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Xbox One vs PS4 vs Wii U : The Voxel Verdict


As the sun sets on the seventh generation of consoles, the eyes of the gaming world are fixed firmly upon the future. Yet one question burns brightly in many gamers’ minds: should I buy a PS4 or an Xbox One – or maybe even a Wii U?

Many will have no doubt made-up their minds based upon brand loyalty or familiarity – with the breadth and depth of their friends lists bearing heavily upon proceedings. But there will be many others – like myself – who would welcome an entirely new experience into their lounges. So long as it’s the best one available.

The thing is that the eighth generation of consoles is perhaps more fragmented and fractured than any other that has preceded it – something that brings with it a number of interesting choices for the modern gamer.

And so, dear Voxelites, if you’re sat staring at your old machine wondering where to spend your money next, gather a pew and some warm cocoa … and read on:

Wii U

It’s easy to overlook the Wii U given its lacklustre performance and limited choice of games – but don’t write Nintendo’s latest off just yet. Although it may have all but disappeared from supermarket shelves up and down the country, the Wii U represents an obvious choice for anyone in love with Nintendo’s particular brand of gaming – or for someone looking for something that’s going to please adults and children alike. As the cheapest option on the table, it’s arguably something that could be considered as a second console to one of this generations’ real heavy-hitters. Failing that, it’s home to a number of unique and interesting titles that you simply won’t find elsewhere.

The chances are, though, that if you have any inclination towards the Wii’s successor, you’ve probably bought one already – making the argument a little moot. Then again, if you’re underwhelmed with the opening gambits that Microsoft and Sony’s libraries offer, you could do worse than to take a cheaper, six-month detour into the Wii U until things pick-up towards next summer and a few more bundles and used-games appear in stores. Who knows: you may even just fall in love.

The Voxel Verdict: a great way to keep your younger children happy this Xmas without breaking the bank on an Xbox One or PS4 – and you can trade it in next summer when they’re bored if you feel like it. But seriously: if you need an advert to explain it’s a brand new console, you know that you should have given it a new name #marketingfacepalm.

PS4

Sony made a number of notable mistakes with the PS3 – something that they paid for dearly. Dropping from the status of ‘demi-god’ in the sixth generation to being an ‘also-ran’ in the seventh must’ve been a huge blow to the experienced and proud Japanese giant – a lesson that they’ve clearly learned from if the PS4 is anything to go by.

Elegant, powerful, refined and affordable; the PS4 is a product-designer’s wet dream. The thing simply oozes class from every pore and if early reports are anything to go by, it will have the upper-hand this generation in terms of raw power and flexibility. Given the relative complexity of coding for the PS3’s cell-based architecture, there must be developers the world over breathing a collective sigh of relief. But in making the PS4 a distilled perfection of what they hoped to achieve with the PS3, have Sony missed the boat with respect to projecting a clear and ambitious vision for the future?

The Voxel Verdict: the core-gamer’s choice – simple as. But a gamer is no island – and maybe the Xbox One’s all-in-one media vision will entice you in years to come?

Xbox One

Whilst Sony have fine-tuned the traditional console blueprint to within an inch of its life and Nintendo have tried to be lo-fi-leftfield once again, Microsoft have been arguably the boldest of all in their plans for the future. Make no mistake: Xbox One is not a games console. It’s a voice and motion-activated media-hub that happens to play games – a fact that’s seen many gamers turn their backs in disgust. And it’s an ugly brute too. Subtlety: thy name is not Xbox.

Attempting to act as a digital black-hole in the centre of your lounge, sucking-up HDMI input, watching your every action, listening to your every sound and integrating services and content like nothing before; the Xbox One is an intriguing move on Microsoft’s part. After two generations of courting gamers, the gloves are finally off: Microsoft want to own the lounge in the same way that they own the office.

And fair play to them. They’re putting their money where their mouth is and offering content-junkies an experience like nothing before it. Yes, it’s an invasion of your privacy – from a company with a back-door wide open to the NSA – but like Google and Facebook before it, the services that you get in return arguably outweigh any privacy drawbacks. So long as you’ve got nothing to hide.

Is this a vision that will appeal to the typically staunch gaming community? Perhaps. The last time I checked, gamers also spend a fair amount of time watching TV and films, using the Internet and listening to music – so why wouldn’t an all-in-one solution work? Despite the Xbox One not being a games console, it’s still packing a punch in that department with Titanfall looking like a mouth-watering proposition if there ever was one.

The Voxel Verdict: don’t count the Xbox One out  – despite the PR car-crash that has been Summer 2013. As the powerful exclusives roll-out and the content providers get truly on-board, this tightly controlled environment and gaudy slab of plastic may yet prove to be alluring to the hardcore massive.

Conclusion

I’d give it six months. Seriously. As things stand, there aren’t any games out on either new console in the immediate future that warrant the entry fee. Those that do are already available on PS3 and Xbox 360. Sure, they might not look as polished, but the core game is there nonetheless – and that’s what it’s all about, right? By next summer the path of Valve will be clearer and the libraries of all platforms will be much healthier.

But that’s not enough for some of you – I get it, I really do. Some will have a primeval instinct that needs scratching and a console that needs buying sooner rather than later. In that context, there’s only one choice to recommend: the PS4. Yes, Microsoft have bold plans for the future – a future that you may yet want to be a part of. But right now – at this juncture – what matters the most to gamers is power and fidelity and the PS4 offers these with aplomb at a highly competitive price.

And you can’t really argue with that.

You can check out all of our next gen Xbox One, Wii U and PS4 articles here: Next Gen on VoxelArcade

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Husband. Parent. Gamer. Go figure.

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16 Comments

  1. Agree with most of this. PS4 for me, Xbox One just feels like a media focused 360 when you play around with it. However, despite a horrendous year, Wii U does have the better games going into Xmas: Mario 3D World, Zelda Wind Waker, and the Wonderful 101 are far stronger than the launch games of the other 2. Although I do have to say that Killzone is much better than expected and Resogun is ace- reviews for both inbound.

  2. I can’t justify buying any of the consoles just yet. There just aren’t enough great games yet for each system. With that being said, by the end of next year, Wii U will certainly be convincing enough to buy, and we’ll see if the two heavy hitters will have enough great games themselves.

    • It is certainly strange to have an entire generation launch without anything that is really mind blowing

  3. I think ending an article with “And you can’t really argue with that.” is a bit brash!

  4. Haha perhaps – although I was alluding to Sony being difficult to argue with to be fair 🙂

  5. I just got my Wii U while I wait for sony and ms to iron the kinks out their systems. Im seriously fallling for the Wii U. Windwaker is gorgeous. Even though its a remaster it looks and feels next gen thanks to amazing lighting and seamless non jaggy graphics. I heard mario 3d world is even better. Theres a lot to look foward to with the Wii U. I would definitely suggest it as a supplemental system especially in the UK with the mega mario bundle coming out.

    • Yes, a bit like the Wii as an extra system with a PS3/360, the Wii U definitely has its place. I would go PS4/Wii U a great mix of games going forward.

  6. The damn games for the ps4 and Xbox 1 look the same. Shut the hell up with all this ps4 have more power bullshit. Hell it’s the buyers preference nobody gives a shit what all these fan boys say

    • It depends on your perspective and set-up, I suppose. Yes, from a distance, they all look the same – but on a very large screen you’re going to see the difference in resolutions, with the PS4 pushing out more pixels on these early cross-platform titles. Things will probably even out over time, just like they did this generation, but it’s an inescapable fact that the PS4 has more grunt – especially in the RAM department. Pointing that out is not being a fanboy; it’s basic mathematics based on widely reported and available facts.

      Then again, the XB1 is offering a vision very different in terms of scope and ambition above and beyond being just a games console – something that Sony can’t even hope to compete with. They’re very different beasts. Being a bit of a tech-nerd: on a pure technological level, I’d go with an XB1 just because it’s offering so many new, integrated experiences … but seeing as I don’t Skype, don’t have a set-top box (other than SD Freesat), hate sport, buy all my films in physical format and have to be pretty quiet in my flat when the wife and kids are in bed (voiding all the voice-activated control), I know that I’ll never make use of it’s fancy features. So PS4 it is – given it’s significantly cheaper and has more grunt.

      Each to their own – and with such variety on offer, everyone’s a winner!

  7. I remain unconvinced by the PS4’s opening line-up.
    Killzone was a good tech demo for how pretty games could potentially look on the PS4, but the gameplay was very much a case of same-old-same-old, and didn’t really inspire or excite me.
    I turned in my rental of the system early and went right back to the quality line-up of my PS3, without batting an eye.

    • Agreed – it’s the case with all three next-gen systems thus far for me. I’ve never really been a huge Nintendo fan – certainly not to the point where I’ll buy a system just to play their 1st party games – and the launch line-up for XB1 & PS4 is uninspiring. Only really one game on each platform truly worth getting at the moment.

  8. This article is interesting, but there’s no mention of the 40 some odd percent of PS4’s that are bricked out of the box. Ditto for the X-Box One as well. That is HUGE for the audience you’re talking to. Parents of younger kids. Not many of these parents will want to mess around with returns, or warranties, waiting on answers from Sony or Microsoft, and if they simply return it to the store and get a new one, they have a really good chance of picking up another brick. I know there were a few Wii U consoles that had problems at launch, due to the update. That said, it’s NOWHERE near the level of failures we’re seeing on PS4 and X-Box One. You really should mention that, it’s very important. Doesn’t take much research to find that out either.

    I’ll agree with your 6 month argument on PS4/X-Box One. No real exclusives that sound good have been announced yet, although E3 may change that, and the multiplats will still be on PS3/360 for a while as well. But for Wii U? I’ll have to disagree.

    Mario 3D World just launched, Donkey Kong Country Returns: Tropical Freeze will be out in less than 3 months, Mario Kart 8 in 5 months, plus all the games already out, which have higher metacritic scores, or are vastly underrated, like Pikmin 3, Wonderful 101 and Sonic Lost World. Nintendo typically has the best exclusives with their famous IPs, and the prospect of a new IP, along with rights to Bayonetta 2, “X” from monolith software, the unannounced 3rd exclusive Sonic game from SEGA and the Smash Bros game made along side Tekken developer Namco, it’s going to be really hard to beat out Wii U. I didn’t even mention the upcoming Zelda, which has the potential to be another obvious killer app.

    I don’t hold out much hope for X-Box One exclusives, but there is some for Sony. Especially Naughty Dog. Any real gamer will eventually own all three consoles, but picking just two of them? That’s real easy. Wii U and PS4. You simply cannot get a better combo than that. Except maybe PS4 and 3DS, but that’s a different story.

    • I’ve read about <1% failure rates for PS4 and estimates in the single-digit region for XB1 – but 40+%? Not sure about that – but you're right that such issues can really ruin someone's day 🙁 The Wii U does look like an increasingly interesting prospect, but given my particular flavour of gaming, I know that it will end up gathering dust like the Wii and Gamecube before it. Zombie U looks great … but beyond that I'm not sure what would really grab me – but that's just me of course. It's a smart buy given the limp offerings on PS4 and XB1 at the moment. I've got a huge stock of PS3 games to play/re-visit in the the coming months – the next gen fires should be roaring by then!

  9. Ouya not mentioned here? :S

    • Ah, yes, the Ouya – well, I recommend buying four. Then you can use them to prop-up each corner of your Xbox One or PS4, elevating it to even greater heights!

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