The new generation of video game consoles is more affordable than ever before. Both the Sony PlayStation 4 Slim and the Microsoft Xbox One S cost around $250, both packaged with one game each. Which one should you go for?
For comparison, we are looking at the two console packages available on Amazon. Your first choice is the Xbox One S 500 GB bundled with Battlefield 1, which costs $255/£219 (excluding shipping). Battlefield 1 isn’t an Xbox One S exclusive though, you can play it on PS4 too.
Before you make your decision, know one thing. You don’t need a console with a larger hard drive. Both the PS4 Slim and the Xbox One S support external drives through their USB ports. And you can replace the internal hard drive of a PS4 too.
So should you buy the PS4 Slim or the Xbox One S? Let’s compare them.
Games and Exclusive Titles
Winner: PS4 Slim
Most gamers and reviewers agree that Sony has the better catalog of games among the new consoles. The PS4 has almost twice the number of exclusives in 2017. Forbes reckons the PS4 is far ahead of the One S now, and Microsoft will find catching up difficult.
This matters more for casual gamers. You don’t want to miss a great game, but you might end up doing that because it’s an exclusive. If you think of yourself as a casual gamer, the game catalog should be the most important part of the decision.
Unless you are a die-hard fan of Gears of War and Halo, you won’t be missing the Xbox One S. And with Microsoft trying to get their Xbox One S games to Windows 10, a good gaming PC might let you play those too.
- Notable PS4 Slim Exclusives — Uncharted 4, The Last Guardian, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Bloodborne (and upcoming releases God Of War 4 and The Last Of Us 2).
- Notable Xbox One S Exclusives — Gears of War 4, Halo 5, ReCore, Forza Motorsport.
The one aspect where Xbox One S is a step ahead of the PS4 Slim is with HDR gaming. You will need an HDR TV for gaming, of course. And the feature is available only on a few titles. It’s why we don’t consider it an essential item for casual gamers, but hardcore gamers might want to reassess this aspect.
Entertainment and Media
Winner: Xbox One S
For a long time now, video game consoles have sought to become your entertainment hub too. It connects to your TV, after all. So why won’t you want to use it as a media player too?
For media, the Xbox One S reigns supreme because it supports 4K and HDR Blu-ray movies. In comparison, the PS4 Slim only supports Full HD Blu-ray movies. Similarly, the Xbox One S streams 4K videos through Netflix or Amazon, while the PS4 Slim only supports Full HD streaming. Naturally, these features matter only if you have a 4K TV with HDR support.
The Xbox One S also works with your cable TV box, freeing up one HDMI port and letting you easily switch between gaming and TV. Note that this feature does not work flawlessly in all countries, but it’s perfect in America.
The only saving grace for the PS4 Slim is Spotify support, to play songs in the background while you play games. It’s not a terribly useful feature though.
If you don’t care about 4K or HDR videos, then the PS4 Slim is just as good as the Xbox One S. But if you have a 4K TV, then the Xbox One S is far better for entertainment.
Winner: PS4 Slim
The next step in video games is virtual reality gaming or VR gaming. Right now, only the PlayStation 4 Slim supports it with the PlayStation VR headset. That’s not included in the bundle though and costs an extra $400/£328.
The Xbox One S has no VR gaming, with attachments like the HoloLens still a long way off. Microsoft is expected to launch VR gaming with the upcoming Xbox Project Scorpio console at the end of 2017.
It’s a clear winner here. If you’re buying a console now, the PlayStation VR headset might be the perfect holiday gift for yourself later this year. Read our full review.
Winner: Xbox One S
Both the Xbox and the PS4 have excellent online multiplayer servers. The memberships for Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus (Xbox Live vs PlayStation Plus) cost the same ($60 per year). Both services offer two free games per month as well. It also includes free backups of your game saves to the cloud.
So what makes the Xbox One S the winner here? The exclusive EA Access. Electronic Arts, one of the world’s biggest game developers, offers its online subscription service exclusively on the Xbox One S. For $5 per month, you can play a large collection of older EA games like FIFA, Madden, Dragon Age, Mirror’s Edge, Dead Space, Need for Speed, and more.
For casual gamers, access to this catalog of old games you missed is a tremendous addition. For hardcore gamers, it is probably not a big deal.
The Big Question: What Do Your Friends Have?
There is no clear winner in the PS4 Slim vs. Xbox One S battle. Each has its own advantages, even in cases where the other wins. So how do you decide? By answering one simple question: What do your friends have?
Games are always more fun when you play them with someone else. If most of your friends are playing Xbox games online, get an Xbox One S and join them. If they have PS4s, go get yourself a PS4 Slim.
Even if you don’t see yourself gaming online, get the console your friends have. Why? Because you can borrow games! As a casual gamer, the cost of buying games seems crazy. New AAA titles cost upwards of $50 at launch. Seriously, five games will be the cost of the console you just bought.
If you don’t care about getting a game on the first day and are happy to wait, then get the console that your friends have and share your games library. This is especially perfect for casual gamers who don’t have oodles of free time for gaming.
And in case you were thinking of going for a gaming PC, know that the PS4 and Xbox One are cheaper for gamers in 2017.
Tell Us What You Bought and Why
All right, it’s time for the main event. In one corner is a platoon of PS4 fans, while the Xbox loyalists are ready to duke it out in the other. Which of the two consoles did you buy, and why?
Taking all of the above things into consideration, I bought myself a PS4 Slim with Uncharted 4. Did I make the right decision or not?