Be sure to read all about what Xbox One does better than PS4 right here.
After starting out with different feature sets and capabilities, Microsoft and Sony have both updated their latest home consoles to a point of homogenization. But that doesn’t mean we’ve reached exact parity.
The PlayStation 4 still does some things better than the Xbox One, and Microsoft’s box has an advantage in a few areas as well. They may both sell for $400 and play all the games from publishers Electronic Arts, Activision, and Ubisoft, but we’re gonna take a look at each device and find the areas where one system bests its counterpart. First up, we’re going to check out the areas where the PS4 outswaggers the Xbox One.
Let’s get right to it.
This is the big one for a lot of people. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One both feature the same basic processors from graphics-chip company AMD, but Sony’s device is consistently getting better results in multiplatform games. This is for two big reasons. The PS4 uses faster memory than the Xbox One, and Sony’s hardware reserves less processing power for its operating system.
We’ve seen games like Battlefield 4 and Trials Fusion run at higher resolutions, framerates, or both on Sony’s system.
While this is an advantage for Sony now, Microsoft is also beginning to find parity here. The upcoming multiplatform sci-fi shooter Destiny from Halo developer Bungie was originally going to run at a lower resolution on Xbox One than PS4. But Microsoft recently updated its box to take some processing power away from the Kinect motion-sensing camera and give it to the rest of the system. Bungie now says it will get Destiny to full 1080p resolution on both systems.
For now, however, Watch Dogs, Thief, and Murdered: Soul Suspect all look better on Sony’s system.
Sony has the PlayStation 4, but it also sells the PlayStation Vita dedicated handheld. This enables the company to combine the two to let you play PS4 games on your Vita. This works over a network so you can even do it outside of the house — although it works best when both devices are on the same network.
This works great for a number of games, but a few have issues since the Vita and DualShock 4 controller for the home console don’t have the exact same buttons. Still, this sort of thing isn’t even an option for the Xbox One.
Microsoft and Sony are both courting indie developers. The ID@Xbox program enables anyone to self-publish their own games, but this hasn’t stopped the PS4 from gathering an early advantage when it comes to the indie games it offers compared to Xbox One.
PS4 started out with games like Contrast and Super Motherload at launch, and it has built up its offering of smaller games each month since. In March, PS4 got the four-player fighter Towerfall: Ascension. In April, it got the weird physics puzzler Octodad: Dadliest Catch. In May, it got action role-playing game Transistor.
Sony’s indie advantage is likely due to a hustle among its developer-relations team who are doing a lot to get small teams to release their stuff on the PS4. It’s also because the Sony’s terms are fair. While Microsoft now enables developer to self-publisher through ID@Xbox, not everyone loves the program because it requires studios to sign a release-parity clause. This mandates that developers release their games on the same day on Xbox One as they do on PS4. While that’s typically how things shake out, it might not in every circumstance. Developers may finish one version and may have to hold it back while they continue working on the Xbox One release.
Both consoles include the capability to livestream your gameplay. PS4 offered this right from its November launch, and Xbox One got it earlier this year. But Xbox One only has Twitch as an option. While that’s great for most people, PS4 gives players a choice between Twitch or Ustream. It seems like most people prefer Twitch, but it’s still good to have the choice.
Preloading digital games
The new systems offer nearly every game digitally through their online stores. This is a convenient way to get games, but it’s never fun to buy something at midnight of the day it launches only to have to wait four hours for it to download and install.
Sony is in the process of getting rid of this. The company is introducing the capability to preload preordered software on PS4. It started already with Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark, which debuted earlier this week. Players could buy that game digitally and install it on their system before it was officially out. Then, on its release day, the game unlocked.
All PlayStation 4 games that go on sale for preorder on or after May 20 are capable of preloading.
The Xbox One doesn’t have this yet. Microsoft says that the feature is on its update roadmap, and it will get to it in the future. For now, if you preorder Destiny digitally on each system, you’ll only get to play the PS4 one right as it unlocks at midnight.
While both Xbox One and PlayStation can livestream video, only Sony’s system is capable of quickly taking a screenshot. Gamers can use the DualShock 4’s Share button to grab an image of the screen at any time. They can then use that button to quickly share it to social media.
This is another feature that Microsoft says it is working on. A Twitter app is coming, and Xbox boss Phil Spencer said the capability to say “Xbox, take a screenshot” through Kinect is coming in a future update.
Built-in controller headphone jack
Finally, the DualShock 4 controller comes with a built-in audio jack. This enables players to hear all of the system’s sound through the headphones of their choice without having to go out to buy anything extra.
You can do the same thing on Xbox One, but you have to buy a $25 peripheral that sticks out of the bottom of that system’s gamepad.
This makes the PS4 ideal for gaming quietly late at night.