Keywords: or plastation
Description: On the cusp of their release into the public's eager embrace, here's the blow-by-blow of how the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One compare with one another. Now, fight!
Now, in a bout eight years in the making, two titans will fight for the heavyweight game console championship of the world!
In this corner, in the green and white shorts, weighing in at a massive 15.2 pounds and hailing from Redmond, Wash. in the USA, the Microsoft Xbox One !
In this corner, in the blue, black, and white shorts, weighing in at a svelte 9 pounds and hailing from Minato City, Tokyo, in Japan, the Sony PlayStation 4 !
Update November 21, 2013: CNET has now reviewed both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. We're in the process of updating this story to reflect what we've learned about both consoles; in the meantime, read PS4 vs. Xbox One: Round 1 to Sony .
The PlayStation 4 costs $399. It launched on November 15 in the US, followed by November 29 in Europe and Australia, December for much of Asia, and February 22 for Japan.
The Xbox will run you $100 more up front, and likely even more over time. You'll need an Xbox Live Gold subscription, listed at $60/year, to use most online extras, from Netflix to gameplay video sharing. Sony's equivalent subscription service, PlayStation Plus, is required only for multiplayer gaming and online saves. It's also cheaper at $50/year.
The most obvious reason for the price difference is that every Xbox One includes a dedicated Kinect sensor for motion control and other functions. The PS4's somewhat similar
Beyond the Xbox's larger size and weight, their design is actually pretty similar to each other. The black, glossy-and-matte PS4 is a raked-back rectangle that you can opt to stand on its side. The black, glossy-and-matte Xbox looks more, well, boxy, like a futuristic piece of AV equipment, and it needs to stay horizontal.
The actual consoles house very similar silicon, both with power akin to a current mid- to high-end gaming PC, but do show a few key differences.
According to an exhaustive analysis by Digital Foundry, the biggest difference between the two systems' hardware is the type of RAM each uses. The PlayStation 4 uses 8GB GDDR5 RAM, while all signs point to the Xbox One using 8GB of DDR3 RAM. The GDDR5 RAM used in the PlayStation 4 is the same type of RAM used by most PC video cards and is optimized for graphical throughput. Digital Foundry speculates that the PS4's GPU could have as much as 50 percent more raw graphical computational power than the one in the Xbox One.
That difference, coupled with the fact that the PS4 runs some early games at higher native resolutions than the Xbox One, might seem to make the PS4 a better gaming machine. But not necessarily. As we wrote in our PS4 review:
You might read about the PS4's specs trumping that of the Xbox One's, but it's important to keep in mind how that translates into actual results. Remember that the PS3 was originally poised to be a massive powerhouse over the Xbox 360, but in reality didn't perform much better. You could even make the argument that most multiplatform games played smoother and looked better on the Xbox 360.
So while the PS4 may have quicker RAM, a faster GPU, and higher native resolution (1080p), we just don't know how those numbers will pan out when it comes to raw results and performance.