Xbox One vs PlayStation 4

I recently sold my Xbox One S and purchased a PlayStation 4. I realise there are a bucket-load of reviews and comparisons between the two consoles with power and spec and gameplay, but I thought I would add my tuppence to the pot as to why I swapped and what the differences are for an everyday consumer.

I've always been an Xbox guy. Actually, scrap that, when I was a kid I saved up a huge sum of £50 to go halves on an original PlayStation with my brother. It was so original it was just called a PlayStation - not even a PS1. I've still got it, in fact, and sometimes get it out to play some original games.

In my twenties I purchased an Xbox 360 Slim. From there I bought an Xbox One and eventually upgrading to an Xbox One S. For the last 8 years or so, I've been an Xbox guy. It was a big step moving across from Microsoft to Sony, so how do they fair?

Breakdown #

As with all "verses" blog posts, I've broken down the comparison into different categories and declared a winner for each.

Controllers (Winner: Xbox One S) #

Straight off, the Xbox controllers are more comfortable. Much like Xbox, PlayStation relies on the left stick to control the character or car you are in charge of, however, you are required to reach across the controller to use this on the PlayStation. The Xbox joysticks are in a much more ergonomic position.

For the first few days of playing PlayStation, I had pains in my hand from having to stretch so far and, in some cases, had to stop playing because of this (first world problems, I know). 4 weeks down the line, however, and my hand seems to have adapted to this new position.

Despite this, I will still stand by that the Xbox controllers are better.

Games (Winner: Draw) #

A lot of the games between the two are the same, most game manufacturers release games on multiple platforms. There are a few differences and a couple of games that I miss. Sony's PlayStation seems to be more geared towards story adventure games - Unchartered, Horizon Zero 4 and Spiderman. Xbox has got the monopoly on racing games - the ones exclusive to PS4 don't compare anywhere near to the Forza franchise. However, most platform exclusive games have a counter-part on the other side.

Cross-platform games like FIFA and GTAV are identical. The controls & gameplay are, as far as I can tell, exactly the same. For that reason, the games are not a reason to switch on their own.

Apps (Winner: Draw) #

Non-games apps were as important to me as games themselves. Both consoles have Netflix, Plex, Now TV and All 4 and, once in the app, behave the same between them.

The Xbox One does also have a TV tuner if you purchase the hardware, which made it an all encompassing solution (more on that in the Media Centre section). As we can watch everything we want to on both - this section is also a draw.

Media Centre (Winner: Xbox One) #

We had fully integrated the Xbox into our entertainment system at home. We weren't just using it for games but for our TV and streaming too. We purchased the Xbox One Media Remote along with the TV Tuner. The Xbox One is able to control your TV - turning it on and off with the Xbox power via an infra-red blaster built into the console. It can also control your TV's volume - meaning you only need one remote control from the get go.

For a complete media centre solution, the Xbox wins hands down. The UI is more intuitive and the remote is much better - with the Xbox controlling the TV. The remote that you can buy with the PS4 is essentially a universal remote, with bluetooth connectivity for the PS4. It's a bit clunky for switching between TV and PS4 and isn't quite the smooth experience they make it out to be.

The internet claims you can use a Sony TV remote for your PS4, by controlling it through ARC HDMI. It works perfectly well until you enter an app such as Netflix. Once you do, there is no way of going "home" without using a complex navigation menu system. The PS4 remote has the PlayStation button allowing you to return.

The PS4 is also lacking a TV tuner, meaning the TV remote is required when wanting to watch television.

With the PlayStion's tagline being "For the Players", it's no surprise the media side is lacking.

Conclusion #

So with Xbox winning 4-2, why did I switch? The answer is two-fold, friends and games. Although a lot of the games are cross-platform, the exclusives on the playstation appealed to me. The Xbox games started following similar patterns and I was only playing GTAV. I wanted a new catalogue open to me, with new challenges.

I also have more friends with PlayStations than Xboxes. Online is better with friends, and so moving to PlayStation was a social reason too (the 4k on the PS4 Pro is so much better than the Xbox One S).

The Verdict #

If you're thinking of buying one of these consoles, there really isn't a "better" one. It all depends on your situation. My opinion is:

  • If you're not looking for media centre capabilities, and want better storied games - go PlayStation
  • If you want an all-round console which can be an entertainment system and good games - go Xbox
  • If you have loads of friends with a particular console - copy them

Footnote - from my wife #

As mentioned, we used the Xbox as our main entertainment system, our lounge TV and so changing from Xbox to PlayStation was a big change for my wife. As someone who doesn't "game", her use is purely from the entertainment side of things. Below are her comments on the change:

  • She prefers the look of the interface of the Xbox
  • The remote control & integration was better with the Xbox
  • The featured/trending TV shows on the PlayStation gets a thumbs up

Have you made the switch? What do you think?

Mike Street

Written by Mike Street

Mike is a front-end developer from Brighton, UK. He spends his time writing, cycling and coding. You can find Mike on Twitter.