The Xbox One and PS4 are on shelves, and now that the Christmas rush is over you can generally find them in stock quickly rather than having to wait in line for weeks.
Costing at last £400 each with a game, this is one decision you’ll want to get right though. To make it easier, we’ve compared the Xbox One and PS4, from the games you can get for each system to the tech that powers them. Let’s get started.
Xbox One vs PS4 -Video Comparison
Want to get a closer look at the new game consoles in action? Watch our comparison video below.
Read on and you can find out in detail what all the small and big differences are between the next-gen consoles.
February 2014 update
Thee months into the console war, it seems the Sony PS4 is winning. Sony’s Fergal Gara says the PS4 is outselling the Xbox One to a ratio of 1.5:1 in the UK. And his information comes from sales data gathered from retailers. It’s not just picked out of a hat.
Analysts agree that the PS4 will ‘win’ the 2014 console war too. They speculate that the PS4 will sell 12 million units in 2014, to the Xbox One’s nine million.
However, this isn’t a complete walkover win. If you buy an Xbox One, you won’t find that suddenly developers are going to stop making games for it. And the Xbox One could turn it around in 2015.
There are some pretty attractive deals for the PS4 right now, though. Gamestop is offering the console without games for £329.97, £20 below the RRP. As you might imagine, stock sold out extremely quickly. However, it’s worth keeping your eye on as Gamestop offers free delivery on the console. We’ve not seen any lower-than-RRP Xbox One deals yet.
Still it’s the games that matter. Here are the current and future games that should sway your choice.
Xbox One vs PS4 – Best Current and Future Games
The most important factor with any game console is games. Above all else, you should go with the console that has the games you want to play.
Many of this generation’s games will be available for both consoles. This was true with the last generation too, but the Xbox One and PS4 make it easier than ever for developers to cross-produce for both platforms.
Let’s have a look at the top games that are already available, and those that are coming out for each console.
Best Current Xbox One games
Dead Rising 3
Like the previous Dead Rising games, Dead Rising 3 is a third-person action game set around a zombie invasion. Its world is much larger than that of the last two games, though, based in a city rather than a specific location within a city.
It’s not the best showcase for next-gen graphics and it doesn’t have quite the spark of inventiveness seen in the former games. But it’s a launch line-up highlight, and something a little different.
7/10 – Read the full Dead Rising 3 review
Forza Motorsport 5
The game that marks the Xbox One as the racer’s favourite at present, Forza Motorsport 5 is a semi-serious racing game that looks and feels great. Match it with something like the Mad Catz Pro Racing wheel and you’ll be in heaven.
However, it’s not the ultimate racing game, lacking some of the structural brilliance of the last game in the series, Forza 4. Still, for now it’s the best next-gen racer if you don’t want a pure arcade experience.
8/10 – Read the full Forza 5 review
Best Future Xbox One games
Available: March 2014
The most exciting early Xbox One console exclusive is Titanfall. It is a sci-fi shooter, and it’s not afraid to be grim and serious, with a darker tone than the cross-platform Destiny.
Unusually, there’s no single-player mode in Titanfall, but there will be single player-style story elements weaved into the action to give play more meaning than the average multiplayer blast-fest. It looks fantastic, but we’re waiting for our review copy to see if it really pans out successfully. Activision has already admitted its multiplayer-only style makes it a hard game to market.
Read more about Titanfall
Available: Who knows
An obvious game to watch out for on the Xbox One is the new Halo game. Halo is the series that ‘made’ the Xbox console, which initially floundered against the Sony PlayStation in sales terms.
We know Halo 5 is being worked on, but most other details are unknown at present. It’s going to be made by 343 Industries, but the story, the release date and what it’ll look like are all being kept carefully under wraps at present.
Best current PS4 games
The single notable ‘gamer’s game’ that the PS4 had over the Xbox One at launch was Killzone: Shadowfall. It’s a grim first-person shooter set in the future, and a pretty good way to see what your shiny new console is capable of, compared to the PS3.
It’s not a shooter you’re likely to have fond memories of for years to come, but it’s a good job the PS4 had it to rely on given how many of the console’s other games were pushed back into 2014.
7/10 – Read our full Killzone: Shadow Fall review
Best future PS4 games
Infamous: Second Son
Available: March 2014
Infamous is a superhero game that’s not tied to a superhero license, and that’s a good thing in this case. You’re not tied to a famous character’s intentions, letting you play the good guy, or the bad guy. And your actions dictate the sort of powers you develop.
In style, it’s similar to the previous Infamous games, giving you an ‘open world’ city in which you can wreak havoc. This is the first major 2014 PS4 exclusive, and it has us a good deal more excited than Killzone: Shadow Fall
Read more about inFamous: Second Son
Available: Autumn 2014
One of the PS4’s upcoming ‘new IP’ games is The Order: 1886. It’s a story-driven, single-player, first person action adventure, according to the people making it. This is actually quite refreshing among all the high-profile next-gen games that try to cram multiplayer elements in.
It’s set in an alternate version of Victorian era London. Expect plenty of grey, grim and foggy-looking cobbled streets.
Available: Who knows
One of Sony’s top gaming franchises is Uncharted, the movie-like action series. It’s dramatic, it’s funny and it has always proved a stunning visual showcase. Uncharted 4 is likely to be one of the best-looking ‘next-gen’ games we’ve seen – when it arrives.
When it will touchdown is anyone’s guess, though. In November 2013, developer Naughty Dog released a teaser for the game, but left no further info other than to expect news in 2014.
Best cross-platform games, current and future
Call of Duty: Ghosts
One of the most-anticipated recent games is Call of Duty: Ghosts. It’s a first-person shooter, just like the other games in the series.
If you don’t like the genre, or have been unimpressed with the previous CoD games, it’s unlikely you’ll get on with this one. However, for fans of the series it’s a treat. It’s just not a particularly inventive or dynamic entry in the Call of Duty line. The ‘ghosts’ of the title are a special band of US forces who have to combat a group of terrorists trying to use a galactic superweapon to try and take down the US. It’s also the first Call of Duty game to feature a dog as part of your squad.
7/10 – Read the full Call of Duty: Ghosts review
Need for Speed: Rivals
The Need for Speed series has some serious ups and downs, but we’re happy – and surprised – to report that Need for Speed: Rivals is a highlight. As with the other games in the series, it’s an arcade racer rather than one that tries to be in any way realistic.
Its world is open, and it blends multiplayer and single player modes into a single environment for a seamless feel. It’s bags of fun, and the game that ensured neither console was without a good racer at launch.
9/10 – Read the full Need for Speed: Rivals review
Available: September 2014
Destiny is a ‘new IP’, a game not based on an existing series. People are still extremely excited about it, though, because it’s made by Bungie, the development studio behind the first Halo games.
It’s a science fiction shooter that merges multiplayer and single player play styles – something we’re likely to see an awful lot of this year. What’s getting us more excited, though, is that it looks fantastic and offers grand vistas to explore. This game will come to previous-generation consoles as well as the new guard.
Read more about Destiny
Games – Conclusions
At present, the Xbox One has a better game line-up, and in the near future it has more significant exclusives. However, the series that came to define console exclusives in the PS3/360 era will remain the same. So if Uncharted means way more to you than Halo ever will, think carefully before dismissing the PS4.
We’ll find out a lot more about the future games coming out for these consoles during E3, which takes place in June.
Further on this feature we’ll look into every bit of each console in depth, but if you want a quicker read, here are the top reasons to buy each console.
Top reasons to pick an Xbox One
Larger size may mean it’s more reliable long-term
The huge console size of the Xbox One gives air more room to circulate, which is likely to ensure the console does not overheat even when under strain for prolonged periods.
It has a better launch line-up
At launch, the Xbox One offers a better selection of games than the PS4. Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5 and Zoo Tycoon are games we’d rather play over Killzone: Shadowfall. Several of the games we thought would be PS4 launch exclusives have been delayed until 2014.
Kinect is undeniably cool
Not everyone likes Kinect, but it has serious potential that you don’t get with the PS4 camera. For example, you can use it to control the console, swiping in the air to perform commands.
Wider distribution of Kinect will mean for more interesting motion gaming
Even more important than the inbuilt features of Kinect, that every Xbox One ships with a Kinect sensor means that developers will be able to confidently put Kinect features into their games. As not everyone will have a PS4 camera, the gaming audience is fragmented.
It acts as a hub for your other home entertainment gear
You can plug another piece of hardware into your Xbox One using its HDMI input. This lets you switch between, say, your digibox and the Xbox One, using the Xbox interface. There’s only one input, but if you use a receiver it’s all you’ll need.
Titanfall is an Xbox One console exclusive
One of the most anticipated next-gen games is Titanfall, a game made by some of the sharpest minds behind the Call of Duty franchise. It’s apparently going to be a PC/Xbox exclusive ‘forever’, so if you want it, you want an Xbox One.
Top reasons to pick a PS4
It’s much smaller than an Xbox One
If you have a cramped lounge/bedroom, the smaller size of the PS4 will come in handy. It is much, much smaller than the Xbox One.
It doesn’t have a separate power brick
Also important, the PS4 incorporates its own power supply while the Xbox One has a separate power brick. This is a big win if you want to take the console around a friend’s house as it’s much, much lighter.
It already has iPlayer
The PS4 has iPlayer already, the Xbox One does not. If you want to use your console as a TV streamer, this is important. iPlayer is coming to Xbox One, we’re just not sure when.
It’s a bit cheaper
As it does not the Camera accessory bundled, the PS4 is significantly cheaper than the Xbox One. It costs £349.99 on its own. The Xbox One is £429.99.
The PS4 is more powerful
The PS4 has a significantly more powerful GPU – graphics processing unit – than the Xbox One. It’s about 50 per cent more powerful.
Remote Play for Vita is awesome
This one only matter for PS Vita owners, but the PS4’s Remote Play is pretty neat. It lets you play full PS4 games on your Vita over your Wi-Fi connection.
PS Plus’s free games plan is great
The PS Plus service costs about £40 a year, but it gets you free games every month. And at present it’s better than the freebie games offering you get with an Xbox One through Live Gold.
The PS4 controller is better
We think the PS4 controller is better than the Xbox One’s. This one will divide opinions, but we’re not fans of the clicky triggers on the Xbox One pad.
Xbox One vs PS4 – Stock and Deals Update
Now that we’re a good few weeks into the lives of the new consoles, they are starting to become easier to get hold of. At the time of writing, the Xbox One is a cinch to get hold of, while the PS4 is still out of stock in many stores. There’s an obvious reason why – the PS4 reportedly outsold Microsoft’s console by 166,000 units.
Consequently, you’ll also find some slightly better deals for the Xbox One, although neither console is being sold much below its standard asking price yet. Argos offers slightly lower prices on games when bought with a console – you can get LEGO Marvel Superheroes for £25, or Battlefield/Need for Speed: Rivals for £35.
Argos’s PS4 deals aren’t quite as hot, but still save you a few pounds, with Call of Duty: Ghosts available for £40 or LEGO Marvel Superheroes for £25.
Game offers similar sort of deals, offering a few pounds off games when bought with a console. All of the main release games end up costing an extra £30 when bought with a console – including Ryse, Dead Rising 3 and Battlefield 4.
PS4 vs Xbox One – The reviews are in
We’ve had a chance to live with both the Xbox One and PS4 for a while. If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to read our full Xbox One and PS4 reviews.
There are some easily-digestible impressions we can give you now, though. First, it’s too early to tell whether the extra power of the PS4 will really have any significant benefits – the PS4 has a more powerful graphics processor than the Microsoft rival.
Read our Xbox One review
Read our PS4 review
Right now, we think there’s actually a bit more fun to be had with the Xbox One. As of January 2014, there are simply better games available for Microsoft’s console. That’s not great news for the PS4, which was sold as the ‘true gamer’ console in the months preceding the consoles’ release.
It works the other way around too, though. In the early months of the Xbox One’s public existence, Microsoft sold it as a lounge-unifying box that would be able to take control of your whole entertainment setup.
It’s actually the least lounge-friendly of the two consoles, as it’s so big. And while the promised media features of the Xbox One sound exciting, few of them are actually in place for UK buyers at the moment.
For example, the PS4 has iPlayer when the Xbox One does not, and the more involved TV control elements aren’t available in the UK – yet. Of course, making your buying decision based on these complaints is perhaps not the wisest idea – they’re teething troubles that don’t necessarily indicate what the consoles will be like 12 months down the line.
Xbox One vs Sony PS4 – Price and Release Date
Xbox One – £429, 22 November release
PS4 – £349, 29 November UK release
The Xbox One and Sony PS4 were released almost at the same time. The Xbox went on sale in the UK on 22 November, while the Sony PS4 launched a little earlier in the US. It comes to the UK on 29 November.
The Sony PS4 benefits from being a bit cheaper. It costs £349.99 while the Xbox One costs £429 – a disparity of £80.
The price difference has earnt Microsoft much criticsm, but it’s an easy issue to explain away. The Xbox One comes with a Kinect sensor, which is needed to make the console function. Current-gen Kinect costs around £100, and as the next generation model is much more advanced, it accounts for the entire price difference.
Xbox One Preview Video
Want a closer look at the Xbox One? Here’s our preview video of the new console in action.
Xbox One vs Sony PS4 – Design
Xbox One – 10 per cent larger than 360, ‘big black box’ design, 3.18kg
PS4 – Slanted design, 2.8kg
The Xbox One and PS4 are completely different prospects bodywork-wise.
Microsoft’s Xbox One is far, far larger – an imposing black monolith of the living room. The PS4 is sleeker, slimmer and less likely to dominate your under-TV space.
Both keep the severe, black and masculine style that’s common to games consoles, though.
The Xbox One is 10 per cent larger than its predecessor, the current Xbox 360. It weighs around the same as the current console, though, at roughly 3kg.
The PS4 is only marginally lighter, at 2.8kg. This shouldn’t come as a great surprise, though, as they both have to fit in similar components.
Why the extra size in the Xbox One? It’s likely that part of the internal volume of the Xbox One’s case is there to aid cooling.
Overheating was a significant problem in the Xbox 360, responsible for causing many of the red ring issues that plagued the console’s earlier years.
This picture demonstrates the size difference very well.
PS4 vs Xbox One – Which is more powerful?
If you’re a hardcore gamer, there’s a good chance you care about how your games look. And that’s all down to the power a console has on tap.
Which of the new consoles is more powerful? The simple answer is the PS4. We’ll look deeper into the technical reasons why in a minute.
What this means in practice right now is that some cross-platform games, such as Battlefield 4, run at a lower resolution on the Xbox One than they do on the Xbox One. This may equalise over the life of the consoles as developers learn more about each consoles, but the PS4 definitely has a slight edge at launch.
Xbox One vs PS4 – CPU
Xbox One – AMD 8-core Jaguar CPU
PS4 – AMD 8-core Jaguar CPU
The Xbox One and PS4 use extremely similar CPUs, made by AMD. Both use an APU setup, which links together both CPU and GPU into one package.
They’re 8–core chips using ‘Jaguar’ cores – a term picked by their maker AMD to denote their chipset generation. The Xbox One runs at 1.75GHz, which was bumped-up from their original spec of 1.6GHz. Sony hasn’t actually confirmed the clock speed of its PS4 CPU. However, even it is set at 1.6GHz, slower than the Xbox One, it’s the GPU that will really matter.
The difference in core processor power isn’t likely to be that great, and that both consoles use x86 architecture will make life much easier for developers – simplifying the porting process.
PS4 vs Xbox One – GPU and RAM
Xbox One: Comparable to Radeon HD 7000-series, 8GB DDR3 RAM and 32MB eSRAM
PS4: Comparable to Radeon HD 7000-series, 8GB GDDR5 RAM
The PS4 and Xbox One both use an AMD GPU.
The news that the Sony PS4 is (almost) categorically more powerful than the Xbox One is one of the reasons why the PS4 pre-order sold out before the Xbox One’s.
Read our full strip-down of the Xbox One and PS4 graphics hardware
With a more powerful GPU and, seemingly, faster memory, the PS4 is clearly out in front on graphical specs.
But how do they pan out compared to PC graphics cards? The Xbox One is said to be on-par with a Radeon 7790, the PS4 a Radon 7870. Unless you’re a PC gamer, that’s really not going to mean much.
Let’s reduce it to cold hard cash. That the Radeon 7790 costs around £100 and the Radeon 7870 £150 tells you all you need to know.
However, EA’s chief technology officer Rajat Teneja claims that the consoles are a whole generation ahead of the top-end PCs on the market. To some that’ll seem like a ridiculous statement when top-end gaming PCs cost thousands of pounds, and these consoles will cost a few hundred.
What’s less contentious is that the Xbox One and PS4 are around 8-10 times as powerful as the previous-gen Xbox 360 and PS3. However, let’s not forget that an increase in graphical fidelity requires an exponential increase in power – so we won’t be looking at games that look 8-10 times as good.
Xbox One vs PS4 –Graphics
A key question for any head-to-head in the games world is – which has better graphics? It is a question that is, and will probably always be, very difficult to impossible to answer.
As with the current Xbox 360 vs PS3 battle, which console has prettier graphics will vary from game-to-game, and generally the difference is not that great. It’s all down to the way games are made.
A developer produces a game for a ‘lead SKU’, the core platform that it decides to create the building blocks of a game on. That game is then ported over to the other platforms it is to be released on.
Of course, with a project that’s as big a deal as an AAA console game, work will happen on the Xbox One and PS4 versions simultaneously.
The one way to guess at which console has the greater graphics potential is to look at what is going on under the hood – checking out the CPU, the GPU and the core system memory that run the show.
Many of the best upcoming games for the next-generation consoles are not exclusives. Bungie’s Destiny, Battlefield 4, Assassin’s Creed IV and many others will arrive for both systems. And as the consoles use the same processor architecture, porting between the two should be fairly easy.
However, it’s the games that won’t come to both consoles that should affect your buying decision – Xbox or PlayStation? Although the PS4 will reportedly have more exclusives within its first year, we actually know about more Xbox One exclusive games at present. Here’s the run-down.
Xbox One vs PS4 – Apps
If you want functionality other than what comes pre-installed with an PS4 or Xbox One, you need apps. These give you access to streaming services like YouTube, Netflix and so on.
The roster of launch apps varies quite a bit between the consoles, and which is better depends on your own priorities.
Clearly, the Xbox One has more services. However, look more critically and they’re a bit more evenly matched. The most important of the lot – for many buyers – is only available in the PS4 so far – BBC iPlayer. The Xbox One has Netflix, but as a paid-for service, it naturally has a slightly smaller audience of fans.
We expect all of the key services will eventually be shared across both platforms. However, some may take as long as 6-9 months to get there.
PS4 Remote Play
One of the neatest new software/hardware features of the PS4 is how it works with the PS Vita, Sony’s gaming handheld. You’ll be able to play PS4 games on your PS Vita, streaming them over your home broadband connection or using a Wi-Fi Direct connection between the two boxes.
It’s a free feature, and one that makes the Vita suddenly seem a lot more attractive. The PS4 automatically downscales the video to match the Vita’s screen, making it much less data-intensive than a full 1080p stream. The Vita has a 960×544 pixel screen, which is a way below even 720p.
Vita Remote Play in itself is nothing new, however support in the PS3 generation was very poor, making few people even realise it existed. The PS4 also has separate hardware components to handle video conversion and streaming, meaning sacrifices don’t have to be made elsewhere.
There’s just one limitation – you can’t use Remote Play for games that need the PS4 camera. While the Vita has its own cameras, the extra processing that would be required to process the separate input wirelessly makes it completely unfeasible.
Of course, there’s no equivalent for the Xbox One. It offers some Xbox integration through the Windows Phone mobiles, but there’s nothing quite like Remote Play on offer.
Xbox Live Gold vs PlayStation Plus
Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus are the paid-for premium parts of the Xbox Live and PSN online services. If you don’t look for a bargain deal online, a year’s subscription to each costs you £39.99. Shop around and it’s easy enough to find a deal for £29.99 a year.
The more important issue – what does that get you? Traditionally, Xbox Live Gold was thought-of as the much stronger service. It has always had a stronger community. But that is starting to change.
While Xbox Live Gold still makes much more of the social side of the service with things like visual avatars, a stronger achievements system and much clearer notifications of when your friends are about, you get better freebies with PlayStation Plus.
At present, PlayStation Plus offers around 10 free games for PS3 and PS Vita – and a handful are rotated each month. Unless you’re a hardcore gamer, this free stash may be enough to keep you busy year-round. Xbox Live Gold has done its best to emulate this, by offering two free games a month. However, the games selection and the number of titles on offer haven’t matched PS Plus’s.
Both Microsoft and Sony have said they plan to continue offering free games through their paid-for online plans. However, we’ll have to wait until the consoles are released to see what we actually get for the Xbox One and PS4 – ‘legacy’ games are currently offered, which the new consoles simply won’t have yet.
There’s no particular ‘wrong choice’ to be made between the two consoles at present. The PS4 is more powerful but there’s unlikely to be many huge benefits for now, and the Xbox One has a stronger launch line-up. If you have a PS Vita, Sony’s pushing of Remote Play is something worth checking out.