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PS4 vs Xbox One: Which is a better value?


A lot has been said about the Xbox One’s $499 price tag and how it compares against Sony’s $399 Playstation 4. While on paper it seems like an easy victor for Sony, that may not be entirely true.

Despite my distaste for Microsoft’s bad communication over the past month there are still some Xbox exclusive franchises that will drive sales for the One, especially in America. Some uninformed people will continue to think some multiplatform games (COD, FIFA) are only for Xbox due to ads for these games not mentioning their Playstation counterparts. Microsoft does have some marketing advantages even if it took them over a month to really tell us what the Xbox One can and can’t do.

So what do you get with an Xbox One at launch? Bundling items can help make an expensive purchase seem like a better deal so the inclusion of Kinect may give consumers that impression. Not to mention that Killer Instinct will be free to play but have paid DLC content (like characters) at launch. Microsoft could slap a sticker on Xbox One systems saying, “Killer Instinct included!” and fool unsuspecting consumers.

We can’t forget Kinect 2.0. If the original Kinect retails for around $100 (but probably costing much less than that to produce) it can be assumed that this new Kinect jacks the Xbox One’s price up by $100. If you took out Kinect we could probably have a $400 Xbox One at launch but that isn’t going to happen. The system also ships with a 500GB HDD.

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What do we get in the PS4? Well, if you’re a Playstation Plus subscriber you’ll get a version of DriveClub. That essentially means you get a free game with your console but it remains to be seen how this works out. Will DriveClub: PS Plus Edition stand up to the retail version for anyone? Maybe, maybe not but it is a nice bonus.

For $399 you get the PS4 system, one controller and pretty much everything else needed to set up the system.

If you’re interested in Kinect than you probably don’t mind the $100 price difference between PS4/Xbox One. You probably have accepted that the camera adds to the system’s cost. For example, Sony chose not to bundle the Playstation Eye with the PS4 right away as their camera add-on costs $60.

Put one year of Playstation Plus ($50) and the Playstation Eye ($60) into the PS4 and the system will cost you $510. Yes, that’s actually more than an Xbox One that comes with a camera based motion control system.

On paper it doesn’t look so bad for the Xbox One when you look at it this way but we all know that isn’t how most hardcore gamers are viewing things. Part of the reason why Sony did so well with the PS4’s price is because they aren’t forcing Playstation Plus or the Playstation Eye on anyone. That said, a year of Xbox Live Gold is $60 so that effectively makes the Xbox One $560 for some.

Whereas Xbox One says “here’s everything we’ve got and you need it all”, Sony’s PS4 has a much more laid back vibe to it. Simply buy the accessories that you want and nothing more. Play offline using disc based games that don’t utilize motion controls and you’ll be more than content on PS4. Playstation Plus does seem like a required purchase along with the PS4 due to it being required for online play of non-F2P titles. Hey, with a free PS4 game every month it will more than pay itself off shortly after you buy it.

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As awesome as PS+ is, it is hard to ignore that it does raise the PS4’s price since it is so important to the console. Some people will opt to not use online play in their PS4 games and won’t want those free versions of PS4 games, but they will likely be in the minority. I’d gladly shell out $50 for a year of Plus but it does raise the PS4’s price to $450 for me on launch day.

All in all, the PS4 is cheaper every way you look at it. It allows you to choose how much you spend on next-gen gaming, not forcing you to do anything you don’t want to. The Xbox One might be considered a better value if you’re interested in Kinect. The $399 price point of the PS4 isn’t good just because it is $100 cheaper, it is a great price because of the freedom it gives to consumers. The freedom to choose how to customize their next-gen gaming experience. The standard Xbox One is a worse value without the inclusion of Gold.

What do you think Microsoft needs to do to soften the blow of the $499 price tag?