For those anticipating bringing home a console bundle of joy this holiday season, the decision between PlayStation 4 and Xbox One is more than a coin flip and less than a clear choice. With holiday hours extended for Christmas Eve this year, there's still time to ponder once more upon each console before putting one under an evergreen tree.
Form and looks are a matter of taste. But an unbiased observation of the two consoles highlights the Xbox One's power brick, which the PlayStation 4 does not have on its power cable.
The Xbox One's case is about 10 percent bigger, along with the power brick, it could be quite a consideration. Especially when working with an entertainment center that's already populated with boxes bedazzled with blue and green LEDs.
Although, it is important to note that the Xbox One's bulkiness helps it breathe, which is important to the life of a console. That's especially true when its exhaust is bottled by the walls of an entertainment center.
Power and Performance
Not much precipitated from Microsoft's early talk of enhancing the Xbox One experience with calculations from the company's Azure cloud servers. Earning Sony the edge when it comes to local hardware capacity and management.
Microsoft and Sony both opted for x86-based hardware this generation. That architecture, which is standard for PC, allows the two consoles' specs to be compared apples to apples.
The Xbox One has the edge in CPU, but the PlayStation 4 is ahead in GPU power and that matters more. It's also observable in multiplatform games, which tend to run a step faster and smoother on Sony's console.
All told, benchmarks have put the PlayStation 4 ahead of the Xbox One with 50 percent more processing power. But the Xbox One is by no means a weakling, and like the PlayStation 4, it's exclusive games makes it worth owning.
This holiday season has seen the greatest lineup of games in Xbox history, Microsoft proclaimed going into this fall. That statement might be true, but what's for certain is the console has had a solid slate of games released this fall and several of them have been warmly received by gamers and critics alike.
Hot titles to hit the Xbox One this holiday season included Rise of the Tomb Raider, the follow up to the critically acclaimed series reboot, and the latest entry in the system-selling sci-fi series, Halo 5: Guardians.
Meanwhile, Sony has admitted that the PlayStation 4's lineup was lackluster this holiday season. A Sony exec admitted it near the end of the shopping season that the company has been facing delays in delivering games and content this year.
In the fall, Sony had the cinematic Beyond: Two Souls and a whole lot of multiplatfom games. Next year, though, is promised to be a good one for PlayStation 4.
Sony has a strong lineup of games on the horizon, but so does Microsoft. Some of the most promising PlayStation 4 exclusive titles include Horizon Dawn, an RPG set a millennium after civilization collapses; No Man's Sky, a sci-fi title that challenges players to trek to the center of the universe; Street Fighter V, a game about turning opponents into rag dolls; and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, the conclusion to the popular action/adventure franchise.
Plus, Sony plans to launch its virtual reality headset, the PlayStation VR, in 2016. It appears its first games will be a mixed bag of meh and memorable.
Big Xbox One games on the horizon include Crackdown 3, one of the few games to lean on Microsoft's Azure cloud servers for some intricate physics; Cities: Skyline, a city builder; Quantum Break, a game in which the protagonist has the power to still time around himself; and Cuphead.
Not to say Microsoft's imagination-inspiring Hololens is the company's response to PlayStation VR, but the company will undoubtedly attach the augmented reality headset to the Xbox One to some degree.
Photo: Mark Farrell | Flickr