There's a fierce battle that's going to take place in just a few months' time. A showdown that gamers have been eagerly anticipating for years. Both Sony and Microsoft will be releasing their next-generation consoles this fall, and with the competition growing more intense each passing day, the showdown between Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will be one for the history books.
Right now, Sony clearly has the upper hand. With a solid reveal, appealing price point, and a whole lot of love from indie developers, gamers are flocking to PlayStation's side. Meanwhile, Microsoft totally botched the Xbox One announcement with poor messaging, a higher price point, and a DRM flip flop that has everyone questioning the company's overall vision. As such, I can totally understand why Sony's camp is a bit larger than Microsoft's at the moment—but oddly enough, I'm still far more interested in the Xbox One.
Now before you bite my head off, just hear me out…
Let's face it, the launch lineup for either platform isn't particularly spectacular, but this is to be expected, as hardware launches rarely ever have a deluge of killer games to go along with them. You may be inclined to throw Infamous: Second Son or Killzone: Shadow Fall out in defense, but neither one of those games is on the triple-A order of something like a new God of War. More importantly, the PlayStation 4's exclusive properties don't really interest me. Obviously that isn't the case for everyone, but I could do without Kratos and Nathan Drake.
So instead I look toward the future. Everything that I am personally excited about on the PlayStation 4 is coming to Xbox One. Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy XV may have been announced at Sony's presser, but they are coming to Microsoft's platform as well. Then there's the promise of more Halo. I know I'm a special case here, but there isn't much more I'm looking forward to than playing as the Chief on next-gen hardware and obviously Xbox One will be the only place to do that. The fact is, I'm attached to certain franchises and Microsoft simply has more of the ones I'm interested in.
But it's not only about the games, after all, you have to use something to control them. I got a chance to use both the Xbox One and PS4 game pads, and while the new DualShock is much improved over its predecessor, the Xbox One pad is superior in my eyes. It has the same general form factor and layout as the Xbox 360 controller, which is a huge win in my book—I'll take staggered sticks over parallel any day. The d-pad is leagues better, and the triggers are as smooth as butter. Microsoft did an excellent job retaining what was great about the 360's control pad while adding a bit of refinement.
The same, however, can't be said for the console itself, as Microsoft has made it clear it wants to try something new. While this has angered a lot of people, I commend MS for daring to try something different. Of course, bad messaging sort of botched the whole reveal and resulted in a major backpedal, but the company is still pursuing the idea of creating an all-in-one entertainment box, and I am totally behind that direction. I don't want six HDMI cables sticking out the back of my TV and a half dozen boxes crammed into my entertainment center. Microsoft is on the pursuit of creating a simple, user-friendly system that will appeal to everyone, and while it may take a little while to realize that vision, I can get behind the pursuit.