The Console Wars – Sony’s Three Hit Combo That Just Knocked Out Xbox

by Tim Batt
I played Paper Boy on this machine, and I was happy. You bloody kids with your X-Stations.

I played Paper Boy on this machine, and I was happy. You bloody kids with your X-Stations.

A big fat South African taking on a fresh-faced 21 year old wasn’t the only showdown this week. At a little gaming event/nerd fest called E3 Sony stepped into the next generation console ring and smashed Microsoft with a three hit combo so god damn powerful, I’m not sure that the Xbox One will be able to walk out of the building unaided. Here’s what happened:

RIGHT HOOK: The Playstation 4, which has similar (though slightly better) hardware than the Xbox One will cost $100 less than the Xbox One at launch. In New Zealand the PS4 is weighing in at a very tempting $650 with a 500GB, user-replaceable hard drive. The Xbox One will be $750.

LEFT HOOK: The PS4 will not require online validation. The Xbox One needs you to connect to the net once every 24 hours. Microsoft claim this is so game developers can use their cloud computing power to do things like provide lovely graphics and advanced AI beyond the capabilities of each individual machine; The only problem is the PS4 does this too without the check in requirement.

(Bonus: see this guy from Xbox ruin himself when asked what people without reliable internet should do)

UPPER CUT: PS4 second hand games can be traded, sold, bought and gifted without Sony dipping their grubby mitts in at any stage. Unlike Microsoft. There are conflicting reports on what Microsoft is going to end up doing but early comments from them stated a second hand fee would be payable to play a game not associated with your account. In other words, on an Xbox One you’ll pay for the second hand game disc and then pay a fee AS WELL to Microsoft to get that copy of it to work on your machine. Not so for the new Playstation.

The end of 2013 can’t come soon enough – bring it on you two!

Tim runs semi-weekly podcast on gaming and gadgets called Tech With Swears available in iTunes


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1 comment

Steve June 13, 2013 - 8:35 am

Other points:

Online gaming on the PS4 will now require a paid PSN+ subscription. (Given that PSN+ has been my primary source of “free” albeit “slightly older” games for the past year, I heartily recommend it though). About $90/year IIRC. Not so different from Xbox Live Gold, but with more “free” stuff.

Neither device is backwards compatible with the prior model, so either folks will need to have both a PS3 & PS4 or 360 & One, or go without their legacy titles. That said, Sony will supposedly make some PS3 titles available via online streaming somehow, suspect it would require starting from scratch if you have existing saves, but as a PSN+ subscription backs up saves to the cloud – who knows,

DRM on the PS4 can optionally be enforced by the publisher, most major publishers (e.g. Activision, EA) will almost certainly embrace this as they have done for the PC already. I’ve not seen any mention as to what this DRM would entail, but I suspect it will be activation-code-in-the-box based. DRM on the 360 is also “optional” but I don’t expect (m)any publishers to opt-out. The online-every-24-hours is enforced regardless though.

Both devices can be used as DVR’s, although how much (if any) of this functionality works in NZ remains to be seen. The HDMI input on the PS4 might be handy for this somehow.

The Xbox One is “always on” watching, listening and learning. It will also have Skype built in (a feature MS have not implemented on the 360, presumably primarily to add another checkbox to the One’s feature list)


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