PS4 vs. Xbox One 2015: Which Console Is Right for You?

Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4 are constantly evolving, each adding new features and exclusive titles in a bid to take over your living room. The Xbox One offers a wealth of entertainment options and now plays a bunch of Xbox 360 games, while the PS4's excellent sharing capabilities make it easy to show friends your favorite gameplay clips — and even virtually hand your companions the controller for a little while

The Xbox One and PS4 have grown to have wide libraries of great games, and with both systems starting at $350, it's never been a better time to embrace gaming's latest generation. But which console should you choose? We've put the Xbox One and PS4 up against each other in a seven-round brawl to determine which system is strongest.

Game Library

The PS4 and the Xbox One both offer a large selection of excellent games in just about every genre. Many of this generation's best titles are on both consoles, from third-party blockbusters such as Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and The Witcher 3 to charming indies like Shovel Knight. Most sports games come to both systems, though Sony's MLB: The Show series is exclusive to PlayStation.

As of Fall 2015, Xbox One seems to have a bigger emphasis on first-party exclusives, with big titles such as Halo 5: Guardians, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Gears of War: Ultimate Edition headlining its current lineup. PS4 has a few big first-party games such as Until Dawn and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, but Sony has mainly focused on pushing third-party titles such as Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Destiny: The Taken King, both of which have PlayStation-exclusive content. Of course, there are plenty of highly anticipated titles on the way for both platforms, including Sony's Uncharted 4 and Microsoft's Quantum Break.

Even though the two systems have similar current-gen game libraries, Xbox One has one major ace in the hole: backward compatibility. Over  100 Xbox 360 games are currently playable on Microsoft's new console, including Mass Effect, Fallout 3 and the entire Gears of War series.   Microsoft plans on rolling out support for new Xbox 360 games every month, meaning most of your old games should work on the Xbox One sooner or later. Sony recently confirmed to Wired that it's working on making PlayStation 2 games playable on PS4, though specifics on the feature are currently scarce.

MORE: Here's Every Xbox 360 Game You Can Play on Xbox One

If you want to play older games on PS4, your only current option is to pay for PlayStation Now, which allows you to stream a small library of PS3 games (including hits from the Batman: Arkham, Assassin's Creed and Uncharted series) from the cloud for $20 a month, or on an a la carte basis. In contrast, Xbox One is the exclusive home of EA Access, which lets you play an ever-growing library of EA games for $30 a year or $5 a month.

Sony's wider ecosystem of games is tied together more tightly thanks to Cross Play, which lets you purchase select games once and play them across your PS4, PS3 and Vita platforms. Microsoft is looking to grow a similar ecosystem across Xbox One and Windows 10 with cross-compatible games such as this fall's Fable Legends and Gigantic as well as next Spring's PC version of Killer Instinct, but we won't know how well those titles work across platforms until we get our hands on them.

Winner: Xbox One. Both consoles have excellent game libraries, but Xbox One's robust first-party offerings and backward compatibility with Xbox 360 games give it an edge.


You shouldn't judge a game console solely on how sexy a plastic rectangle it is, but the PS4 is the clear winner in the looks department. The 6.1-pound system's matte-black finish and sleek, angular design are as easy on the eyes as they are on your backpack, and it's the only one of the two systems that can be propped up vertically, with a $20 stand.

While still attractive, the Xbox One is, well, more of a big, black box. The system's top panel is half-glossy, half-matte — a pattern that's reversed on the front of the machine to create a subtle checkerboard effect. Weighing 7 pounds and measuring 13 inches wide, the Xbox One is a bit harder to transport and will take up more shelf space than the slimmer, 11-inch-wide PS4.

Both consoles start with 500GB of storage, which will fill up fast considering how many games take up upward of 50GB on your hard drive. Fortunately, both consoles support expandable storage. Xbox One has the advantage in this department, as you can simply plug in any USB 3.0 external hard drive for more space. On PS4, you'll have to open up your console and swap in a new 2.5-inch or SATA drive.

The Xbox One controller is a lighter and more ergonomic version of the Xbox 360 controller, with flatter, snappier face buttons and glossy bumpers at the top. For the hardcore crowd, Microsoft offers a $150 Elite Wireless Controller, which features built-in soft grips, swappable thumb sticks and d-pads, and fully remappable buttons.

PS4's cozy DualShock 4 controller has more special features than the standard Xbox One pad, with a front-facing touchpad, motion-control capabilities, a built-in speaker, and a light bar at the top that changes colors based on your battery level or the game you're playing. The PS4's DualShock 4 supports micro USB charging right out of the box, whereas you'll need a $25 charging kit for the same functionality on the original Xbox One controller.

MORE: Best PC Games Right Now

Both consoles support interactive webcams that differ a bit in terms of functionality. Microsoft's $150 Kinect lets you utilize voice commands, play gesture-based games and show your face when streaming to Twitch. The more affordable $60 PlayStation Camera doesn't have the Kinect's more robust voice command options or larger library of motion-based games. But like Kinect, it lets you log in to your system via facial recognition and can be used as a personal webcam when broadcasting gameplay. Neither camera is essential to having a good time on either console, but both offer their share of neat features. 

Winner: PS4. Sony's new console is more attractive, with a controller that offers more functionality out of the box.

Performance and Graphics

If you're concerned about nuts and bolts, both of these graphically muscular machines have an 8-core x86-64 AMD Jaguar processor with 8GB of RAM, an AMD Radeon GPU and a 500GB hard drive. Both consoles support expandable storage: the PS4 via its swappable SSD drive, and the Xbox One via just about any external USB 3.0 storage drive.

While games generally look and play great on both systems, PS4 has the edge in terms of resolution. For example, games such as Batman: Arkham Knight and Shadow of Mordor all run at full 1080p on PS4, while Xbox One gamers have to settle for 900p on those titles. Metal Gear Solid V and Star Wars Battlefront run at only 720p on Xbox One, while PS4 handles those titles at 1080p and 900p, respectively.

However, smoothness and resolution don't necessarily go hand in hand. For example, the Xbox One version of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare jumps between 1360 x 1080p and full 1080p based on how hectic the on-screen action is. According to Digital Foundry, this allows the game to stay at a smooth 60 fps more often than can the always-1080p PS4 version.

The difference between 1080p and 900p will matter to some gamers and not to others. However, if getting the best possible crispness for most games is a priority, PS4 comes out on top.

Winner: PS4. Games look stunning on both systems, but PS4 offers better resolution for many titles.

Interface and Streaming

The Xbox One's latest interface, dubbed the New Xbox One Experience, brings a completely revamped, Windows 10-powered look and feel to Microsoft's console. The Xbox One interface sports large icons for easier navigation, shortcuts for getting to your games quickly, and, perhaps most notably, features a new guide that lets you reach your friends, notifications and messages with a single button-tap. You can snap select apps to the right side of the screen while you game, something useful for when you want to watch football while playing some Halo.

The PS4 interface is similarly slick and is still king in terms of capturing gameplay moments and sharing them with friends. A quick tap of the DualShock 4's Share button brings up a menu that lets you record a clip, broadcast your gameplay or take a screenshot. And the PS4-exclusive Share Play feature lets you give control of your game to an online friend for up to 60 minutes, so long as that person has Plus.

Both consoles can broadcast gameplay directly to Twitch, though PS4 is the only one of the two that can also stream to YouTube. PS4 players can share their screenshots and videos to Facebook, while Xbox owners can share their clips to Twitter.

Both systems also permit off-TV play, for those times the family is hogging the living room. Sony's Remote Play feature lets you stream PS4 games to a PlayStation Vita handheld or select Xperia devices, while people on Windows 10 can stream their Xbox One titles to their laptops or tablets.

Winner: PS4. Sony's system continues to have more-intuitive options for broadcasting gameplay and sharing with friends.


For sheer options, Xbox One is the superior entertainment machine. One of the system's key distinguishing features is its ability to transmit your cable box's TV signal, allowing you to quickly switch between playing a game and watching a show. It can also snap your TV feed to the top right of the screen so you can do both at once.

If you have Kinect, you can flip through channels via voice commands and see what shows are trending via the OneGuide app. I've personally experienced occasional moments of display lag when watching TV through my Xbox One, but I appreciate being able to switch between games and TV without reaching for my television remote.

Other than that, both PS4 and Xbox One cover most of the essential popular streaming services. Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube and Amazon Instant Video are available on both systems, as are more-niche apps such as WWE Network, Crunchyroll and NBA Game Time. Xbox One adds access to network apps like HBO Go, Fox Now, CW and Comedy Central, and you can even stream media from any DLNA-enabled device in your home.

Even if you're not using their myriad of channel-specific apps, both the Xbox One and the PS4 have made it easier to cut the cord. PS4 now offers Sony's own PlayStation Vue online TV service (starting at $50 a month), which features lots of major cable channels, such as MTV and Nickelodeon; a slick interface; and a nearly limitless DVR. You also get local affiliate channels, which means you can enjoy prime-time hits, as well as local news and sports. However, the service is currently limited to Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

MORE: PlayStation Vue Online TV Review

Xbox One owners have access to Sling TV, a similar online TV service that offers top networks such as ESPN and AMC for $20 a month, with add-on packages that bring in the likes of Epix and HBO. Even if you don't have cable or Sling, Xbox One now has the ability to receive basic over-the-air live TV, as long as you have a separate antenna and adapter handy. Microsoft's console is getting a built-in DVR in 2016 via a software update, which will allow you to record over-the-air TV and watch your shows on Xbox or any Windows 10 device.

While Xbox One leads the TV front, the PS4 is the only console of the two to offer the most popular music service out there: Spotify. Xbox One does offer apps like Pandora and its own Groove Music, but Spotify's PlayStation app has the unique ability to keep playing in the background and blend seamlessly with whatever game you're playing.

Winner: Xbox One. PS4 has Spotify and PlayStation Vue, but the Xbox One offers more ways to enjoy TV, with or without a cable subscription.

Online Experience

Microsoft's Xbox Live Gold ($60 yearly, $10 monthly) and Sony's PlayStation Plus ($50 yearly, $10 monthly) online services are both required for you to play any game's online multiplayer mode, and both come with their fair share of extra goodies.

PlayStation Plus members get two free games per PlayStation console per month, while Microsoft's Games with Gold provides the same service for Xbox gamers. Both programs have given away everything from new indie games to older blockbusters from franchises like Assassin's Creed and Metal Gear Solid.

The value of each of these free-game programs largely depends on the hardware you own; PlayStation Plus covers PS4, PS3 and PS Vita, while Games with Gold applies to Xbox One and Xbox 360. The free games offered by either service will remain in your library for as long as you're subscribed to Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus.

Both services offer frequent discounts on digital games, and both provide cloud storage in different capacities. PlayStation Plus provides 10GB of cloud storage, whereas all your Xbox One saves are backed up to the cloud regardless of whether you have Xbox Live Gold.

Even more important than free games and cloud storage is online stability, an area in which Xbox Live's reputation is better. You can generally game online on both consoles without many hiccups, but the PlayStation Network has suffered some pretty infamous outages.

Winner: Draw. PS4's online service offers a wider range of free games and can be had for cheaper, but Xbox One has better cloud storage and online stability.


The Xbox One and PS4 are now more attainable than ever, each starting at $349. Naturally, there is a plethora of special bundles available for either console, all aimed at gamers of different budgets and tastes.

The starting $349 Xbox One includes a 500GB hard drive and a controller and can come bundled with your choice of Gears of War: Ultimate Edition or the LEGO Movie Videogame. Paying $399 will get you a 1TB console, and you can get a $499 config that includes a Kinect camera and a handful of games. If you're especially hardcore, you can opt for the $499 Elite Bundle, which includes 1TB of storage, faster flash storage and Microsoft's modular Elite Wireless Controller (which is otherwise sold separately for $149).

Similarly, the starting $349 PS4 includes 500GB of storage and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection. If you want a 1TB PS4, your only current option in the United States is to pick up the special $429 Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 edition of the PS4 that ships with a copy of the game.

Both systems ship with all of the peripherals you need to get started, though the fact that the default PS4 controller is rechargeable rather than battery-powered will save you some cash down the road.

Winner: Draw. With both consoles now starting at $349, the real winner of this round is your wallet.

Bottom Line

Microsoft's Xbox One is our overall top pick, but only by a hair. While the PS4's superior hardware and sharing capabilities deliver a more user-friendly experience, the Xbox One's robust first-party game lineup, backward compatibility and rich entertainment options make it the more versatile box.

The two consoles are both available at an attainable $349, but there are plenty of other factors to consider when choosing between the two. The Xbox One still offers more ways to watch TV, but with its growing PlayStation Vue service and exclusive Spotify app, the PS4 has plenty of entertainment muscle.

Xbox will continue to be the home of Halo, Gears of War and Forza, just as PlayStation will host Uncharted, God of War and Infamous, so your choice might come down to your favorite exclusives. Your decision also might be as simple as which platform your friends are already playing on, because, let's face it — nobody wants to play Destiny alone.

Both Xbox One and PS4 have a healthy lineup of stellar games, making anyone who buys either of these consoles the real winner. But overall, the Xbox One is our current favorite.

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  • XBL is a much more reliable service than PSN, PSN is constantly down. I would actually give the online experience to XBL.

    Hardware wise, PS4 is more attractive, but disagree on controllers. WIth that said, controller are a matter of preference. Folks should really hold each controller and see how it feels. Me, can't stand PS4 Dual Shock, but that is because I play a lot of FPS.
  • This is an amazing and accurate review. It's a better review than the ones from major gaming sites which is weird.

    I would have to say that PSN is much better than Xbox Live in terms of reliability and features. Xbox Live has had more outages and it was hacked more often. PSN has SharePlay and faster downloads.
  • "I would have to say that PSN is much better than Xbox Live in terms of reliability and features. Xbox Live has had more outages and it was hacked more often."

    You are absolutely stoned out of your gourd with this statement.
  • Two things I love about my Xbox One that aren't mentioned. First, it is extremely quiet, even when playing games. You never ever hear a fan, this was one of the most important deciding factors for me. Second, the fast resume to the last played game, even after the console is powered off and back on. This combined with having my TV run through the Xbox (no switching inputs) has me going from TV to gaming in seconds.
  • When the Xbox 360 and PS3 were released the PS3 was technically the better console, but Sony lost that crown as MS kept optimizing the Xbox. Same is happening with the current gen consoles.

    But I'm curious to see what Nintendo is going to do next. They have the perfect opportunity to blow both out of the water, as neither the Xbox One or PS4 are particularly exciting hardware-wise.
  • Totally agree about Nintendo having a golden opportunity here. With both of the two current leaders floundering what should be an idiot proof console cycle, Nintendo has a perfect window to deal a fatal blow to both of them. People would drop those clumsy xboxes and nevergettoplay stations in a heartbeat if Nintendo would launch a comparable platform performance wise . Nintendo's software quality has no competition from these two. Imagine a wide open- world -Metroid or Zelda with the graphics power and storage of XBone or PS4 . Would be hard to match.
  • xbox live has been down more and longer since the new systems came out, thats not speculation, its fact. check both outtage sites and its right there, xbox is less reliable
  • Who ever wrote this is out of there mind and clearly a fan boy I've played both I had a Xbox one sold it now I'm gonna buy it again, y because of games like halo, don't get me wrong ps4's graphics are good and the controller might light up and make noise but that's about it u really can't tell that big of a difference in graphics and u can't watch tv while u game and we all have to admit the only reason ps4 is winning is because Microsoft started selling their console for $500 and kids parents were too cheap to buy it for them so they went with the alternative yes they dropped price to catch up, but really it's just a matter of time before the dashboard gets updated like always and the console just totally wrecks ps4 I mean the dashboard on ps4 still looks the same even after the update. Xbox one better exclusives more entertainment better updates.
  • This review is pretty biased honestly obviously a sony fan boy.
  • More like xbox biased, the ps4 has been the better system all along, the xbox looks clunky like an old colico or somethin. Plus ps4 has mlb the show... n xbox baseball sucks, n thats the deal breaker. Ps4 wins easily.
  • It all comes down to what games are you REALLY gonna wanna play in regards to which console provides them exclusively. Ive had a playstation since the original, so yeah thats biased. However, i did buy a 360 before i ever bought a ps3 so truthfully i was pretty please with both of the older generation consoles. Currently, I personally would just prefer the PS4 for its exclusive games and the ability to play the music i want while I play. Not saying Xbox one isnt gorgeous, because it is. I just have no need for the all-around media aspect the XboxOne DOES blow out of the water. Getting a PS4 at some point and still gonna play on my cousins Xbox one! Lol
  • You say hes is biased, but I think not. Sony has actually improved their controller and added intuitive features. Microsoft only refined their controller, but didn't offer anything really new, What did they bring to the table. Does the ps4 controller not have more features than the xbox. Does it not have a rechargeable battery. Let's add up the features and see which one has more. That's a fact you can't disprove. You say that these features don't matter. I can say the same thing about kinnect. The ps4 offers more free games, or was that part baised. That's not a fact? Does that ps4 not have more sharing options or would you like to add up those too. When ever you think I'm providing you with a false fact you let me know and then I'll show you the proof. The ps4 has more games on 1080p at 30 frames or is that also a lie? Is the ps4 not 50% more faster than the xbox? You can stop me at anytime. These facts are set in stone. You can easily find these facts on any website. So what about more shaders and more enhanced graphics. Video comparisons have already proven the ps4 is capable of more. You might think I'm a fan and I am, but I'm a man of the truth. I could care less if you bought an xbox one. I play the ps4 because I like it better. I also know that one sytem is always better. You can;t have equaly good systems even though you want them to be. They are very close in terms of hardware and features, minus of course more apps on the xbox one, but how many of those extra apps do you really need or use besides netflx or amazon prime? So being a man of facts, not opinion, and of course being non baised, we can safely say the ps4 is the better console. Facts can't not be denied, Opinions can. It's that simple.
  • i think that Xbox live is better than the ps plus
  • Does this person not understand what value rates? How can this person mark the PS4 higher in majority of categories, but give Xbox One the best value at a higher price? Honestly, I think it's because this person have a biased opinion and ranks in favor of PS4, while being ignorant to the capabilities of Xbox. Performance and graphics should be two categories.
    Playstation has better graphics, but Xbox runs more fluent.
    Playstation 3's bestselling game was gran turismo, with uncharted only having a fraction of the sales. Halo sales crippled what sony made in comparison. How are indy games going to save a gaming console?
    If you've ever used xbox live you know it's social aspect is much more integrated into the experience than playstation ever was.
    This is all of why xbox is a greater value; what it offers excels far past what PS4 offers.
  • Why is this article showing up as a JUNE 19 creation tag but posts are from 2014? I think this needs to be updated. I don't see Live getting hacked like PSN. X1 will have backwards compatibility for some of their 360 games (just google it) and Indie games does not a system make :)

    I would love to read a more unbiased review between the X1 and PS4 as it stands TODAY.
  • This is just Stupid. Ps was winning in 2014 but it now looks like that One is catching up.
  • Update. Xbox One now has backwards compatibility via an Xbox 360 emulator built into the operating system.
  • So the author of this article says that PlayStation Network is actually better than Xbox Live? HA! I own an Xbox One (and X360), and my son owns a PS4, so what I'm about to reveal is based on actual experience with both systems. Remember when Xbox Live and PSN were both hacked during Christmas 2014, resulting in both online networks being non-functional? Microsoft successfully repaired Xbox Live within 24 hours of the attack. Sony? It took Sony 3 weeks to get their online network up and running after the hack attack. 3 WEEKS! Now here's the thing: during those 3 weeks, any new PS4 owner couldn't use the system because each new unit must connect and register itself with Sony's servers when first turned on. Needless to say, a bad scenario indeed! Sadly, network outages seem to be somewhat common with the PlayStation Network. Not "3 weeks" common (fortunately), but common enough. On the other hand, Xbox Live has been quite robust and dependable. Yes, it experiences the occasional hiccup, but NOTHING like Sony's PlayStation Network. I've been using Xbox Live since 2007, and personally have only experienced XBL being down for maybe 4 days total at best! So when determining which online gaming network is best between Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, the most important aspect should be..... scratch that..... HAS to be the dependability and stability of the network. One would expect an author writing a "tech-based" article to know this! Therefore, based on the combined experiences of my son and I within this category, the evidence is irrefutable. Microsoft's Xbox Live easily beats Sony's PlayStation Network by a mile!
  • Show me one cross platform game title that runs better on Microsoft platform.

    When the Xbox 360 and PS3 were released the PS3 was technically the better console, but Sony lost that crown as MS kept optimizing the Xbox. Same is happening with the current gen consoles. But I'm curious to see what Nintendo is going to do next. They have the perfect opportunity to blow both out of the water, as neither the Xbox One or PS4 are particularly exciting hardware-wise.
  • But there are no cross platform games I want to play on PS4. I have a PC for that. Conversely in the genre I like playing best (sim racers) Xbox One has more and better exclusives than PS4.