Keen video gamers will be looking forward to a gaming fest over the holiday period, and there are two new systems for consumers to choose from. The Xbox One S has been available for a little while now, and the Microsoft console will compete against the new PS4 Pro system, after the much awaited Sony device reached the public domain.
But which one of these two systems should gamers opt for? Here ValueWalk assesses the relative merits of the new Sony and Microsoft consoles.
Graphics and resolution
The PS4 Pro undoubtedly has the edge in the ever critical graphics department, with the console able to render in a higher resolution and also utilize extremely sophisticated and intelligent upscaling. While both consoles offer 4K output, the reality is that this is slightly misleading, as the PS4 Pro and Xbox One S handle this in different manners.
Microsoft’s Xbox One S can output in 4K, but this is achieved via upscaling. With 4K resolution obviously being four times the resolution of traditional HD, this means that the Xbox One S stretches pixels across four on a display device. While the PS4 Pro may not be capable of displaying 4K resolution for all games – for example, Skyrim has already been ruled out of 4K – the Sony system uses a nifty approach to ensure that the upscaling process is improved over the Xbox One S.
The ‘checkerboard rendering’ included in the PS4 Pro ensures that upscaled 4K content is extremely close to native resolution. However, a mark against the new Sony system is that it is reliant on developers to enable so-called Pro mode; based on an additional line of coding in its software. This means that older games in the library of the PlayStation 4 will probably not be upgraded to support the additional extra power of the PS4 Pro.
Nonetheless, Sony’s system comes out on top here.
The PS4 Pro and Xbox One S have been blessed with excellent exclusive titles, although it should also be stated that the number of multi-platform games is larger than at any previous time in console history.
Gears of War has been an excellent exclusive series for Microsoft, making a strong comeback with Gears of War 4, while the Forza Series continues to go from strength to strength. Halo 5 also performed well for Microsoft, and another feather in the cap of the Xbox One S is the excellent backwards compatibility of the system.
Which exclusive titles one prefers is very much open to personal preference, but it does seem that the PS4 Pro has marginally superior games at present. Exclusive titles on the Sony system include the critically acclaimed Uncharted 4 and The Last of Us from Naughty Dog, while the likes of Bloodborne and Ratchet and Clank are also rated as stellar releases.
It will be disappointing for PS4 Pro consumers, though, that a Gran Turismo title has yet to emerge in this video game generation. While Driveclub is a pretty decent racing title, particularly when coupled with virtual reality, it doesn’t have quite the cache of the Gran Turismo series, nor Microsoft’s Forza. The Xbox undoubtedly benefits from better racers at the time of writing, and many PS4 Pro players will be eagerly awaiting the release of Gran Turismo Sport.
With the majority of the biggest games appearing on both consoles, it is very difficult to separate the two in his department, and preference will also become down to personal choice.
Movies and media
Both of these consoles are theoretically capable of streaming 4K content, but many will find that their Internet connections are insufficiently fast in order to achieve this. Nonetheless, with broadband speed increasing, it should be feasible for increasing numbers of people to access this functionality.
It is perhaps somewhat surprising that Sony has declined to include a 4K blu-ray player in the PS4 Pro, particularly as the DVD drive was such a big selling point in the PS2. The Xbox One S Ultra HD Blu-ray player may therefore be attractive to some consumers, but Sony probably realizes that the long-term future of movies is streaming, particularly following the success of Netflix.
However, those wanting the most options to watch their movies will undoubtedly opt for the Microsoft Xbox One S.
As would be expected considering its relatively reduced specifications, the Xbox One S is the more affordable of the two consoles. With a price tag of $349, the Microsoft device is significantly cheaper than the PS4 Pro, while it also crams in the 4K drive. However, we may see both consoles discounted significantly over the holiday season, so it is worthwhile to keep one’s eyes open for a discount deal at this exciting time for consumers.
There is no doubt that the PS4 Pro is the more powerful of these two systems, with Sony delivering a console intended to be a significant step up over the previous generation. In many ways, the PS4 Pro is intended to be a companion device for the PlayStation VR headset, and early reports on the collaboration between these two devices have been extremely positive. Indeed, those gamers intending to get the full PlayStation VR experience should undoubtedly opt for the PS4 Pro.
Games on the PS4 Pro undoubtedly look better than on its Xbox One S rival, but the latter delivers the better media playing experience. This is perhaps appropriate, as Sony has attempted to market its console as one particularly attuned to the needs of gamers; as evidenced by its ‘For the Players’ marketing.
Pricing will also play a part in purchasing decisions, with the additional $50 required for the PS4 Pro certainly a negative factor. However, those wanting the ultimate gaming experience delivered via consoles at present will undoubtedly opt for the PS4 Pro. The baton will now be passed to Microsoft, with fans of the Xbox range eagerly awaiting the release of the much vaunted Xbox Scorpio.