If you’re just jumping into this console generation, you may be wondering: PlayStation 4 or Xbox One? The answer: PlayStation 4, obviously. Between its more substantial list of games you can’t play anywhere else, support for VR gaming and its ease of use, there’s no question: the PS4 is the superior console. Here’s why.
(Don't agree? See this counterproint on why the Xbox wins.)
While the Xbox One has Halo 5 and Gears of War 4, Sony’s 2017 is filled with exclusive titles, including Nioh, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Persona 5, Uncharted: Lost Legacy and NieR Automata. Not enough? We’re looking forward to Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man project, Detroit: Beyond Human, God of War 4, Death Stranding, Days Gone and The Last of Us: Part 2, which are in development exclusively for the PS4.
The Xbox One S can play 4K Blu-rays, but only the PlayStation 4 Pro can play games in 4K. Not every game in the back catalog supports 4K (developers are working to make some older games compatible, but most future titles will simply work on both the PS4 and PS4 Pro). Xbox does have one trick up its sleeve: the upcoming Scorpio is expected to play games in 4K, but you can’t buy that right now.
Even if you don’t upgrade to the Pro, you’ll still get better performance on a PS4 than an Xbox One. Most developers have managed to get their games running at full 1080p on PS4, but the same games often play at 900p on Xbox One. That detailed has persisted from launch up to this year’s games: Mass Effect: Andromeda, for example, is expected to run at a lesser resolution on Xbox than PS4.
The PS4’s slants are nice, but it doesn’t have much competition. The original Xbox One is a monster (and it doesn’t help that it has a bulbous power brick laying around — the PlayStation 4’s is internal). While the One S is a little smaller, it only comes in white (with the exception of special editions) and is just as boxy and uninspired.
Sure, the Xbox One has HDMI passthrough so you can control your cable box, but if you have a PlayStation 4, you don’t need cable. Instead, you could subscribe to PlayStation Vue, our favorite cord-cutting aid with options starting at $40 a month for live TV and sports and more expensive options for premium channels, HBO and Showtime. It’s probably cheaper than your cable bill is now.
The PlayStation 4’s menus are dead-simple to navigate. Most of it is moving side to side or up and down. The Xbox One’s mash-up of Windows 10 and the year-old Blade menu is a mess, with sidebars popping out every which way. The PS4 also makes it easier to share screenshots and videos to Facebook and Twitter with a dedicated Share button on the controller. The Xbox doesn’t have a dedicated button and shares primarily to Microsoft’s OneDrive service.