With hardly any innovation in gameplay mechanics, 2014 is the year of stalemate between PS4 and Xbox One.
It has been officially more than a year since the much anticipated current generation consoles – PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launched. What has changed for each of the companies? Where are they headed? What’s to look forward too? Who was ahead of the competition in 2014? Well, here we are to discuss each and every aspect of the two consoles, how they compete with one another and what’s on the horizon.
How did the content fair in terms of exclusive games for Xbox One and PlayStation 4? To be quite frank, neither of the consoles really had anything that made us scream and say “This is Next-Gen” and many of the popular titles such as Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Destiny, Watch_Dogs and Titanfall were all cross-gen except a few that pushed the potential of the new consoles. Sony had inFamous: Second Son which was a solid sequel to inFamous 2 and Drive Club from Evolution Studios which pushed the visual boundaries. However, gameplay wise, we don’t really think that they made a major impact.
DriveClub had great potential to be a good game, but it launched with major server issues and the PS+ Edition is still not available to this day as Sony promised, and undeniably that’s a huge problem. Drive Club is a decent racing game and is probably one of the most amazing looking games you’ll play this year, but server issues and the missing PS+ edition at launch were a huge let down for fans.
The Xbox One had Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which was supposed to be Microsoft’s biggest draw of the year year, along with Titanfall which was a cross-gen title, and the crazy over the top third person shooter, Sunset Overdrive. Titanfall was a ton of fun, bringing something unique to the multiplayer experience, however it was hardly an exclusive to the Xbox One as the game also saw release on PC, which is technically the better version.
Halo: The Master Chief collection had an amazing amount of content, including all 4 major Halo games. However, just like DriveClu, the game was marred by some major problems since its launch back in November. The multiplayer didn’t work and was unplayable for a month, which is just unacceptable no matter how good the single-player content was. Achievements were also glitched and there were many other small bugs in the single-player campaigns that made the game feel like a huge buggy mess that wasn’t tested properly or was just rushed for a holiday release.
The amount of time it took them to fix it made many people regret their purchases and just wanted to get their money back. Fortunately 343 Industries and Microsoft recognized their mistake by announcing a free remastered version of Halo 3: ODST for all players who own the collection.
Sunset Overdrive and Forza Horizon 2 were probably the most successful of all the exclusive titles that Microsoft published this year. Sunset Overdrive is a third party exclusive that was developed by Insomniac games, the masterminds behind Spyro and, Ratchet and Clank series. The game was fun, unique, good looking, fluid and most importantly not broken. If you own an Xbox One and you’d ask me what game I must buy as a Xbox One owner I would tell you to go out and buy Sunset Overdrive and call it a day.
Overall, majority of the games that we’ve actually enjoyed this year weren’t pushing anything new gameplay wise. It’s unfortunate that none of the exclusive games on both platforms really wowed us with advanced gameplay mechanics, except the superb Nemesis system from Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor.
The year also saw a consistent inflow of remasters on both platforms and several multiplatforms games such as Assassin’s Creed: Unity (a severely broken game at launch), Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Far Cry 4 and Dragon Age: Inquisition, which was by far the best game of the year. 2014 had its share of brand new IPs like Shadow of Mordor and The Evil Within as well. So it wasn’t exactly dull as far as new IPs are concerned.
OS Updates And Features:
The PlayStation 4 received a major firmware update back in October which added dynamic themes, customization options for the XMB, and most importantly the Stream-Share feature which in our opinion is extremely impressive. The fact that you could directly connect to your friend and have them watch you play as if they were sitting next to you is intriguing. Virtually handing them the controller to help you out through a level or have them try out the game before buying it at almost lag-free connection (depending how far you are from each other) is quite an amazing feat to achieve and we are interested to see where this goes next. We are hopeful that more games will support this feature next year.
Although, my biggest gripe for PS4 is that we have yet to see Friends Online Notification feature implemented. This is something that the console should have had since day 1, especially in a digital-proof world that we live in today.
The Xbox One’s OS has been updated much more frequently than the PlayStation 4. Every month Microsoft always had some sort of update to their operating system which improved the usability as well as the accessibility of the console. Both consoles had a decent share of updates to their operating systems. But overall, we feel like Microsoft has been paying more attention to OS updates than Sony despite their impressive firmware update in October.
PlayStation 4 had quite a successful year in the industry since it launched last year. The PS4 sold over 13.5 million units over the course of the entire year and is still climbing strong. Meanwhile, the Xbox One finally broke PlayStation 4’s selling streak in November thanks to the ever-popular and much hyped Halo: The Master Chief Collection and numerous console bundles.
The Xbox One had a very tough time trying to catch up to PlayStation 4 primarily due to graphical disadvantages such as the resolution. However the difference is becoming smaller with each multiplatform release. According to Microsoft, the Xbox One is close to 10 million sales as opposed to Sony’s 13.5 million. Microsoft’s draconian DRM plans from the initial Xbox One days still haunt them and there is no doubt that this has played a massive part in the console’s lagging sales compared to the PS4. If it wasn’t for that we think the sale numbers would be more neck to neck than they are now. But from a top level, both consoles are starting to get close to each other and 2015 might very well be deciding year about who takes the lead in the console wars.
Every time a new console-generation launches the first year or so is usually very slow, but despite the lack of wow factor in games released this year, it’s amazing how quickly both these consoles are selling. Another thing that sets this generation apart from previous generation is the every growing library of indies games. Both Microsoft and specially Sony, realize that having a strong indie catalogue is as important as having a strong line up of 1st and 3rd party games.
So who actually won 2014? As far as sales go, the PlayStation 4 has the lead here but as far as games goes, it’s hard to judge a winner. The Xbox One clearly had a better line up in Q4 but Sony had decent games all around the year. Judging purely from a software perspective it’s a stalemate. But this is just the start, we absolutely cannot wait to see what’s in store for us at E3 2015 and beyond. Both consoles have some big games lined up for 2015 which includes Bloodborne, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Fable Legends and Quantum Break.
Let us hope that we don’t see the trend of broken titles and over excessive remastering of last gen games continue in 2015.