E3 Battleground: Xbox One Vs. PlayStation 4

E3 Battleground: Xbox One Vs. PlayStation 4

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (AKA E3) is the single biggest event on the gaming calendar. Not unrelatedly, Microsoft and Sony both chose to unveil fresh details about their Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles at today’s E3, including pricing, release dates and some all-new game announcements. Here’s an overview of what we now know, along with the console we think came out on top…

After nearly half a decade of samey sequels and minor hardware tweaks, Microsoft and Sony are finally preparing to launch brand-new video game consoles at the end of this year. We already covered the chief hardware and software info during each console’s official unveilings — you can check out all the details at our PlayStation 4and Xbox One launch postmortems.

Below are the fresh details from E3 2013:

New Games

Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are much more than just games consoles — you can find out more about what each machine does here and here, respectively. That said, the main reason you’ll be buying one of these consoles is for the games. Here’s a brief overview of what was announced during E3.

Xbox One

One of our criticisms of the Xbox One launch event was the lack of new game announcements — it often felt like Microsoft was selling a multimedia TV entertainment unit that just happened to play video games. The E3 presentation went some way to rectifying this with a brace of new titles unveiled, some of which were completely unexpected. Some Xbox One games we’ll be able to look forward to include Metal Gear Solid 5, Dead Rising 3, a Killer Instinct remake, Sunset Overdrive and Titanfall; the new FPS from the makers of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

PlayStation 4

Considering the number of games that were shown off during the PS4’s launch event earlier in the year, it’s surprising that Sony had anything new to announce at all. Indeed, most of the games it showcased were cross-platform titles or extended previews of stuff we’d seen before but there were still a few interesting reveals. Rain, a spookily atmospheric adventure that reminded us of the 2D platformer Limbo was particularly intriguing. Other new titles included Final Fantasy XV, The Order: 1886, Kingdom Hearts 3 and an action game set in the Mad Max universe.

What does it look like?

Some people couldn’t care less what their video game console looks like while for others it is a major deciding factor. Here’s a closeup look at each console (click images to enlarge).

Xbox One

The Xbox One console, which was unveiled during Microsoft’s official launch event, appears to be modeled after the Kinect motion sensor peripheral with a bit of PVR thrown in for good measure. As we noted at the time, the design isn’t particularly exciting but at least its understated finish should feel at home with your AV gear.


PlayStation 4[clear]

Today’s E3 event was the first time the public got to see the Playstation 4 hardware in the flesh. As expected, it’s another big, black monolith although the slight similarities to the original PlayStation 2 are kind of surprising. Like the Xbox One, the PS4’s industrial-influenced design will be a good match for most home theatre setups.


When is it coming out?

Getting the drop on your competition can work wonders in the console industry — just look at the dominance of the Xbox 360 throughout 2005-2006 for proof. If you’re champing at the bit to get your hands on a brand-new console (and aren’t enthused by the Wii-U), here’s when each console will be hitting stores near you…

Xbox One

The Xbox One is slated to land sometime in November this year, with Australia confirmed as one of the initial launch territories — this means we should be getting it at the same time as the US, Europe and other key markets. Hopefully, Microsoft sticks to its word this time. (The release of its last console was delayed in Australia due to manufacturing shortfalls.)

PlayStation 4

Sony has yet to give hard details on the release date of the PlayStation 4 other than “holidays 2013”. This could be anywhere between November and December, although we imagine Sony won’t want to give Microsoft much of a head-start. It’s entirely possible that both models will hit stores in the same month, which will make this one of the most explosive console wars in history.

Will it support used games?

Xbox One

One of the biggest red flags surrounding the Xbox One involves the infuriatingly vague references to used-game restrictions. Apparently, games will come with unique codes that will limit your ability to off-sell them on the secondhand market. During its E3 presentation, these details were not mentioned once, which is a pretty disingenuous move on Microsoft’s part. What this will mean for the used game market remains to be seen, but anything that hampers your ability to sell something you legally own can’t be a good thing.

PlayStation 4

Sony didn’t mince words when it came to pre-owned games, which is going to be one of the PlayStation 4’s major trump cards if Microsoft goes ahead with its “used game fee” model. Huzzah!

“When [somebody] buys a Playstation 4 game, we believe they have ownership for that game. They can trade in the game, sell it at retail, give it to a friend or keep it forever,” PlayStation’s Jack Tretton said at the event. What’s more, that PlayStation 4 will not require an online connection to play offline games — another chief caveat of the Xbox One.

How much is it?

Unless you’re rolling in money, the price of a new console is a pretty big deal — it’s one of the reasons the Nintendo Wii was so wildly successful despite being technically inferior to its rivals in 2006.

Xbox One

Australian pricing for the Xbox One will start at $599 when it launches in November this year. (In the US it will cost $US499). This is a surprisingly affordable price point compared to previous console releases — indeed, most Australian retailers had gone with pre-order estimations of $899. JB Hi-Fi has since revised its pre-order price to $598 — $1 less than ordering it directly from Microsoft.

PlayStation 4

In the US, the PlayStation 4 will cost $399 at launch — a full $100 less than the Xbox One. In Australia however, the PlayStation 4 will sell for $549. So much for the IT Price inquiry. If Microsoft can get the Xbox One price differentiation down to $100 there’s really no excuse for such a massive markup. Colour us severely disappointed. That said, the PS4 is still $50 less than the Xbox One so it’s not a complete disaster.

The winner — PlayStation 4

While that Australian RRP does rankle, there’s no doubt that the PlayStation 4 left the Xbox One reeling in the aisles at this year’s E3. The games it showed off were more intriguing, the price was lower and the lack of restrictions when it comes to online functionality and used games all point towards a clear victor. Microsoft is going to have to pull off something very special if it hopes to claw back ground in the lead-up to both consoles’ launch.


  • Nice review. Very concise. Ill def be going PS4. Not sure why people would go for the Xbox with all the good difference the PS4 has. But then again that is what brand loyalty is for.

  • Hard to justify going with Microsoft given the similar specs, cheaper price of the PS4 and Sony’s ease of play without online check-ins.
    On a more superficial front, someone get Ive over from Apple to help them design a box that looks like something not out of the 1980s. Still, Sony’s looks slightly nicer than microsoft on that front too.

    • It’ll look better in person. And the PS4 looks a LOT better than the PS3, so I’m good with it

  • I currently own every console of this generation and certainly I like my xbox 360 the best.

    but right now im looking at the PS4 as the more likely first next gen console in my collection. (unless you count the dusty wiiu)
    now all we need is for the ps4 to also be region free like the ps3 and i’ll be very happy.

    as of right now there are no console exclusives that pick the winner. so its all about the ecosystem provided.
    I think xbl is great but I don’t play online much.
    xbla is great but nothing has been said about the next version of it.

    ps4 has no bad points for me other than the lack of the xboxones controller.
    I don’t like the ps3 controller and don’t expect to like the ps4s either.

    however the single biggest draw is being able to play all ps4 games on my vita.
    this is HUGE for my household.

    unless MS come out with something huge like halo 5 AND the next mass effect or something exclusive at launch then its a PS4 for me

  • “When [somebody] buys a Playstation 4 game, we believe they have ownership for that game. They can trade in the game, sell it at retail, give it to a friend or keep it forever,”

    That sentence appeals to me greatly and will probably be the one that sways my decision to buy a PS4.

  • Just to quickly add to the price point bit – the PS4 doesn’t come with the ‘eye’, it’s an additional $59USD (+Australia Tax).
    Assuming you want the motion capture, Xbox comes out a touch cheaper.

    • Good point, but forcing the Kinect down every buyer’s throat is pretty annoying in itself.

    • Xbone is not a working console without Kinect while PS4 works fine without the Eye. Your argument is invalid.

    • So what you’re saying, is that they don’t require you to have a camera ON all the time? SOLD.

    • Yeah but remember the kinect is required to use the console, from how it’s been said, it sounds like the console won’t work without it.

    • If it’s anything like current gen, the eye will be a useless add on anyway while the Kinect is actually useful. I don’t think I’ve plugged my Eye in for about 3 years now, and move is the stupidest things I’ve seen out of any console. I use my Kinect for voice control nearly every day.

      • What happens if your Kinect goes faulty and the Xbone doesn’t detect it lol? Boned console. Gotta head out and buy another Kinect/fiddle with warranty. At least the Eye is an optional extra and doesn’t need to be plugged in for the console to work. That just reeks of privacy issues.

        All arguments against the PS4 and it’s Eye are invalid if you are fighting for the Kinect.

        You’re also comparing the Eye to the Kinect. Eye was mainly for PS2 and is very old and outdated. Microsoft didn’t have anything out like that when the Eye was out. I don’t think the move took off because it was too much of a copy of the Wii, and looked like you were sporting a sex toy.

        Yes, the Move wasn’t great but that was a good few years ago now. The NEW Eye and the new Kinect are what you can base your points on. Don’t compare something that came out in the last year or two to something that came out like 10 years ago.

        It’s obvious from E3 that Sony’s presentation was directed at the gaming community.

        Microsoft’s was directed at home entertainment and gaming and everything else, which is a jack of all trades and master of none.

        Millions of followers of the PS4 can’t be wrong. Sony delivered exceptional news at E3, and Microsoft prepared a next-gen console that would suck the most money out of people.

        Anyone who buys one due to brand loyalty is a total sucker for the Man. Keep giving the Man all your money while he scams you right in front of your eyes lol.

  • they’re both black boxes so why does the ps4 look cool and modern and the xbone look cheap and nasty?

    • Parallelograms are cool and irregular pentagrams are evil? 🙂

      To be honest, I think the PS4 does look better. Flip the One over, and it looks exactly like an old-fashioned video cassette machine painted black (I’m not joking, have a look at the VCR page on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Videocassette_recorder). Don’t flip it over, and it looks exactly like the drawers they used to sell to store VHS tapes in. Either way, the One screams early-90s to me.

      • I have a hunch that maybe since Microsoft seems to be sucking the money out if as many people as they can, then perhaps they are trying to appeal to hipsters maybe?

  • I love my Xbox 360, but Sony have won this round on by a mile.

    That said, I don’t think I’ll be buying a console this round. PC gaming is in a great place at the moment…

    • I was in a rush and it gets the job done. Lightning bolts! [Coughs and walks off sheepishly]

  • I’m intrigued by the lack of focus on specs – I think that’s the other thing the Wii and the 360 achieved (and Apple has probably chipped in as well). The PS3 was the technically superior machine in terms of hardware, and it lost (more or less). It made a few mistakes in the lead-up, and never made back the ground it ceded.

    All-in-all, Sony looks to be on the verge of pulling a bradbury.

    • The PS3 was theoretically more powerful but was a wildly different architecture, and it became very hard to make use of that power in cross-platform titles without a great deal of expense and effort. The PS4 and Xbone share (almost) the same architecture (largely shared with PCs too) so more or less the same code can run on both. Moreover, techniques like tessellation enable that power to be easily accessed simply by ratcheting up the level of detail.

  • I’ve always loved the Xbox controller, and have always hated the Playstation controller. But given the other key differences in favour of the PS4 this generation, I might just have to switch over and get used to it.

  • PS4 will not include “the Eye”. This is one reason for the major price difference. It will come as an add-on for an additional $59. Microsoft’s Kinect comes included. So with all the additional features for TV integration and the eventual inclusion of TV DVR, it might make up for the extra $40.

    • I think the TV DVR requires an additional box for the xbone. I would expect Sony to also have the same box, as they already have PlayTV for the PS3.

  • I would join the Sony bandwagon, but i just can’t get over the controller. If multiplayer was F2P i may be swayed, but it isn’t anymore, so i’ll probably end up sticking where my roots lie, with the Xbox One (mainly because used games and internet connections are nothing of a problem for me).

    • I always said the same thing. I had tried PS controllers at friends houses, stores, ect and just couldn’t get on the PS bandwagon because I disliked them so much. I had the 360, played in on daily basis (mostly the call of duty series) but received a PS3 from a family member as a gift.
      Fast forward to now, and I absolutely LOVE the controller. Even if the pro/cons were switched for the next gen consoles, I wouldn’t be able to go back to the big, bulky xbox controllers with little analog stick play and low battery life.
      Use the controllers for an extended period of time and I guarantee you would change your mind. That is, unless the next gen ones are totally different of course…..

  • Sony has easily won this time, it’s great they got rid of that arrogant attitude they had throughout the PS3’s life
    This new humble PS4 Sony I like

    I think Nintendo will still trump both Sony and Microsoft with their games, as they always do

    • I know people love Nintendo games but they have to compete with first and third party games with Sony and M$, unless the Wii U starts doing better. Still, if you’re a fan, you’re a fan

      • Of course, and the Wii U’s 3rd party dev support is even worse than the Gamecube’s

        Also Nintendo played it too safe, didnt show enough new games, not enough surprises
        They’re going to have it tough this generation

        I wont buy a Wii U

  • They both look ugly but I think the PS4 wins in that. I have heard that it is also faster and can do more things at once. I will have to go with the PS4. We shouldn’t need to pay for Xbox live but their controllers are better. Even though the Xbox 360 was better than the OS3, thing are now the opposite. And I don’t know much about the PS VITA, so what is it like and is it worth buying? BOTH CONSOLES NEED TO BRING BACK THE OTHER COD’s!!! Especially MW3!

  • “…but anything that hampers your ability to sell something you legally own can’t be a good thing. ”

    Just like I can with PC games????? Oh that’s right you can’t.

    It’s game developers pushing this not hardware makers.

  • I had the orig Xbox, I had the orig PS, I have the 360 and I have a PS2… As much as I like the Xbox I will not be buying the Xbox One but instead I will be buying the PS4.

    The main reason being that the Xbox One has that stupid check-in crap, we are not criminals so why should we have to report to parole officers? I should be able to play offline games offline so sorry M$ I wont be going with your console this time. not unless you make much needed changes 🙁

  • Have we heard anything about watching and recording TV via the PS4 yet?? Kinda like a PlayTV but built-in…That’s how I’ve been watching my TV for years now and if that ain’t on it I may have to make the switch the the world of Xbox

  • as a casual gamer who spends majority of time surfing the web and watching tv. Xbone seemes like a good choice. A single home media center for all my media needs. Reason I’m thinking of getting XBone. Unless PS4 does the same thing. Anyone?

  • Man the physical appearance of these consoles don’t really give off the vibe that they are made to play games. They look more like entertainment centres that are supposed to camouflage nicely in to your TV unit… no likey! They are supposed to be fun!

    • It’s from the Gizmodo image archives — I think it’s origin has been lost to the mists of time.

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