Consoles: The Next Generation
After more than a year of teaser trailers, undulating public opinion, and a flurry of redesigns in the midnight hour, the time is finally approaching for the release of the next generation of consoles: the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, launching on November 15 and 22 respectively. And we at the mace are here to give you a handy comparison guide.
Cross-platform launch titles include Call of Duty: Ghosts, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Battlefield 4, FIFA 14, and Watch Dogs.
Both systems will feature a 500 GB hard drive, a Blu-ray drive, and 8 GB of RAM available, though the PS4, with its GDDR5 memory compared to the Xbox One’s GDDR3, will be able to process more information at once and run slightly faster.
Xbox exclusive titles include Dead Rising 3, Ryse: Son of Rome, and Forza Motorsport 5 all launching on day one with eventual releases of Fable Legends, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, and Titanfall coming to the platform. Priced at $499, the system will come with a wireless controller, headset and a Kinect sensor for voice and gesture controls.
Microsoft has been highlighting the all new Xbox One SmartGlass app for iOS, Android and Windows 8 phones throughout its development. Although the app won’t be available until later in this holiday season, it enables your phone to control functions on both your TV and console, with up to 16 devices allowed to be synced in at once.
Through it you can access Xbox live while playing a game, purchase games while you’re away from your console and have them start downloading automatically. You can also check another new XboxOne feature called “OneGuide”, which shows you what’s playing on TV similarly to a regular channel guide. Microsoft has also consulted with developers to include guides for their games in the SmartGlass app, making help in difficult situations just a few taps away. Some titles will feature gameplay through the app itself as well. For instance, in Dead Rising 3, players will use their own cell phone in place of the in-game one, if they have the SmartGlass app.
Back in May, the Xbox One reveal was met heavy criticism that mounted instantly against the consoles DRM restrictions and always online connection requirement. Last month, however, the company retracted these features, recovering some of its cultural clout. If anything, its game line-up has fans excited: Titanfall alone, an FPS resembling the spectacular combat of Pacific Rim with gameplay mechanics reminiscent of Mirror’s Edge, received six game critic awards at E3 and won Best Next Gen Console game at Gamescom.
PS4 exclusive launch titles include Killzone: Shadow Fall, Knack, and Skylanders Swap Force, with Infamous: Second Son, Diablo III, and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain coming to the system in 2014. Sony has poured the majority of its commercial focus into the tech of its new console, and they fit it under a $399 price tag. Its DualShock 4 controller will have a touchpad and motion sense features, as well as a share button that allows you to instantly upload screenshots and video to social media without interrupting your play experience. Additionally, there is a feature called “hand holding,” where you or a friend can remotely take control of one another’s controller to help them through a difficult part in any game.
Pre-downloaded into every PS4 is a feature called the Playroom that showcases the functions of the touchscreen and the PS Eye 2.0 – the PS4’s motion capture technology. Though the games bundled with it now are all simple in concept, much like the Wii Sports pack that came with the Nintendo Wii when it was released, future downloadable games will become available soon, including one created by kickstarter phenoms, Double Fine Productions. By including such a well-known developer, Sony hopes to prove to fans that this motion technology isn’t just another gaming gimmick, as was the reputation of the first PS Eye. The PS Eye 2.0, unlike the Xbox One Kinect, is not included with the system and must be purchased for an additional $59.
Starting in 2014, previous PlayStation titles will be available for download off the PlayStation network through the Gakai cloudstreaming system. The PS4 will also feature a smart phone app that allows you to purchase games and have them instantly downloaded to your system similarly to the XboxOne SmartGlass app, even while you’re playing. Second screen capabilities are also featured through your smart phone, tablet, or PS Vita.
Ever since Microsoft’s cripplingly unfavorable reveal at E3 back in May, the PS4 has been the fan favorite. And despite the Xbox One’s critical policy changes, the PS4 continues to lead public opinion in online forums. In the commercial arena, the PS4 is leading in pre-order sales by half a million units. Microsoft may have to rely on the strength of its launch and future titles to wrestle ahead of the PS4’s possible lead in the great “Console War” of 2013.
By Alyse Stanely