Playstation 4 Review

PlayStation 4
Created by: Sony
MSRP: $399.99

It’s the holiday shopping season, and the war has begun. Microsoft and Sony have been squaring off against one another for the last eight years, with Sony’s PlayStation 3 console just barely edging out the Xbox 360 in terms of raw numbers sold. Microsoft’s grip on North America is strong, but Sony has a much more powerful global presence. So, naturally, the arrival of both the PS4 and Xbox One consoles this year is to be viewed as something of a battle of the titans; two companies enter, one company leaves.

The truth is far less dramatic. Sony will sell millions of consoles and games. Microsoft will do the same. And while fans are drawing lines in office meeting rooms, on playgrounds, and via the Internet, both consoles will likely have long and prosperous lives. If you’re still deciding which console is best for you, the biggest factors to consider are likely prices and the potential library of games.

The PlayStation 4 lands just under the Xbox One, priced at $399 instead of $499. The price difference is largely due to the PS4 not having or requiring Kinect. Launch games, which tell us very little about consoles, are either cross-platform (Assassin’s Creed IV, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4) or good but not great (Killzone: Shadow Fall, Ryse: Son of Rome). Sony, however, has Naughty Dog on its side (Uncharted, The Last of Us), and Microsoft has 343 Industries (Halo). In the end, the decision is yours to make.

The PlayStation 4’s DualShock 4 is by far the best controller Sony has ever designed. It’s the first real step forward in PlayStation controllers since the original console, and is a much-needed upgrade to a controller that was inefficient and not very comfortable. It’s a bit heavier, a bit bigger, and amazingly responsive. It has motion control support. And it features a small touchscreen. The battery life suffers for the upgrades, but the controller is among the best in the business.

So how does the PS4 stack up to its competitor? It’s a smaller box, for one. And while the PS4 doesn’t have the mixed-media capabilities of the Xbox One, it offers more processing power and more innovative controller. Over the console’s lifespan, developers will be able to get more out of the PS4 than they will out of the Xbox One. Think of it this way: Sony is targeting the PlayStation 4 at people who play games, while Microsoft is targeting the Xbox One at people who like watching television. Neither is wrong.

Sony’s PlayStation operating system has been overhauled from the ground up. It’s much more similar to the Xbox 360’s dashboard, with large tiles and a graphics-based interface. The old XMB was all about information; this one is about aesthetics. The menu system is convoluted and needs streamlining, but Sony has done what it can to build something that looks and feels different from the Windows 8-themed Xbox One OS.

As with all systems, what will sell PlayStation 4 units is games. Sony has a wide range of third party support and should be able to maintain its grasp on the console market as long as no major hardware issues erupt and Microsoft doesn’t have some sort of top secret ace up its sleeve (a Halo-level phenomenon, for example). PS4 is a great system – one that looks like it will get better over time.