What’s more powerful, the Xbox One or the PS4? We’ve been arguing that question since before Microsoft and Sony had told us anything about either console. With both machines in hand, the upshot seems to be that PS4 has an on-paper hardware advantage, and we’ve seen that borne out to different degrees in launch titles like Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts. As one might expect. Microsoft isn’t so sure how important it is. The differences are “marginal,” says Australian Vice President of Retail Sales and Marketing Alan Bowman, via Gameplanet:
“We’re optimistic about this generation as well. We’ve got a unique value proposition, and from just a pure specs perspective it’s always gonna be fairly marginal difference. The purists are gonna argue the toss, but I think it comes down to the games. You’re gonna see great exclusive games on Xbox One, and when you look at the cross-platform games, and there’s gonna be exclusive content on Xbox One.”
I tend to agree — as I’ve written before, the most important thing here is that both systems look and feel “next-gen.” So long as the Xbox One is above that bar, any difference that needs a number attached to it will mostly only concern hardware purists, the purest of which head to PC anyway. PS4s better resolution on launch games does in fact look better, but I can’t see that making the big difference in the years to come. I’d argue that Ryse: Son of Rome is the best looking next-gen exclusive at the moment, specs aside.
The “it’s about the games” line is industry standard, and as we can see from systems like the 3Ds, good software can drive a huge amount of hardware sales. Some of the time. As I’ve said before, I actually don’t think that holds as true in the Xbox One vs. PS4 fight. Both of these systems are bound to have similar libraries driven mostly by third-party publishers. Sure, we’ve got Halo and Uncharted coming up this year, but by and large the most buzzed about games in the industry are multi-platform.
So if games aren’t as important, we’re left with one notable difference: the PS4 costs $100 less. More than specs and more than exclusives, that lower price will continue to drive the market well into the next holiday season. For those who care, the spec difference is just icing on the cake.
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