First off, let me say that I don’t expect what you’re going to read in this article to turn you from one console to the other.  If you are, like me, a long-time Playstation user, this won’t turn you to Xbox 1 or vice-versa.  This is more for those users that are on the fence.  Those users who want to engage in the console wars, but haven’t really decided which way they’re going to go.  But, unless you are a true gear head, this may not make the decision for you either.  You’re more likely to go with whichever system more of your friends use.

Let me also say that there aren’t major differences between the two.  The Playstation line has historically had slightly better graphics, while the Xbox line has historically had a more lively on line community.  But we’re not talking great graphics vs. cruddy graphics or an online community where you can find everyone vs. an online community where you can only find your granny. 

Having said that… here we go.

Processor:  Both 8 core, with the Xbox running at a clock speed of 1.75 ghz and the PS4 at 1.6.  Virtually identical.  They each have 8 gigs of RAM onboard, but the Xbox also has 8 gigs of flash storage.  What this means is that the Xbox will load levels and screens more quickly thanks to the extra volatile flash memory.  They each have a 500 gig hard drive.  I have to give the advantage to the PS4 here, though, because their hard drive can be replaced by the user, while the Xbox’s cannot. 

I replaced the hard drive on my PS3 last year and found the process not only easy, but enjoyable.  One drawback to this is that, in order to back your hard drive up, you have to have a hard drive formatted in FAT32 instead of the Windows-friendly NTSC.  Neither one supports backward compatibility straight out of the box (although Microsoft says that they are exploring possibilities), but Sony says that it will make it’s entire back catalog of games available for purchase over the Playstation store. 

The reason for this is because Sony realized with the PS2 that, by making it backward compatible for their PS games, they were limiting what they could do graphically with their PS3 originals.  They both support Blu-Ray, much to Microsoft’s chagrin, I’m sure.  The Xbox does not offer keyboard and mouse support, whereas the Playstation line always has.  Online, the Xbox will continue with it’s “Live” memberships.  The top of the line gold membership is about $80 per year.  One change to Playstation is that currently online multi-player is available for free for PS3 on the Playstation Network, but online multi-player for the PS4 will only be available through PS+, which is $49.99 per year or $17.99 for three months.  One advantage to PS+ (unless they change this policy) is that Sony does offer free games and discounts every month for PS+ members.  For instance, they are currently offering Bioshock Infinite (a $39.95 value) for free.

So there are the tech specs.  I hope that they help the undecideds out there.  I WAS going to include some side-by-side graphics comparisons for the two systems, but frankly every screenshot that I found that showed a comparison showed virtually identical graphics.  There were some minor differences in background detail, etc., but nothing that would turn a person from one system to the other.

The one thing that I am rooting for, since my best friend has an Xbox is cross-platform play.  Both systems have been making empty noises about this for years, but neither has made the first move.  GET WITH IT, MS AND SONY!

~Randal Schaffer