It's that time again, when the big computer game console manufacturers start publishing details about their newest generation of gaming colnsoles.

Microsoft & xBox One

For Microsoft, the new machine is to be known as the xBox One. Presumably a reference to their intention that the xBoxOne be your main media box under your TV, they want you to plug in your cable box, use it for streaming TV and films from services like Lovefilm etc

Indeed the initial announcement seemed to concentrate a lot on the new media (specifically streaming TV) capabilities of the xBox One.

Sony & Playstation 4

So Sony have followed their convention of previous Playstation generations and simply upped the version number to 4 to reflect the fact it's a fourth generation Playstation, makes sense.
For a while Sony didn't seem to want to actually show off their console, the box that is. At the initial announcement they didn't show one in its entirety at all.

Sony saved the Playstation 4 images for the E3 convention.

Sony seem to be aiming for gamers with their Playstation 4, hardly surprising given it's a gaming console. In comparision Microsoft seem to be pushing the media aspects of the xBoxOne rather more keenly. Perhaps the difference in approach is down to a large number of Playstation 3 owners having bought the machine for the blu-ray DVD player in the unit, meaning Playstation already has a reputation as a media machine.

Which one to get?

It's hard to say which way to go yet, but at the time of writing I'm leaning towards the Playstation 4 over the xBox One.  The Kinect system that is bundled with the xBox One is very appealling, there are other factors that turn me away.

Why Playstation? It's not that the Playstation 4 is 'better' than the xBoxOne, they are both build of very similar hardware. This one is down to Microsoft's announced policies turning me off the xBox One rather than the Playstation 4 being particularly appealing.

What I'm not keen on with xBox One:
  • Requires ability to contact the xbox servers every 24hrs
  • Trading games is to become difficult

xBox One online only

That heading may be slightly misleading, but only slightly. It seems the xBox One will need the ability to contact xBox servers to allow game play. So if your internet connection goes down for 24hrs you can't play games. This seems rather draconian, it'll be a pain for those with xBox One machines in bedrooms with no internet for example. What if your internet connection goes down?

Trading games

Game trading (selling your used games / buying other used games) has been a standard way for gamers to refresh their game collections since home computer gaming was invented! Microsoft want to make this a bit trickier it seems, requiring games be tied to an individual console or account, which I'm fine with (it gets removed from the first console when installed elsewhere). What I'm not so happy with is the notion that when you sell a disc, the purchaser has to then pay a fee to be able to install the game on their machine. 

Rather like EA and their efforts to include a unique key with each game that could only be used once - then the buyer of the used game had to buy a new key if they wanted to play the game. Effectively meaning the second hand game costs nearly as much as new.

Their are rumours that a game can only be sold n-times too before it can no longer be reactivated on another machine.

Playstation 4

Given the info above, in the Playstation 4 vs xBox One battle, the Playstation 4 is leading at the moment [Early June 2013] to get my money come release time (autumn 2013 for both machines). Of course there is time yet for Microsoft to backtrack on some of these announcements before release, which may stem some of the tide of defection from xBox live to the Playstation network. Wait and see. Certainly if Playstation 4 had a bundled Kinect system like the xBox One, I'd be pre-ordering now.

After 6 years of xBox Live use on the 360 and several years on the original xBox before that, I may finally be moving away from xBox Live.

The (exclusive) games to look forward to

xBox One

  • Titanfall : FPS with big-arse mechs
  • Sunset Overdive : zombies, guns and freerunning!
  • Halo
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • Quantum Break : freeze time
  • Dead Rising 3 : more zombie slaughtering

Playstation 4

  • Killzone - Shadowfall : FPS
  • War Thunder - planes, tanks, ships
  • Primal Carnage: Genesis - Dinosaurs!
  • Planetside 2 - FPS, teamwork, strategy

the non-exclusive titles to look forward to

  • Dying Light : Zombie survival
  • Destiny : FPS from makers of the original Halo