The console wars are in full effect here in Grand Rapids

New technology releases lead to controversy

By Kyle Hauch

Playstation 4 The console wars are back again. The rivalry that has been around since 2001, where two of the biggest companies in the world, Sony and Microsoft, compete against each other over the sales of their next generation consoles; the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One. Both of these consoles are the most sought after gift for the holiday season and have fans deciding which side they should choose; Microsoft or Sony?

 

Both consoles were released in November and have already broken sales records; both by the number of preorders for the consoles and by the number of sales on the consoles launch day. According to the Wall Street Journal, on August 2013, Sony announced that over a million preorders for the Playstation 4 were placed. On November 15, 2013, over one million Playstation 4 consoles were sold on its North American launch date. On November 29, 2013, the Playstation 4 became the best-selling console at launch with 250,000 consoles sold in 48 hours of its United Kingdom launch. As of December 3, 2013, over 2.1 million Playstation 4s have already been sold worldwide.

 

The Xbox One’s sales numbers were just as impressive. According to Nick Statt at CNET, Microsoft confirmed that they had sold at least one million Xbox One consoles within the consoles first 24 hours of availability. According to InfoScout, based on approximately 102,000 shopping receipts that were tracked, the Xbox One was the highest-selling console during the Black Friday sales period in the United States. Analyst Jon Brelig believes a shortage of Playstation 4 units helped contribute to the Xbox One’s success.

 

“It all comes down to the customer, said Matt Richardson, a local Best Buy video game sales associate. “They decide which console is right for them. Both consoles are very similar to each other. What people ultimately decide when picking between the two consoles is what kind of extras the console comes with and what type of console exclusive games will be released.”

 

In order to understand the differences between the consoles, it may help to simply breakdown each consoles specifications and then let you decide for yourself.

 

Playstation 4 vs. Xbox One Central Processing Unit Speed

 

-Both Sony and Microsoft decided to use semi-custom AMD APU processor chips in their consoles. The chips a virtually identical, but according to extremetech.com, the Xbox One chip was clocked at 1.75 gigahertz, just a little faster than the Playstation 4’s processor chip which was clocked at 1.6 gigahertz.

 

Despite the Xbox One having a slightly faster CPU, extremetech.com says that it is very unlikely that the CPU will make a big difference to either console gaming performances. Most people won’t be able to even notice the slightly faster processing speed.

 

Playstation 4 vs. Xbox One Graphical Processing Unit Power

 

-Both the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One’s GPU are technically very similar as well. The only real difference is that the Playstation 4’s GPU is larger. According to extremetech.com, the Playstation 4’s GPU, on paper, is 50 percent more powerful than the Xbox Ones meaning that the Playstation 4’s games will have a lot more available graphics power on tap in order to make them look their best.

 

Playstation 4 vs. Xbox One Random Access Memory storage

 

-The biggest difference between the two consoles is their RAM capability. According to extremetech.com, both consoles are outfitted with 8 gigabytes of RAM. The Playstation 4 has GDDR5 RAM which is similar to what you find in most modern graphics cards for computers. The Xbox One has DDR3 RAM which is similar to the RAM in most modern PC today. The Playstation 4 has a larger advantage due to the speed of its bandwidth, meaning that data is able to travel faster throughout the Playstation 4 than the Xbox One which will help the console run faster and process data quicker.

 

The Xbox One will include ESRAM which, if used correctly by game developers, can help the console compensate for its slower bandwidth speed. This ESRAM is specialized only for the Xbox One and according to extremetech.com, “it’s highly likely that Microsoft and developers will know how to make the most of it.”

 

So as you can see, both consoles are similar in almost every way, even from a hardware standpoint. So why do people continue to get fired up over which console is better?

 

“It all comes from the consoles people grew up with as a kid and the memories they have from playing their favorite games on those consoles, said Aaron Stevens, a sales associate at Best Buy. “One of my all-time favorite games that instantly made me an Xbox fan was ‘Halo.’ I had never played anything like it. It had a great story and amazing multiplayer. My friends and I would always go to each others houses and hook our Xbox’s together so that we could all play each other. It’s memories like that that makes you a devoted fan to one console or the other.”

 

In order for the consoles to keep their fans and to try and get new ones, they would systematically release console exclusive games that can only be played on that particular console. The popular game franchise “Halo” was one of those console exclusive games when the original Xbox launched on November 15, 2001. According to Andy Patrizio of Wired Magazine, during the two months following Halo’s release, the game sold alongside more than 50 percent of Xbox consoles and is seen as “the game that helped put the Xbox on the map and in direct competition with Sony’s Playstation 2.”

 

One of Sony’s most popular exclusive game franchises is the “God of War” series that has helped the company create devoted fans and helped attract others to the Sony side. The first game in the series, “God of War,” was released on March 22, 2005 and has sold over 4.6 million copies worldwide and is the tenth best-selling Playstation 2 game of all time according to Playstation Magazine. The game is regarded as one of the best action-adventure games for the platform and won several “game of the year” awards. God of War is the type of game that makes you remember why you play games in the first place.”

 

“The God of War series is one of the reasons why I’m sticking with the Playstation, said Alan Priate, a sales associate at Best Buy and a self-described gaming expert. “It was just awesome, addictive fun. I’d never really cared for a video game character as much as I cared for Kratos, the main character in God of War. I loved the ancient Greek setting and the epic story of one man who vows to kill Ares, the god of war, because Ares killed his wife. It is simply one of the best games I have ever played.”

 

The new consoles may have just come out, but people are already excited for the future console exclusive games that are on the horizon.

 

“I can’t wait for “Titanfall”,” said Aaron Stevens. “It’s an Xbox One exclusive game that’s set in the future. You and your friends online battle using jetpacks and giant mechanical suits. It just looks amazing and it comes out sometime this spring.”

 

“I’m excited most for “Infamous: Second Son,'” said Matt Richardson. “It’s the first official sequel to the original Playstation 3 exclusive “Infamous,” where you play as the original protagonist’s son who has begun to develop his fire-wielding super powers and must help a group of rebels overtake a government dictatorship.”

 

So as you can see, the holidays will inevitably come down to choices. These choices will decide where you stand in the console wars. Will you side with Sony and enjoy the Playstation 4’s popular online hub, “The Playstation Network,” or will you side with Microsoft and enjoy the Xbox One’s all-in-one entertainment system through their online hub, “Xbox Live?” The choice is yours this holiday season.

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