers fairly the same gaming experience.

Cons Xbox One X costs ($500) much higher than a PS4 Pro ($400).

Does not have much exclusives compared to PS4 lineup.

No VR support.

PS4 Pro does not offer true native 4K experience.
There is no reliable backward compatibility.- There is no cross-play at the moment.

As we can see: both consoles actually offer fairly equal quality for gaming. Xbox One arguably has better multiplayer/multimedia experience, with the native 4K experience for those who have high standard for graphic. On the other hand, PS4 provides more-focused gaming experience with lots of incredible single-player exclusives. The PS4 Pro offers the same gaming experience like Xbox One X, except the native 4K.

Therefore, we believe the question should not be “which console is better?” but rather, “what is our purpose when getting a console?” If what you seek is about great gaming experience with great titles and exclusives, PS4 is definitely the choice. But if you focus more on multiplayer and 4K experience, Xbox One, particularly Xbox One X, is much better option.

And what do you think? Which console suits your needs better: Xbox One or PS4? Feel free to share with us and for now, thank you and stay tune for more news in the future!

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