Has The PS4 Triumphed Over The Xbox One?
Gaming industry heavyweights Sony and Microsoft are gearing up for another high-stakes battle as they prepare to release their next-gen consoles. They continue to drip-feed tantalizing details about the PS5 and Project Scarlett, whipping up a great deal of excitement and anticipation among passionate communities of gamers.
The current era is winding down, and it is a good time to analyze which company has prevailed in the current generation of the console wars. Has the PS4 triumphed over the Xbox One? We examine the key criteria:
The PS4 is one of the most popular consoles of all time and sales surged past the 100 million mark this summer. It achieved the milestone quicker than any other console in history, outpacing even the PS2 and the Nintendo Wii. It is an economic juggernaut, and it has proved to be remarkably successful for Sony. The PS4 will soon overtake the original PlayStation to become the second bestselling console ever made, behind only the iconic PS2. In this metric, it has absolutely trounced the Xbox One. Microsoft stopped revealing Xbox One sales data in 2014, but estimates put it at 41 million units. It has fared dismally compared to the PS4, but the firm has tried to put on a brave face.
“We are continuing to look at engagement as our key metric for success and are no longer reporting on total console sales,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Variety last year, arguing that it is focused on increasing active Xbox Live user figures instead. Yet that simply sounds like PR spin designed to deflect attention away from its lackluster commercial performance.
The PS4 boasted significantly higher GPU power than the Xbox One when both consoles hit shelves. It used uses 8GB of GDDR5 memory with a bandwidth of 176GB/sec as opposed to the Xbox One with its 8GB of DDR3 RAM. That resulted in the PS4 being blessed with superior graphics and more seamless gameplay. PS4 games ran in higher resolution with more frames per second than they did on the Xbox One.
Yet the Xbox One was more expensive than the PS5, despite offering little to justify its inflated price tag. The Microsoft team also shot itself in the foot by forcing gamers to purchase the Kinect motion controller for an extra $100, further inflating the price. Then came the furor over the NSA using the Kinect to spy on customers, by which point the company had lost the trust of its community.
It managed to address these issues further down the line, by scrapping the Kinect and then releasing the X Box One X. It is currently the most powerful console ever released, but the damage was already done, and the PS4 had opened up an unassailable lead by that point.
Sony has secured a fantastic array of exclusive titles for the PS5, including God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Uncharted 4, The Last of Us Horizon Zero Dawn, Bloodborne, Until Dawn and many more. It has provided great support for small, indie developers and that has left it with an excellent variety of titles across a number of genres, catering to hardcore gamers and casual gamers alike.
The Xbox One team has simply not been able to compete, and that is a major reason for its relatively poor commercial performance. The Xbox 360 edged ahead of the PS3 in the previous generation of the console wars by carving out a strong identity as a haven for hardcore gamers. It secured brilliant exclusives like the Halo series, and that allowed it to frequently outsell its fierce rival. Yet Halo and other big series like Forza have underperformed on the Xbox One, and many planned exclusives have been abandoned or delayed.
If Microsoft is to prevail in the next-gen battle for supremacy, it must secure a lot more exclusives that spark excitement among gamers. Halo Infinite has already been announced as a launch title, but it cannot rely solely on the Master Chief. The team has talked about bringing PC gaming into the living room, which could help it challenge Sony’s current supremacy. Unikrn’s gaming updates show how high the interest is in esports, and it could give its chances of success a boost by emerging as a serious alternative to the PC for pro gamers.
The PS4 looks fantastic. It is slick and visually arresting, and it can blend well into most backgrounds with its glossy finish. The power is internal, making it neat and tidy. The Xbox One was a lot clunkier when it hit shelves, with its boxy, uninspired design of a bulging power brick. The One S slimmed things down a little, but the PS4 still looks better.
VR technology has the power to totally transform the gaming experience, and Sony has fully embraced it. The PS VR headset is the only console option available, and it massively enhances the experience when you play PS4 games like Resident Evil 7 and Batman Arkham VR.
The PS VR is one of the better headsets on the market, and it is cheap without heavily compromising on performance and quality. The setup is a breeze, the headset is comfortable to wear, movies look great on it, and the PS VR comes in at a more accessible price point than Oculus and Vive. The Xbox One team has not yet dipped a toe into the VR sector, so Sony arguably leads in the innovation department.
The PS4 was released to almost universal acclaim, and it has earned many positive reviews. Journalists called it a phenomenal piece of hardware and commended Sony for its astute engineering choices. It was hailed as “the gamer’s choice for next-generation” due to its accessible price, no digital rights issues and its impressive roster of exclusives. Its superb commercial performance reflects the positive reception it received.
A decidedly mixed reception greeted the Xbox One upon launch. Some reviewers loved it, but others struggled with its problematic navigation and slower performance than the PS4 when running some titles. It was dogged by bad publicity before it even hit shelves and Microsoft ended up losing the PR battle through its own errors.
The Xbox One X was a huge upgrade, but the PS4 was already out of sight by the time it launched. It won this round of the console wars in convincing fashion, but Microsoft will surely battle back next time around, and it will be fascinating to see who triumphs.