Xbox One vs. PS4: The final battle of the consoles?

Moderated by Larry Dignan | January 6, 2014 -- 07:00 GMT (23:00 PST)

Summary: The big showdown in tech this holiday and into 2014 is Xbox One vs. PlayStation 4. Why do we still need game consoles anyway?

David Gewirtz

David Gewirtz




Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

Best Argument: Yes


Audience Favored: No (76%)

The moderator has delivered a final verdict.

Opening Statements

Transformation ahead

In Tarot, when a reader draws the Death card, that doesn't mean there's certain death in the future. Rather, most readers interpret the Death card as indicating change and transformation. Change can be scary, but it can also be beneficial, and that's how I'd interpret the future for the gaming console.

When compared to PCs, consoles are much easier to run and they provide a very predictable, branded environment for developers. Users don't need to spend nearly as much time fiddling and customizing and trying to get the games to just run. Compared to mobile devices, consoles offer unparalleled depth and power -- a level of raw performance and capability mobile devices just can't match.

But... not all customers need all that horsepower and not all customers want to spend another $500 when they've got an iPad and a PC. Not all customers want to shoot at each other, and not all customers like the idea of getting on social gaming networks and hearing or taking the abuse that's often there.

Casual gaming is very much on the rise. Dip-in-dip-out gaming, and free-to-play gaming are changing the playing field. Consoles aren't dead, but the game is on.

Are consoles dead? No way!

In fact, with a new generation of games consoles having just come to market, and big names such as Google and Apple positioning their pieces for an assault on the living rooms of the world, consoles are set to see their status increase. Why? Because the modern console is not just a platform for playing gams on, it is also a hub for all things entertainment, from music to TV shows and films.

While the consoles of yesteryear were aimed primarily at teenage boys who wanted to spend their free time virtually shooting each other in the face, the new consoles are aimed at those who want a tool to pipe multimedia from a variety of channels to their TVs.

Oh, and let us not forget that the bottom has fallen out of the PC market, and that gamers still need something to scratch their itch.

Consoles are far from dead.


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  • Nope

    Console provide a simple and consistent experience for the TV gamer and console developers. One device, one hardware spec. It connect simply to the TV and provide additional functionality for the TV, ie Netflix, Hulu Plus, Plex, etc.

    Sure one can hook up a PC and with some effort get a simple experience to power it. But its still not has plug-n-play as a console. As long as there are gamers who want a simple way to game on a TV, then there will be consoles. And as long as there are consoles, there will be the inevitable battle between them.

    The SteamOS, at best, simplifies connecting a computer. But there are still too many hardware specs for developers to target.
    Reply 122 Votes I'm for No
    • Mainstream? Looking Pale ...

      What is a console anymore?
      MS - it's an all in one that dishes up world peace and bakes bread.
      Sony - a trial and error game playing system that can do more. Can, not will.
      The rest - bit players who may occasionally get lucky.

      Let's define the current "console" baseline. Then I'll take a wag.
      Reply 104 Votes I'm Undecided
      • Re: Mainstream? Looking Pale ...

        I dunno. When you look at all the latest news coming out of the two big consoles, it just seems like every new thing that MS and Sony do just keeps making the OUYA look better and better...
        Reply 53 Votes I'm Undecided
    • console gaming vs pc gaming

      Console gaming: you play the game against your opponents. You beat them with skill edge.
      PC gaming: you try to spend more on your hardware to get an advantage on your opponents. You beat them with money edge.
      Reply 111 Votes I'm Undecided
      • It has nothing to do with your opponent.

        If you game online you just need a PC with the needed specs. Pouring a lot of cash into your rig won't make you a better player. You pour money into your rig to improve your own experience. Better sound, better graphics.
        Reply 76 Votes I'm Undecided
        • I agree

          PC gaming is about the graphics and the immersive experience. Later in the life of most consoles, their capabilities are significantly inferior to PCs. I personally prefer single player PC games with a story and immersive environment. I could care less about the latest Call of Duty or Battlefield game.

          I will say today, thanks to companies like EA that are all about bottom dollar gobbling up independent developers, PC gaming has suffered and there is less reason to choose PC over console than there was a decade ago during PC gaming's golden age.
          Reply 2 Votes I'm Undecided
      • So what mod have you played with on the Console lately?

        Another point is you are force fed DLC packs you have to pay for. As more "Publishers" try to lock down their games to be more or less console ports or clones, this locks down their opportunity to control the ecosystem of additional content. Being on the console only entitles you to games that have content provided by the publisher, if your lucky. Sometimes there's no additional content.

        For the PC you have many games like ArmA that are true PC games where the DLC is both publisher and community provided and is open to wild modifications like DayZ, and etc.
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • Technology moves on.

    Technology moves on. Consoles are constant. Thus, they *have* to upgrade every so often to keep pace.

    The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 frankly waited way too long. Tech pundits claimed that it was "amazing" that they "lasted so long," but frankly I found it appalling. PCs overtook the consoles a long time before the next gen was even announced.

    The Xbox 360 has 512 MB of RAM, 10 MB of graphical memory. I've got 8 GB of RAM, 4 GB of graphical memory. They're not even remotely comparable to PCs today.

    When Microsoft announced the Xbox One, there was not A SINGLE COMPONENT in my PC that was inferior to the Xbox 360. Not a single one. The PlayStation 3 could probably claim "more cores," although with the improvements PCs gained, they probably didn't really outperform PC CPUs.

    There was really no good excuse for waiting so long to announce the next gen. The console producers were acting more like an oligopoly than actual competitors. Things didn't *really* get moving until Nintendo announced the Wii U.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 didn't even *start* development until the Wii U was announced.

    "Why do we still need game consoles anyway?"

    Why do we still need TVs anyway? Why do we still need ANY form of entertainment anyways?

    I find that question to be disingenuous and snarky. There's no "need" for any form of entertainment - it's entertainment!

    It fills a role in the marketplace. That's all that's really needed. It's no less "needed" than it was when the first Nintendo became popular.

    Meh, I don't really expect from this "debate." ZDNet has never really been known for being a gaming mag, and I don't expect much knowledgeable discussion. They're a lot more interested in other uses for consoles rather than the games and gamers.

    I don't really expect to think any differently from reading this debate.
    Reply 97 Votes I'm for No
    • It's my opinion the longevity of the console is a good thing.

      It provides a consist hardware set for developers to target as well as great value to the console owners (seven years for the PS3 and Xbox 360 is darn good). I think this is a huge plus for consoles. People I know don't want to be buying new consoles ever few years. Nor do they want to figure out what titles will work with which consoles (the idea being more frequent console releases will lead to more confusion).

      PCs will always exceed the capabilities of the latest consoles. Even when those consoles are first released. Why? Because a console has to be affordable. Top end PC video cards cost more than the entire console. So naturally compromise has to be made somewhere.
      Reply 80 Votes I'm Undecided
      • You got the "value" a long time ago, now it's just getting old.

        "as well as great value to the console owners (seven years for the PS3 and Xbox 360 is darn good)"

        I don't know if I would call that "value." Kinda like keeping a vintage car, more like. You got the "value" a long time ago, now it's just getting old.

        The refresh was long overdue, and you ain't buying me with a "but it's good 'value'" argument.
        Reply 88 Votes I'm Undecided