PS4 or Xbox One? Battle of the consoles

LEAH CHRISTENSEN | Updated 12/4/2013

Two local experts weigh in on the strengths and weaknesses of the next-generation gaming systems.

This holiday season, many gamers are facing a major choice.

They must decide whether they will usher Sony’s PlayStation 4 or Microsoft’s Xbox One into their homes.

For hardcore gamers, new system launches carry as much excitement and anticipation as the Super Bowl. For everyone else, they might be trying to figure out what all the fuss is about.

It’s been a tricky plot to follow. Since the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June, each company has been trickling information out for the consumer. First, Microsoft sent the gaming community into an uproar with its announcement that the Xbox One would always have to be connected to the Internet. Their second poorly received announcement was that gamers would be unable to play used games on the One. Microsoft has since gone back on both of these policies.

Meanwhile, Sony has been padding its platform for next-gen gaming by adding the Remote Play function to the PS4. With Sony’s handheld PlayStation Vita, you’ll be able to use Remote Play for the PS4 via wireless LAN-supported titles. So if you’re playing a game in your living room and your roommate wants to watch Netflix, you’ll be able to continue playing your game on the Vita. The execution of this feature is reported to be shaky, but it could be a handy feature if Sony can work out the kinks.

In addition, both new systems will allow gamers to broadcast their gaming experience through Twitch, a live-streaming video platform focused on e-sports and video gaming. While the Xbox One won’t deliver this feature until early 2014, Sony has made this ability incredibly easy from the get-go. Just press the “Share” button on the upper-left corner of the PS4’s Dual­Shock 4 controller to instantly stream a game.

While both the Xbox One and PS4 have plenty to offer, it’s difficult to decipher which console is best suited to you. We contacted Emily Reese, host of Minnesota Public Radio’s video-game music podcast Top Score, and Tim Turi, senior associate editor at the Minnesota-based, world-leading video game magazine Game Informer, to help sort through this quandary. Hopefully, when you step into Target or Gamestop or hover your mouse over the “Add to Cart” button on Amazon this season, you won’t soon feel the weight of buyer’s remorse.

Did you pre-order a PS4 or Xbox One?

Tim Turi: “I pre-ordered a PS4 as soon as Sony’s Press Conference happened at E3. Microsoft had all those controversy aspects on restrictions on used games. Sony seemed to be the clean winner at that point. And it was cheaper. So I went for that. I haven’t pre-ordered an Xbox One, but I know I’ll get one sooner than later.”

Emily Reese: “I pre-ordered a PS4. I picked it because I’m more excited about upcoming games on PS4, like ‘Uncharted.’ I also picked it because my needs as a gamer more closely align with the purpose of the PS4 as a gaming system, while I feel Microsoft has put more emphasis on being an entertainment center. I do not need that.”

The bottom line: Microsoft’s price point and public relations shenanigans have not done them any favors, while the PlayStation has righted itself as a gamer’s game machine. Edge: PS4.

Will the Xbox One controversies affect the system, or are they already forgotten?

Turi: “I think it might. We did a video thing where we had one of the editors just ask people on the street what they thought about it. It seemed like if people did know anything about Microsoft, they knew the bad stuff. I’m not sure how good of a job Microsoft has done to communicate with the wider public that they’ve gone back on initial Internet policies. Then again, most people might just see the new Xbox, and think, ‘Well, I gotta get that’ because they played their [Xbox] 360. I think people have their loyalties set up like that.”