Well, with the press conferences headed up by the big three being done, it’s worth seeing who looks like they’re come out ahead when all of the next generation consoles are out to the public. I’ll say this right now. If you think I’m wrong, that’s fine. I’m just starting the conversation. So, will it be the PS4, Xbox One or Wii U that will come out ahead?
All of the systems are beautiful in their simplicity. But in terms of the compactness of the system itself, the Wii U is the most compact. So if you want to save the most space, the Wii U will be right up your alley. Compactness with power, you’ll probably prefer a PS4.
Each console has a great gamepad. Nintendo’s Wii U gamepad is pretty innovative due to the immediate second screen functionality, surprisingly comfortable and allows a lot of control possibilities within all aspects of the console. The PS4’s gamepad is simple and familiar while adding in enough changes to be new and have an enhanced and shared gaming experience. The Xbox One gamepad just looks more comfortable to hold and use.
A/V Output components
For the sake of adaptability, the Wii U wins this hands down. Part of the reason is the fact that it still doesn’t necessarily need a HDMI component to be able to be used. Both Xbox One and PS4 use HDMI, meaning you might need a new TV if your current one doesn’t have an HDMI port.
In terms of specs, the PS4 is the most powerful. Luckily for Microsoft, the only places they noticeably lag behind the PS4 is in the RAM and GPU. Meaning graphic rendering should be smoother on the PS4 while also having just a bit more graphic fidelity. Hard drive storage space is also a good thing to know. The PS4 and the Xbox One will have a 500GB internal hard drive. The PS4 hard drive will be user replaceable.
Second screen function
With the Wii U, it’s the gamepad. You can cover some gameplay elements, but you can also do remote play streaming games directly to the gamepad. Xbox One and PS4 seem to be doing similar things with Smartglass and the PlayStation app, but the PS4 also has the PS Vita that can be utilized for streaming remote play as well.
Each platform has a lot of good looking content coming out. Any of it might be a system seller if it’s done right. It just depends on what you’re looking for in terms of exclusive games.
The Wii U wins this by being backward compatible with the both games and peripherals. Factor in the virtual console, you’ve got access to at least 26 years of games from Nintendo. Sony will be backward compatible via streaming once Gaikai is up and running. Xbox One has no backward compatibility.
Region Locking and release
PS4 is region-free and will launch world wide. The Wii U is region locked but is available world wide. The Xbox One falls flat, even after doing away with the region locking. The reason is that, even though it’s region-free now, they’re still going through with a regional rollout release. It’s a tactic that really only works if you’re the first to market and if you’re fairly inexpensive if you aren’t the first. Importing could possibly tack another $100 onto the price depending on taxes and international shipping rates where you live, and that’s if you’re not getting a bundle or any games. And unless publishers just make a lot of assumptions, chances are the games would have to be imported too, possibly pushing the prices of a single game up closer $80 if you’re just getting the standard edition.
Policies and PR
Sony’s policies and PR were the strongest. There’s no DRM, though that is limited to first party titles at the moment. No needing to check in every 24 hours in order to actually work as a game console. Microsoft was the big loser here. Though the policy reversal seems to appealed to more consumers, there’s still something that currently sets it back. And that’s the fact that while reversing controversial, unpopular, and in some cases and areas potentially illegal policies, Microsoft ended up throwing out some of the really interesting features, like the Game Sharing Library. And either way, to do away with the questionable infrastructure, you need to hook up to the internet when you get it to patch the system. If you don’t have a reliable Internet connection, you might be buying a console that won’t work the way it should anyway.
This really depends on what you want. Personally, I’d say that the PS4 offers the biggest bang for your buck. Sony just seems to have the most planned. Xbox One, the question remains if the thrown out features might end up affecting the availability or quality of the console specific programming or sports features that Microsoft has lined up.
As much as I like Xbox, I just don’t see the Xbox One succeeding. At least not right away. It’s not because the system’s bad. Specs and content-wise, the system is fine. Microsoft’s policies would’ve likely been what killed the console rather than the console itself. Even with those policies reversed, Microsoft’s removing features that could easily be utilized for digital games and the regional rollout will stall their success. Still, with the policy revision, now there can be a race for first between Sony and Microsoft.