Now that both Sony and Microsoft have revealed their next gen gaming systems to the world on this year's E3, it is time to look at which of the consoles is better. Better depends of course on what your priorities are. Are you interested in price, games, general availability, backwards compatibility, DRM, non-gaming features?
Better is always a relative term, at least when it comes to gaming. Some gamers may not mind the Xbox One's 24h connection requirement as long as they get to play the next Halo, while others see it as a no-go and won't buy the system exactly because of it.
Lets take a look at a direct comparison:
|Playstation 4||Xbox One|
|Extras||1 Controller||1 Controller, Kinect 2|
|Other fees||PS Plus Membership $50 for online play||Xbox Live Gold membership $60 for online play, Media apps|
|Backwards compatibility||From 2014 on using Gaikai streaming technology||No|
|Buy used games||Yes||Limited if at all, see below.|
|Resell games||Yes||Only if publisher allow it, and then only at participating retailers.|
|Give games||Yes||Only if publisher allow it, only once per game, and only to Xbox Live friends of 30-days or more.|
|Lending games||Yes||Not available on launch. May come in the future|
|Offline gaming||Yes||24 hours max|
As far as games are concerned, the following exclusive titles have been confirmed so far for Xbox One and Playstation 4:
Xbox One: Ryse: Son of Rome, Forza Motorsport 5, Quantum Break, Killer Instinct, Project Spark, Crimson Dragon, Halo 5, Dead Rising 3, Sunset Overdrive, D4, LocoCycle, Kinect Sports Rivals, Zoo Tycon
PS4: Basement Crawl, Dark Sorcerer, DriveClub, inFamous: Second Son, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Knack, The Order: 1886
Xbox 360 Games Montage
PS4 Indie Game showcase
A lot speaks against Microsoft when it comes to the next generation of gaming systems. You give up lots of rights that gamers had for a very long time ever since the first gaming systems were released thirty or so years ago.
Not being able to sell games, buy used copies of games or even lend them to friends are big restrictions that benefit Microsoft and the publishers while they affect many gamers negatively.
The online DRM is terrible for a number of reasons. First, you cannot play your games for more than 24 hours in a location with bad or no online reception even if you are playing a single player game. Second, even if you have a great online connection you may not be able to play games if Microsoft's server infrastructure goes down.
Just imagine what a successful hacking attempt just like the one on Sony's infrastructure would have as a result. No gamer would be able to play games for weeks until Microsoft would resolve the issue. And that is not even taking into account smaller maintenance shut downs or even restarts of the server infrastructure.
It does not stop here though and even if you do not mind a Kinect that cannot be turned off completely, you also won't be able to play any of your Xbox 360 games, provided that you own one right now. While Sony's streaming service is not here yet, it will eventually be available so that you can play PS3 games on the system.
Sony's E3 presentation was not breathtaking by any standard, but the company appears as the clear winner in a direct comparison. Not because it has the more powerful system, better games or is more innovative, but because it is not following Microsoft in restricting gamers with what they can and cannot do with their system.