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Reaction: PS4 vs. Xbox One - Moving in Different Directions

Posted by Sammy Barker

Apples and oranges

Thirty minutes. That’s the length of time it took Microsoft to actually bring out a game developer to discuss games during its Xbox One games console reveal. Prior to that point, the manufacturer had gabbled on about television, music, and more. It wasn’t necessarily out of character – the Redmond-based company has been edging ever closer to the all-encompassing media box for several years now – but it wasn’t entirely what we were expecting. We always figured that entertainment would factor heavily, but never to the extent that it did.

And it serves to highlight a growing disparity between Sony and its closest competitor. While the PlayStation 4 unveiling earlier in the year was all about the games, the Windows creator largely glossed over them. It wasn’t until 35 minutes into the organisation’s conference that we got our first glimpse at an actual piece of software – an in-engine technology demonstration from EA Sports. There was then a brief pause for a Forza 5 trailer, some live footage of a new property from Remedy, and before long we were being introduced to a Steven Spielberg directed Halo television show.

Contrast that to the PlayStation Meeting, which opened with a buoyant Mark Cerny – the creator of Marble Madness, no less – bouncing onto stage to the tune of Crash Bandicoot’s soundtrack. The system architect may have warbled on about hardware specifications in the same incoherent manner as Yusuf Medhi did entertainment, but it all came back to one thing: games. And the Japanese giant backed that up with live demonstrations of Killzone: Shadow Fall and Watch Dogs, as well as lengthy footage of DriveClub, inFAMOUS: Second Son, and Knack. It even rolled out indie legend Jonathan Blow, a sign that it’s coveting smaller developers just as closely as the giants.

Microsoft, for its turn, promised 15 exclusives would release on the Xbox One in its first year on the market, eight of which will be brand new franchises. It revealed one of those, Quantum Break, a new game from Alan Wake developer Remedy – but it was hard to get a feel for the title from a live action trailer. Microsoft, of course, has the benefit of E3 being right around the corner, where it will supposedly point the spotlight back on games. But it’s pretty telling that the company opted to largely ignore the core pillar of its platform during the system’s initial unveiling.

In fact, when you look back on the reveal, it’s shocking just how little entertainment of the interactive kind actually factored. Its biggest announcement by a country mile involved some kind of collaboration with the NFL that will result in improved fantasy football features. Not once did someone walk on stage with a controller and play a video game – we’re still not convinced that we could tell you what a title on Microsoft’s new system will actually look like. Even the vaunted first reveal of Call of Duty: Ghosts – a title also coming to the PS4 – spent more time on footage of motion captured dogs than actually showing some solid, traditional gameplay.

Of course, that’s not to say that Microsoft’s new console isn’t going to sell by the bucket load – particularly in its home region. The company delivered a 60 minute case study on North American consumer tastes, with guns, sport, and the most mainstream of entertainment brands all factoring heavily. And yet, nothing it demonstrated necessarily tickled our fancy. Does voice recognition remain an exceptional party trick? Sure. Is instantaneous channel hopping neat? You bet. But none of these things get the gamer inside of us pulsating. Regardless of whether you feel that Sony missed the mark with its own press event, at least the Japanese giant attempted to do that.

And it simply highlights that these companies are moving in drastically different directions. The PS4 is a gaming machine that will function as a media box also, while the Xbox One is a media box that will also function as a gaming machine. It may be the case that both consoles more or less converge once we’ve seen the full picture, but the snapshots that we’ve been offered couldn’t paint a more disparate picture at this point in time. We’re intrinsically biased, that’s transparent for the world to see – but truthfully, we know which philosophy we prefer. How about you?

What were your impressions of the Xbox One reveal? Were you surprised by Microsoft’s overwhelming focus on entertainment? How has it changed your perception of the PS4? Let us know in the comments section below.

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User Comments (40)

Scrible

#2

Scrible said:

Is that the actual xbox, they blew there load to soon in my opinion, what's left for them now

Savino

#3

Savino said:

Well, at least, now it is easy to stack them up and build a house when those three little lights make their return!

Gemuarto

#4

Gemuarto said:

Dog part shows how really stupid industry have become.

And that guy from the photo looks like King of the Rats, with all due respect.

Xbox go home - best frase of the show.

I hope Sony and Nintendo will lead gaming in this generation. Because I'm tired of american wind which blows over game industry.

LDXD

#5

LDXD said:

Wow is that what the Xbox 1 looks like? If so that's horrible and the name xbox 1 wtf ??
@Gemuarto I completely agree with you

Stuffgamer1

#6

Stuffgamer1 said:

"The company delivered a 60 minute case study on North American consumer tastes, with guns, sport, and the most mainstream of entertainment brands all factoring heavily."

I would appreciate it if you didn't insult my tastes like that. :P

Seriously, I'm American, and Microsoft's show was absolute garbage. Factor in the online requirements and unclear used game situation, and you've got a console nobody with a brain would want.

Snorky

#7

Snorky said:

It's going to sell a bucket load in it's home region. On the other hand, from it's current showing it would be a tough sell in Japan.

irken004

#8

irken004 said:

@Snorky The word around the web sounds like no one is warming up to the system, particularly if they find out about all the confusion regarding constant internet connections and used game fees.

BornOfEvil

#9

BornOfEvil said:

@Stuffgamer1 Same here, dude. I'm American while I love me some shooters, I don't want to drown in them. And sports aren't really my thing - I'll play some basketball, wrestling and UFC games from time to time. But for the most part, they don't really interest me much.

Jaz007

#10

Jaz007 said:

Me and my freind had quick chat through texting earlier, I told him what was revealed, (I have PS3 and he has 360, he has been considering PS4 a lot more than Xbox One though.) we both decided we weren't getting it pretty quickly, with the used game block at the center of it.

get2sammybAdmin

#11

get2sammyb said:

Didn't mean that sentence regarding NA consumer tastes to come across as derogatory — I know it paints an unfairly broad picture. However, point stands — it's clear which market Microsoft's after.

rjejr

#12

rjejr said:

Nice read - its like you took all my earlier posts and combined them into a coherent essay ;-) (Mostly on NL today.)

I wouldnt put too much emphasis on 1 reveal. At last years E3 Sony spent way to much time on Wonderbook, which is practically non-existant, yet PS3 is fine. Nintendo opened with Pikmin 3 which still wont be out for a few more months. Its a 1 hr. unveil, which showed the big ugly system, which Sony didnt. Does thst mean the PS4 wont have a console?

Im not buying 1, probably ever, but A LOT of gamers said they would never buy a Wii (Wii, not WiiU) and it was the #1 selling console last gen. MS may be onto something.

Ps4all

#13

Ps4all said:

@get2sammyb I live in North America, I would say that comment is accurate, I personally love sports and fps games and star trek. However my heart belongs to sony for their more or less straightforward approach to the consumer. I feel like they honestly believe that making their customer happy is the way to suceed. I feel like microsoft would charge for air if they could.

Gamer83

#14

Gamer83 said:

I'm actually surprised so many people expected game after game for this, I really didn't. Now, I certainly didn't expect them to take what seemed like for-freaking-ever to get to its first game reveal, but with the way MS has handled all things Xbox lately, I figured this would just be, show the console, show a game or two, focus on features. Especially being this close to E3, I think MS was saving the majority of the games for that conference and I think it's the right call.

This show did nothing to win me over to their side, as it stands I'm still more excited about PS4, but looking at it strictly from a business stand point MS' major market is casual North Americans and I think they're hitting all the right notes for that crowd.

Gamer83

#15

Gamer83 said:

@Scrible

Games, and they'll have them. Most may be multiplats with a few getting timed-exclusive DLC. But lets be honest, the best selling franchises on Xbox and PS with the exception of Halo and Gran Turismo are multiplats. Whichever company is able to sign more deals with third parties probably sets itself up better in the long run.

Marcus09

#16

Marcus09 said:

Xbox one? Why one? They considered the first 2 failures?? Apparently we agree on that!
And they took all this time to go with THIS design? A perfect rectangle? It looks like a shoe box. Well, Microsoft, you should name your next console (if any) Xbox Zero.

Zombie_Barioth

#17

Zombie_Barioth said:

@get2sammyb
Unfairly broad, but sadly its also pretty darn accurate. Us American's seem to have an almost scary way of living up to these stereotypes, and surprisingly those kind of games even appeal to people serving in our nation's military.

I play them from time to time myself but my tastes generally lean towards whats popular in Japan, so I usually stick to Sony and Nintendo. Thats actually my main problem with Sony right now, they've been pushing western-style games lately so you can't just pick-up their console expecting JRPGs and the like anymore.

charlesnarles

#19

charlesnarles said:

@Dosx001 there's a meme, for you lol

What were they thinking? It looks like a knock-off. It sounds like its merely a cheaper smartTV. It reeks of Windows 8 architecture, too. All this AND slower memory access? Big fat no thanks.

Azikira

#20

Azikira said:

WATCH TV ON YOUR TV WITH THE NEW XBOX!!

Wait, if we have internet, doesn't that mean we have cable too?

fchinaski

#21

fchinaski said:

I'm impressed with how little importance was given not only to game releases, but to everything related to them. Will physical copies still be the main form of distribution, or will MS focus more on digital releases? Will the games run at 1080p with solid framerate? How much of those 8G of RAM will be sucked by the integrated system and how will it affect the games themselves?

And I agree that it was massively oriented to the American market. MS played it very safe with all that sports/cars/CoD stuff (which leaves me cold, BTW, since I couldn't care less for any of those).

Up to now, there's not a single reason to buy one for me.

rastamadeus

#22

rastamadeus said:

I can sum everything we know up in five simple words: so far, it sounds poop. As I said last week Microsoft will be last this gen.

Ginkgo

#23

Ginkgo said:

I know I am missing something with XBox TV thingy, but I already use my PS3 as a HD set top box and recorder with Play TV, plus I stream TV on demand. What is it doing that is so special/interesting that we cannot do already? It not like you can plug cable TV directly in the back (unless I has missed something). So it take an HTMI input? Big deal. Seriously, have I missed something?

get2sammybAdmin

#24

get2sammyb said:

@rastamadeus I'm not one to disagree with your Nostradamus-esque predictions, but I do think the box looked very mainstream. I can see it selling very well.

chazaroonie

#26

chazaroonie said:

It will sell well in the US because it's Microsoft but honestly if I want a sky box I'll get sky. What is wrong with a games console focussing on games? Isn't thatthe whole point? I totally agree with the article, it just didn't make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, it didn't set any pulses racing.

hydeks

#27

hydeks said:

I know alil kid that great at art that could make a better system and controller design in about 10 minutes ¬¬ Seriously, PS4 and Wii U is where it's at, that xbox looks freakin; ugly :P And the features, especially the kinect needing to be plugged in to play the system, and the games needing to have a fee for used games, makes me hate this stupid machine. I hope Sony and Nintendo NEVER follow in Microsoft's footsteps.

Eviil

#28

Eviil said:

Excuse me but you need to redo this article. AMD themselves announced on their Facebook that the Xbox one has a custom AMD APU for the xbox, not their own created CPU and isn't the first time it has had a product for their hardware like their older sister Ms. 360

"AMD Gaming
The Xbox One is here, and it’s being powered by a single-chip, semi-custom APU co-developed by AMD and Microsoft. "
Source:https://www.facebook.com/AMDGaming?hc_location=stream

||||Xbox 360 also has ATI graphics Radeon.|||

rjejr

#29

rjejr said:

@rastamadeus - are we talking US or worldwide sales? My initial reaction was you were way off, but then it dawned on me Microsoft - ie Xbox360 - was last this gen (latest numbers I could find Wii 99 PS3 77 Xbox 76 million) so why wouldn't it be last next gen also? Though it will probably win US.

My biggest issue right now (which may be true, o rnot, depending on what MS is saying at any given moment) is 1 game per ACCOUNT. My family has 4 accounts on our PS3 - 1 per person - and if each person had to pay to play a game? That's beyond anti-piracy, that's just frakin' nuts. And mandatory install would be a real big pain if you have to wait 20 minutes before you can start to play any game. They are going way out of their way to make this thing annoying. They should have just done away with discs entirely. But even then, 1 account per game? Nonsense.

Also, maybe it's not big in the EU, but everyone keeps talking about Gamestop and "used" games. I'm not a huge Gamestop fan, but I RENT a lot of games from both Redbox and Gamefly. I haven't seen a single article use the term "rent". Not one. That could be a problem, even in the US, with a Redbox on every corner.

KALofKRYPTON

#30

KALofKRYPTON said:

@rjejr 1 game per system is closer. You'll be able to share the content on several accounts on one system, and log in on another system and play the same game. But another account on the 2nd system (as in, the owners') would have to pay to use the content.

Suggest everyone have a read of the Eurogamer articles comparing known hardware, and MS stance on publishing to xbox live. It's turning in to a fridge nuking for MS.

MadeHero

#31

MadeHero said:

UMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM?????????? am i mistaken, but didn't the Playstation 1(one) come out 13 years ago (2007) to be exact??? WTF shouldn't that be a cardinal rule, not to steal a part of your competitors name, kind of makes it look like you want to be them?? Right?

PlayBox

#32

PlayBox said:

Of course, as this is a playstation website, many of the commenters are biased. Of course, being an Xbox fan, I shall be biased a bit too, but I would like to make a few points. Does the design really matter? OF COURSE it looks ugly, but it is functional. The could have made it all pretty but the simply chose not to, it isn't like it is going to affect the system or anything. I would buy a turd if it played video games. Also, E3 is right around the corner! Of course they wouldn't announce that many games. Their focus was to beat the PS4 in media, not games. What if the exclusives for PS4 have all been announced, and when E3 is here nobody remembers the PlayStation and the Xbox is on everybody's mind. Also, Microsoft HAS to see all of this complaining, and they could make a different version whenever they want. Guys, it is still an Xbox, it still plays video games just as good as a PlayStation 4, with a little added media. Just because it wasn't TALKED about doesn't mean that it won't be happening.
Also, Made Hero, it was just called the PlayStation, not PlayStation one.

doctor_doak

#33

doctor_doak said:

I don't like anything about it, which I don't think is something I could say about any other console in previous history. Being Australian, a lot of that multimedia stuff is irrelvant because a fair amount of it won't find its way to Australia anyway. XBox is definately no longer a gaming console, it's a Home Entertainment device, and that's fine...I mean, Microsoft have a good idea of what their demographic does with their consoles and a lot of these changes reflect that...but as a gamer looking for a GAMING machine, it holds little interest for me.

Aside from the anti-consumer approach, I couldn't justify spending money on one, because of that bundled kinect. That's not a freebie...it will add to the overall cost...money which could have been spent on at least matching PS4's system specs. I have no interest in kinect, but I can see why they've done it, because they've made it so central to this 'home entertainment' experience they're pushing. It's just not for me..

FullbringIchigo

#35

FullbringIchigo said:

yeah just PS4 and Wii U for me this Gen i think, the xbox one seams to be concentrating on everything but games

ans the fact you have to connect online once a day while not as bad as an always online system it's still a bit of a pain

rjejr

#36

rjejr said:

Here's a little sobering reality. My adult sister, who owns a Wii (no U), and I consider to be a fairly smart hard-working individual who's a VP at Viacom, sent me this email after the X1 news:

"This looks awesome. No more Apple TV right?"

When you can get a reaction like that out of middle class adult Americans, who have also been drinking the Steve Jobs kool-aid for the past 5 or 6 years, well you are doing something right. Stealing Apple's thunder is something MS has been trying to do for years now.

I'll probably talk her out of one, but the truth is, outside of the "gamer community" there are people who liked the unveil. The X1 may turn into the next Zune, but the response wasn't all bad.

Gamer83

#37

Gamer83 said:

@rjejr

I still expect Xbox One to be huge over here despite what Sony and Nintendo fanboys want to think. I'm going with PS4 myself but I'm not delusional, polls, reaction by the IGN and Gamespot communities, etc, none of it means crap. PS3 has dominated polls and other stuff on gaming websites for years now with nothing to show for it in sales. This won't be any different. PS4 will outsell Xbox One in Japan, obviously, and it'll likely have the edge in Europe, but until I see something different, I fully expect it to lag significantly behind each of the other two consoles in NA and that will pose a problem for Sony because it means they'll be running dead last again, by a distant margin, in what is still (though it probably shouldn't be) considered the biggest market.

Reverend_Skeeve

#40

Reverend_Skeeve said:

Where I surprised by the media focus? No, sadly not. I thought they would at least show some more games, but I wasn't surprised 'cause MS has been focusing more and more on mediaservices and less on games. Having an Xbox 360, this was already painfully obvious.

So the reveal just reconfirmed for me that I'll be going with the PS4, since I want a GAMING system, not a mediabox that listens to everything I say and can stream everything happening in my living room to a MS server where I don't know who'll see it and what will happen to it.

Besides, since I live in Germany, most of the stuff they showed wouldn't be available here, even if I was interested. The technology was impressive, though. And I do believe that the X1 will be massively successfull in America.

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