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Sean Dempsey/PA Wire
console wars

Playstation 4 Vs Xbox One: Which comes out on top?

With the Xbox One released today and the PS4 a week away, which one should you invest your time and money in?

WITH THE RUN-UP to Christmas well underway, it’s a pretty exciting time for gamers as two new consoles enter the market. The Wii U may have had a year-long headstart, but it will be eclipsed by both the arrival of the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One. With the Xbox One out today and the Playstation 4 due a week later, it’s time to look at what each one has to offer.

The Contenders

Of the three main players, the Xbox One is probably in the strongest position, coming off the back of what was a very successful period for Microsoft. The original Xbox allowed Microsoft to get a foothold in the console market, but the 360 helped it dominate the market. Its retail price is €499 across most stores.image(Image: Xbox One Official Site)

The Playstation 4 aims to help Sony recover from the problems that followed the PS3. After the original PSX changed the perception of video games and the PS2 built upon this, the PS3 came up against a strongly placed Microsoft and a revitalised Nintendo.

The news that it sold one million consoles in the US in 24 hours will be encouraging as it recovers the ground it lost to the Xbox 360. The PS4 is cheaper than its rival with a €399 price tag.image(Image: Playstation 4 Official Site)

Speaking of Nintendo, we have the Wii U which is still trying to find its feet after a rather lacklustre year. Despite it having a year-long headstart, it failed to capture consumers’ imaginations and has lagged behind the Xbox 360 and PS3. Unsurprisingly, the Wii U is the cheapest of the three, selling for €299.

image(Image: Wii U Official Site)

What do they offer?

Much like their predecessors, both the PS4 and the Xbox One aren’t content with being your favourite console; both are determined to become the focal point for all your multimedia needs. They build upon the foundations set by the Xbox 360 and PS3, and want to make sure

Both include apps, video, music, motion controls – thanks to the Playstation Camera and Kinect – and cloud capabilities, the latter means that an internet connection is a necessity as the majority of games require it.

Unfortunately, neither console will allow you to play your old Xbox 360 or PS3 games directly, which is annoying for those who built up a large catalogue of games. However, Sony is planning to provide a streaming service that will give the PS4 backward compatibility, which it will launch in 2014

Microsoft’s effort is the more ambitious of the two. Describing the Xbox One as the “all-in-one entertainment system”, it’s focuses on bringing gaming, television and the web together in one place. If you’re used to the interface on Windows 8 or Windows Phone, you will feel right at home.

One of the main features is being able to place certain apps like Skype or Internet Explorer to the left or right-hand side of your TV so you can keep tabs on things while you play.image(Image: Xbox One Official Site)

Its hardware, along with the Kinect, gives it a lot of potential and its strength in cloud computing gives it a clear advantage over its rival. It’s also rather large so if you’re hoping that it will blend in with your other devices, you may be disappointed.

Sony’s effort, on the other hand, is both sleek and stylish. While it has a lot of multimedia features, the ability to upload screenshots, videos and broadcast games gives it an advantage (Xbox One can do the same but requires you to have a Live Gold subscription), it is very much focused on gaming.

The extra power allows games to play at a higher resolution, which is noticeable if you’re playing titles that have been released on multiple platforms.image(Image: Battlefield Official Site)

The Games

Let’s face it, while you can talk about the hardware and extra features, a console is only as good as the games that appear on it.

The timing of certain releases like Grand Theft Auto 5 and The Last of Us has meant that there are few, if any, must-have titles unique to each console, but both still have solid titles to get you started.

The three biggest games – Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4 and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag - are being released on both consoles as well as the annual updates to FIFA, NBA and Madden so there isn’t much to separate the two yet.

At the moment, the Xbox One has the stronger lineup, but only barely. The title worth getting is Forza Motorsports 5 which has been praised for bringing one of the most comprehensive driving sim out there, and Dead Rising 3, a solid if unspectacular zombie sandbox game.image(Image: Xbox One/Forza Motorsports 5)

The exclusives on the PS4 are harder to get excited about as the only unique games it has are Killzone: Shadow Fall, which is a decent first-person shooter, and Knack, a fantasy platform adventure aimed at younger players. image(Image: Killzone Official Site)

As a rule, the true A-list titles come shortly after it launches since developers need time to get to grips with each console. Both have a lot of potential, but it may be a while before it gets the games that truly show what they’re capable of.

What about the Wii U?

It’s easy to forget that Nintendo’s latest console has been around for a year, but it still has yet to make an impact. Part of this is down to the unconventional controller which can either be the Wiimote and Nunchuck or a large tablet controller called the Wii U Pro controller.

While the Wii’s accessibility brought in those who wouldn’t normally associate themselves with gaming, the Wii U failed to build upon its success, offering a tablet controller which neither appealed to causal or hardcore gamers.

The Wii U has its flagship title Super Mario 3D World coming up in time for Christmas, and its HD re-release of the Gamecube classic The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker as well as its catalogue of games means that it offers more variety, but Nintendo’s insistence on trying to be different, without considering that gamers might use their console for more than gaming, means that it’s going to be another tough year for it.image(Image: Legend of Zelda Official Site)

Which one is worth getting?

Chances are you’ve already made up your mind about the three consoles but it’s really depends on whether you treat your console as a games machine or as a media device.

If it’s the former, then the Playstation 4 offers the greater potential for gaming and will really get going when the exclusives begin to roll in. The Xbox One provides a more rounded experience and managed to find a good middle ground between gaming and multimedia experiences. The Wii U has the greatest library and imagination, but the lack of killer exclusive games, outside of the usual flagship Nintendo games, means it will have a tough Christmas.

The key word here is ‘potential’. Both the PS4 and the Xbox One have the ability to outshine each other, but when a new console launches, it always takes a bit of time before the real attractions arrive. It will take a little bit of time before either side begin offering the first essential games, but when they do, that’s when the real fun begins.

Read: The cost of building a PS4 is cheaper than you would expect >

Read: Here are all the games you’ll be able to play on Xbox One >

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