Last November I had made the decision to pre-order XboxOne for launch. I had been sold on the idea of an entertainment system over a games console, with various features outselling it for me against the PS4.
By the end of January I was swaying back towards the PS4, frustrated at the lack of content, slow progress on launch features that were still on their way and the buggy nature of Kinect. When Microsoft announced that Kinect was going to be removed from the mandatory list for developers my faith in the big black box was all but gone. So much so that after spending a week with the Kinect in a box, I headed to Game and traded in for a PS4.
Two days ago, I reversed the process, returning to Game and trading in again for XboxOne.
The PS4 is certainly a superior games console. I didn’t buy many games having done the majority of major titles on the XboxOne, but made my way through Strider, Resogun and exclusives Killzone and Infamous Second Son. Like the XboxOne, the PS4 has its own unique features that have died at birth. The touchpad and share button do virtually nothing. During Infamous Second Son, the touchpad has minimal usage for triggering QTEs, and the motion control within the new controller is used for spraying tags on walls throughout the city; the only use of it in Killzone was a single free-fall level where it was used to steer yourself through obstacles.
The share button seemed to there just for me to accidentally tap once in a while and be booted out to a config screen. There are some other issues I found with the PS4 controller when it came to buttons. The push states of the two analog sticks felt awkward under my thumbs, and the option button became hard to target in the same way as the start button of old, or the menu button of the new XboxOne controller. Although the controller looks sleeker than its predecessor, it’s small design presumably intended for the Asian market first, as with Nintendo’s devices, became fiddly and I routinely paused by my thumb dropping to the option button.
But interfaces aside I found a far more rooted issue with the PS4. It has no personality.
With the use of Kinect, XboxOne instantly has a persona, most of the time that of a petulant child, you tell it to do one thing, it will do something else, but even so, this behaviour is somewhat endearing. I find the idea that this little guy is desperate to try and take me where I want to go and occasionally gets it wrong. The interface is instantly brimming with content, whether it is in part adverts or not doesn’t bother me so much as it is on the whole content that I genuinely may be interested in.
The extended features such as auto-playing games that you are downloading after a percentage has been obtained is fantastic, something I was frustrated with on the PS4. I have a Yamaha YSP-600 Sound bar which all my devices run through. The XboxOne is able to detect this and pass remote commands to it meaning one less remote control to use, and fewer actions to be up and running. Xbox On pretty much activates my living room. I watch a lot of TV, but new mediums, Youtube and Netflix being the heaviest and the Youtube app for XboxOne is spellbinding. PS4 has none.
There is of course still a distinct lack of really great games on either console. But this is now in the process of change. with my re-purchase, I picked up Titanfall, now around £25, and it came with Destiny at the cost of an extra £10, both of which I played in Beta and felt underwhelmed, however when you having nothing else to go by, I am sure that the very casual pick up and play demeanour of Titanfall could see me sinking a lot of hours in as my get home from work mainstay to remove the fugg of web life.
This is my last switch, I wont be going back to PS4, not for a very long time to come at least, until that day, you can come play with me on XboxOne – AvangelistXMB.