At last week's E3 conference in Los Angeles, the spotlight was shared by Microsoft and Sony as both companies finally unveiled their new consoles for the upcoming Christmas season. Much hype has surrounded the release of Microsoft's new Xbox One and Sony's new PS4, respectively, but now it's time to see how the two consoles will truly measure up against each other. Read on for more information regarding the system specifications, pricing, and DRM controversy surrounding these highly-anticipated gaming consoles.
Both consoles will come with a Blu-Ray player, 500 GB built-in hard drive, USB 3.0, HDMI, wireless connectivity, and Gigabit Ethernet, making them a fairly even match at first glance.
However, while the two consoles will both run on eight-core AMD processors, there's one key difference between them: the PS4 will have 18 CUs generating 1.84 teraflops of processing power, while the Xbox One will only have 12 CUs. In lay man's terms, this should give the PS4 the advantage in terms of lighting and graphics effects.
The PS4 may also have the upper hand in terms of RAM, as it comes equipped with 8GB or GDDR5 RAM. Conversely, Microsoft's Xbox One will feature 8GB of DDR3 RAM. GDDR5 RAM has a higher bandwith, which could mean that the PS4 will run faster and be better optimised for graphical output than the Xbox One. However, one feature that could help bridge the speed gap between the Xbox One and PS4 is that the former also features an eSRAM buffer.
Release Dates and Pricing
Both consoles are set to be released during the upcoming holiday season, although Sony has not yet confirmed a date for the PS4. Microsoft has confirmed that the Xbox One will be released in November of this year.
In terms of pricing, the PS4 appears to be the better value, at £349. The Xbox One is set to sell for £429, which is quite a large price difference considering that the two consoles offer very similar hardware.
The DRM Controversy
Last week, Microsoft used the E3 conference as a platform to outline its proposed DRM policies on the Xbox One. In an attempt to reduce piracy, the company planned to force gamers to check-in online every 24 hours, even if they were playing offline games. The policy was also set to limit the amount of sharing between gamers. If taken into effect, gamers would have only been able to lend out a disc-based game once, and only to a fellow gamer who had been listed on their "Xbox Live friendlies" for at least a month. Sony mentioned no such DRM restrictions on the PS4 during its presentation.
Needless to say, over the past week the gaming community has lashed out against Microsoft regarding the pre-owned sales limitations and authentication requirements it had outlined for the Xbox One. As a result, the company has done a complete 180 on its policy. Microsoft's President of Interactive Entertainment, Don Mattrick, released a statement this week saying that an internet connection will not be required to play offline games, and that there will be no limitations on using and sharing games. While some gamers have embraced Microsoft's sudden change of heart, others worry that it will change its DRM policy yet again once the console has become a big seller.
Launch Games, Future Titles, and Backwards Compatibility
Unsurprisingly, both the Xbox One and the PS4 will feature an exclusive line-up of first-party games. For the Xbox, that line-up will include all new editions of Halo, Gears of War, and Fable, while for the PS4, that will include Uncharted and Killzone. In addition to their exclusive titles, both consoles will feature the following titles at launch: Assassin's Creed IV, FIFA '14, Madden '14, and Lego Marvel Super Heroes.
What titles can you look forward to in the future? Microsoft is promising Titanfall, Crimson Dragon, Below, and Sunset Overdrive for the Xbox One, while Sony is promising Second Son, The Order: 1866 and Deep Down, and the new Gran Turismo for the PS4.
Neither console offers backwards compatibility with previous consoles, rendering retro titles useless on the new machines. Sell back your Xbox 360 and PS3 games to musicMagpie now to earn some extra cash to put toward the gaming fund this holiday season.