GamesBeat

Xbox One vs. PS4: What Microsoft's console still does better than Sony's

Sony and Microsoft head-to-head at last year's E3.

Above: Sony and Microsoft head-to-head at last year's E3.

Image Credit: GamesBeat

Be sure to read all about what PlayStation 4 still does better than Xbox One right here.

The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 both have a ton of the same games. They both cost $400. They both can livestream gameplay video to the web. Really, it’s hard to see how one is all that different form the other.

Well, we’re gonna show you how one is better than the other. Yesterday, we looked at what the PS4 still does better than the Xbox One, and now we’re going to run through the features that are better on Microsoft’s machine.

Let’s get to it.

Television

OK. This may not matter to you, but the fact that I can plug my cable box into my Xbox One is still a pretty cool feature. I may not use the Xbox One’s channel guide, but I do ask Microsoft’s box to “watch ESPN” on a regular basis. It quickly tunes me to the sports channel. I can then instantaneously jump back to my games whenever I want with a voice command or the press of a button.

Just having my gaming console and my television on the same input reduces the friction in the process of starting up a game. If my wife gets on a call with someone, the Xbox One makes it no big deal to switch back to Trials Fusion for 10 minutes. When she’s done, I can get us back to the show in no time.

Oh, and when it’s time to shut down. I can shut everything down with one command of “Xbox, turn off” and then a confirmation that will power down the console, the TV, the audio receiver, and the cable box.

PlayStation 4 just doesn’t even have this kind of stuff as an option because it doesn’t have an HDMI in. It does have some limited ability to control certain television through a special kind of HDMI connection, but that’s not even close to the same thing.

Kinect, voice commands, and app switching

A lot of the coolest parts about the TV stuff is due to the Kinect. Having voice control to turn on the TV, something I’ve found myself trying to do with other TVs that don’t recognize voice, is great when you walk into the room and can’t immediately find the remote. Yes, sometimes it doesn’t work, but it does work enough of the time — and it’s getting better.

In the system itself, voice commands make pausing video, muting, and more a snap.

Talking to the Xbox is also the fastest way to get from one app to another. “Xbox, go to Twitch” will immediately launch the video program no matter where I am in the system. Even better, “Xbox, start broadcasting” will engage my livestream.

PS4 has the Share button, which includes some of these features, and it doesn’t have a slow interface for switching between games and apps, but it feels a bit sluggish compared to the instant response of Xbox One’s Kinect.

Resume games quickly

When they introduced their new-gen devices, both Sony and Microsoft made a lot of promises about providing instant access to everything on your system. In fact, each company promised that gamers could play a game, turn off the system, and then restart the game once they powered back up to continue in the game as if nothing ever happened. Right now, only the Xbox One can do this. It’s called “Resume Games Quickly,” and it’s in your “Power & Startup” options in the settings menu.

You may not realize how great Resume Games Quickly is until you use it. No retracing your steps from a check point and no leaving the system on overnight because you don’t want to lose your progress.

Sony says this feature is still coming, so this is one of those advantages that probably won’t last.

Twitch integration

The PlayStation 4 gives players the option to livestream their gameplay action to Twitch or to Ustream. Xbox One gamers don’t have that choice, but they instead get a Twitch app with slightly better integration. The Xbox One can “snap” apps while you’re gaming. This means that players can snap the Twitch chat to the side of the screen while still playing on the other. Xbox One players can see the chat while still streaming in full screen.

If a PS4 streamer wants to see the chat, that will also show up in the feed on Twitch or Ustream as well.

Controller battery life

Sony’s DualShock 4 is an excellent controller. It feels great, it has a touchpad, and it has a built-in audio jack — it also runs out of battery pretty quickly. The Xbox One doesn’t have some of those features, but it also has much better battery life. It also uses AA batteries again, which means you can just always have some rechargeable Duracells ready to go when you do run out of juice.

With the DS4, once it’s dead, you have to get out the long USB cord or just give up for the night and let it charge.

Frequent updates

Finally, Microsoft’s Xbox One update schedule has seen the console get a number of major upgrades every month. The company even has a program where gamers can volunteer to test out monthly updates before they go out to everyone. Through this process, Microsoft added support for external storage, real names, and Twitch streaming.

Sony is updating the PS4 a ton as well, but it’s patches are less frequent. This makes it feel like if Xbox One is lacking anything — like preloading digital preorders — Microsoft will get to it sooner rather than later thanks to its update schedule.


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