Gamers across the country are eagerly awaiting the new video game consoles scheduled for release this month.
Sony and Microsoft, the two titans of the console world, are launching their new video game consoles in the next couple of weeks. Sony is unleashing its Playstation 4 on Nov. 15 and Microsoft’s Xbox One is set to storm shelves the following week on Nov. 22.
Many of the games that will be available for sale when these systems launch are multi-platform titles, meaning they will be available for purchase on either system, as well as possibly other platforms such as the PC, Wii U and current generation systems. The PS4 and Xbox One will both have some exclusive titles, but many of the ones for PS4 have been delayed until 2014.
Outside of the obvious factor of the systems’ software libraries, price will be one of the biggest deciding issues in determining which system people buy this holiday season.
Sony has a major advantage in that department, with the PS4 costing $100 less than its competition. With the systems priced at $400 and $500 respectively, neither one is cheap.
From a hardware perspective, the Xbox One does include more stuff with its console. The system comes packaged with the new version of the Kinect, a camera-like accessory that allows the Xbox
One to be controlled using voice activation and hand gestures, among other things.
The PS4 will have a similar, optional camera accessory available at launch that will be sold separately for $60, but it lacks some of the Kinect’s more advanced features.
In addition to the big issues of software libraries and price, there are several smaller issues worth considering before purchasing either system.
Both systems require console owners to pay for a subscription service if they wish to play multi-player games online, both require their owners to connect the system using an HDMI cable and neither system is backwards compatible with its predecessors.
Gamers familiar with the original Xbox and the Xbox 360 will be familiar with having to pay to play games online, so it isn’t likely to be an issue for people considering an Xbox One. But it could come as a shock to Sony supporters, especially since free online play was one the Playstation 3’s biggest draws.
Connectivity is another potential issue with both of the new systems. The PS4 and the Xbox One can only connect to a TV via an HDMI cable. This means neither system can be played on older TVs that lack HDMI ports, such as standard definition TVs – the old 4:3 ones that weigh a ton – and some early high definition TVs that only accept high definition signals through component inputs.
The lack of backwards compatibility could also be a disappointment for potential customers.
Neither of the new systems is backwards compatible with their precursors. This means the PS4 won’t play PS1, PS2 or PS3 discs and the Xbox One won’t play original Xbox or Xbox 360 discs.
While the PS4 can play Blu-Ray and DVD movies, it requires a software update to do so. This means those unfortunate PS4 owners who can’t connect their systems to the Internet will be out of luck. Also the PS4 will not play audio CDs and no software update is currently in the works to change that. CD playback isn’t likely to be a deal breaker for any potential customers, but it is one of those bizarre decisions that will have people asking “Why did they leave it out?”
Both systems have their strengths and weaknesses. It will be interesting to see how this generation plays out.
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