I’ve always been a gamer, from Pacman-like sneaking avoiding teachers while skipping class in secondary school, to Need For Speed type car chases outwitting LASTMA. 12 am on Boxing day would meet me wide-eyed and awake waiting till we’d be done with daily devotion so I could open my presents searching for the latest Sega, Nintendo or Playstation console. I remember the year I got the PS2. I tore open the package and screamed with joy. Of course, the scene would then cut to the window and we’d see the real me looking in to see if my rich kid friend had got the console for Christmas. Good times.
This year though, we have some major improvements in gaming. Sony and Microsoft, the industries two giants have released new consoles. The Playstation 4 from Sony, and Microsoft’s Xbox One. The two consoles, both to be unveiled this holiday season, have claims to the biggest development in gaming history. Here’s the 411.
The Xbox one is slightly higher priced at $499 to the PS4’s $399. Cheaper does not mean inferior however as the PS4 is toting some pretty heavy hardware under the hood.
They both boast 8GB of ram memory. The difference lies in how it is implemented. PS4 goes with higher bandwidth GDDR5 Ram which allowing game developers to put an insane amount of detail and size to in game environments(We’re looking at you GTA V). Xbox One goes with the slightly faster but smaller bandwidth DDR3 which packs a punch but not as much as the PS4’s.
PS4 boasts a single chip x86 8-core Jaguar AMD processor at 1.84 Teraflops per second against the Xbox One’s custom built 8-core AMD CPU running at 1.23 Teraflops per second. The speed difference how ever is unlikely to be noticeable except in games with a high level of detail.
The two devices feature redesigned gaming pads. Notably, the Xbox One decide to go for a rechargeable inbuilt battery rather than its previous choice, AAA batteries which had players grocery shopping a bit wierd. The PS4 also revolutionized it’s pad design by swapping the start and select buttons for a touchpad. Sony also hopes to introduce DualShock 3 technology which will combat the Xbox controller’s dominance in shooting games like Call of Duty and Battlefield.
Microsoft claims improvements in Kinect’s motion tracking technology will make for smoother game play in Kinect controlled games. Playstation has upgraded the Playstation Eye to duplicate this functionality in the PS4.
Sony and Microsoft shocked users worldwide by declaring that both consoles would not be backward compatible. A features so common in past consoles it is taken for granted. Games designed for past generation consoles would not play on the new versions. Manufacturers state that the difference between the underlying architectures is too great and so backwards compatibility will be impossible to implement. Playstation however says that gamers may be able to stream some older games from their servers. In this part of the world, we should expect no such thing as current network speeds would prohibit it.
Microsoft dominated online gaming in the past with its Xbox Live service. Xbox Live’s was robust and reliable performance outshined Sony’s Playstation Network which had a rather nasty habit of getting hacked once in a while. Sony’s buyout of cloud based gaming service Gaikai may however even the playing field.
Xbox One launch games include exclusives like Ryse: Son of Rome, Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5, Killer Instinct, LocoCycle and Kinect Sports Rivals while PS4 exclusives include Killzone Shadow Fall, DriveClub, Knack, Diablo 3, Watch Dogs, and Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag. In the past title exclusivity has proved to be more of a tipping point than price. Gamers can heave a sigh of relief as the highly anticipated Call of Duty: Ghosts will be available on both platforms.
All in all, both consoles have strong points, though I’m personally biased in the PS4’s direction as I do love me some Assassin’s Creed. We’ll have to wait until release dates to see how sales figures prove which is the more successful console.
Written by Onodje Daniel