Next-Gen Console Wars Starts With Sony Having Major Advantages

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Full disclosure: I’m a gamer through and through, no fanboyism to one side or the other. I personally own every single major console released from the NES and Master System on up. With that said, the advantages that Sony displayed at E3 today were damning. Damning to whatever strategy Microsoft thought would win them this E3 and the new generation. Damning the Xbox One so much, that the internet itself has declared Sony the clear winner of Next-Gen already. Unless you are a die-hard Xbox loyalist, it’s hard to disagree with that.

Let’s compare the two.

Xbox One

  • MSRP: $499.99
  • 8 Core CPU
  • 8GB DDR3 System Memory
  • 50GB Blu-Ray optical drive
  • USB 3.0
  • 500GB Internal HDD
  • HDMI out
  • HDMI in
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Kinect 2.0 in every box and required for play
  • $59.99/year for Xbox Live for online multiplayer and entertainment services
  • Requires an online connection once every 24 hours to “check-in”
  • Every game has a unique serial number to authenticate over Xbox Live
  • You can only lend out your games once to friends through an authentication process through Xbox Live
  • You can only lend out or gives your games to Xbox Live friends you’ve had for over 30 days and only through Xbox Live
  • Trade-in your games to “select retailers”
  • Publishers will control whether or not what game can or cannot be traded in, (whether or not time will be an issue is unknown at this time)

Playstation 4

  • MSRP: $399
  • 8 Core CPU
  • 8GB GDDR5 memory
  • 500GB Internal HDD
  • 6x Blu-Ray and 8x DVD drive
  • USB 3.0
  • 802.11 b/g/n
  • HDMI, analog AV-out, and optical S/PDIF audio output
  • PlayStation 4 Eye camera sold separately at $59.99 and not required for play
  • Playstation Plus subscription required for online multiplayer and social networking services (Unconfirmed if PS Plus will remain at $49.99 yearly)
  • Playstation Plus subscription not required for entertainment services
  • Does not require an internet connection for anything but online gaming and services
  • You own your games and can do what you want with your game discs as you see fit

As we can see, there are very little differences in the hardware department. Both systems are running on par with each other, practically neck and neck. The major differences is in which the way Sony is treating their consumers; that is, by not treating them any differently. Microsoft, on the other hand, is giving 3rd party publishers complete control over the game license approach and restricting the second hand sale of games to anyone but retailers, let alone how and when you can share them or even give them away, all through the power of the internet and registration processes. As we’ve seen in the past couple of months, the masses are not happy, and many Xbox loyalists, while standing with Microsoft, cannot also defend their poor choice of anti-consumer practices with the Xbox One.

Other differences are damning. First, the bad news: Playstation 4 will no longer have free-to-play online play. It will now require a subscription like Xbox Live’s where you pay so much a month. It is currently unconfirmed, but whether the Playstation Plus subscription will not change in price and remain $49.99 a year is yet to be seen. However, the service will expand with all the social networking, sharing, Gaikai, and U-Stream services. However, Sony stated that all of the entertainment services – such as Netflix and Hulu Plus – will remain free to use on your PS3, as these services connect to their own servers and already incorporate their own subscription plans.

The good news is that Xbox Live won’t be changing. Still the same Xbox Live experience you know and love, a better interface, easier navigation, even much more services for TV and networks to give you special premium access to shows and movies, multi-tasking, Skype, demos, and more. A new addition to Xbox Live is how they will copy Playstation Plus directly by providing subscribers with free retail copy games to download starting today with Fable III, followed by Halo 3 and Assassin’s Creed II by the end of the month, and then two more added to the list per month. It’s nowhere near 10 at a time, but it’s a good start. Microsoft Points will go extinct as they will go by actual currency now, though fact that this is good news is sad to begin with.

If you’ll notice, however, Sony is not requiring a subscription to Playstation Plus for all of the entertainment services, while Microsoft still requires you to foot the bill on Xbox Live and on your services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, giving gamers more of a reason to try things out on the Playstation 4 before fully embracing an online world.

Then there’s the $100 price tag. I talked about it earlier, but the point still stands. With all the advantages in Sony’s online service and similarities in Sony and Microsoft’s consoles, that extra $100 you save can go a long way. Not just staying in your pocket, but if you would choose to buy a game right away, an extra controller, the Playstation Eye, now you have that little bit of wiggle room. Whereas with the Xbox One, that extra $100 doesn’t exist, and the games you buy technically aren’t yours to own going by their terms of use. So why bother?

The answer can be quite easy. Say what you will, but a good piece of entertainment can go a long way. A lot of people are still gun-ho for their Xbox Ones because it’s the only place to find Halo, Forza, and others. It’s already a recognized online infrastructure that works solidly, rare when it falters, rare when online game don’t work on day one, better moderated for cheaters and people who disrupt games, and no major hacks that takes down the service for a month plus. That’s fine.

To turn a blind eye to consumer rights is where the line gets drawn with a lot of people, and a lot of people aren’t willing to pay to see if they can coexist with the new rules Microsoft imposes on them. These people will either steer clear of gaming altogether, or migrate over to the Playstation 4. Seeing as gamers can be extremely fickle, I see the latter happening en mass.

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Readers Comments (2)

  1. Marketing wise Sony is the clear winner but there are some key points you missed. Microsoft is allowing up to 10 family to play anything on your system. Also (this can also be argued) Microsoft is changing kinetic to be more revolutionary where Sony is basically ps3 with updated graphics. Not to mention all the exclusives Xbox is going to have.

    • PS4 is not basically just PS3 updated, man. Both the XBone and the PS4 are literally on par with each others hardware. If you want to get specific, PS4 is still just a tiny bit more powerful with GDDR5 instead of DDR3, meaning XBone will bottleneck quicker.

      Also, the PS4 will be offering some crazy awesome online features with the Gaikai service in the future with past games, and at launch being able to start playing your games AS you download them, which is phenomenal. Then there’s all the Ustream stuff which I’m excited to hang out with my friends like I used to, except millions of miles away.

      The Kinect 2.0 IS amazing, don’t get me wrong. But what you’re willing to give up for its use and the ticket price is NOT worth all of the headaches and the fact that you don’t own what you buy. As much as I want Titan Fall, as much as I want more Halo, those exclusives will wait before they see my living room. And I’m talking years.

      Or until I win the lotto.

      The family sharing stuff IS awesome. However, I don’t see that lasting. Remember that Sony did the exact same thing with the PS3 allowing 5 PSN IDs to share one piece of DLC, and they QUICKLY turned that around after they saw less sales.

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