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Nov 10 2017

Thoughts on Pros and ‘X’ons

So the Xbox One X has just been dropped, and I thought it was time I gave my 2 cents on the new iteration of consoles, though I’ve had zero usage of them, so everything is based on theory.

It’s an interesting time we live in. Previously when a new iteration of a console was released, it had usually just been a smaller version requiring less power, essentially making it more streamlined, such as the PSone, PS2 Slim, PS3 Slim, PS3 Super Slim, Xbox 360S, etc. Now, console developers are giving gamers a much more powerful option during the midpoint of this generation’s lifetime.

Console Comparison

First of all, WOW. The teraflops that the Xbox X is sporting is absolutely phenomenal. 6 Teraflops! 6 Teraflops in a 450 quid console! This is power that is inline with a high end gaming PC, but costing much less. In comparison to the original, Xbox One only has 1.3 tflops, barely able to run games at even 900p in a time when 1080p is standard. The Xbox X essentially not only blows its previous iteration out the water, but anything that Sony currently has to offer with the PS4.

Now in Sony’s defence, they did release the PS4 Pro a year ago, using the technology available to them then, at which they had to take the then prices of components into consideration, so they managed to boost the system to 4.2 tflops, up from 1.8 tflops, whilst integrating PSVR into their games, with the new console only now costing £350, £100 cheaper than the Xbox X. At 4.2 tflops, the system is capable of a maximum resolution of 4K at 30fps, though it will suffer dynamic resolution in games that will reduce the resolution on the fly to ensure 30fps. There’s also the option to play games at 1080p 60fps.

Apparently the Xbox One X doesn’t suffer from dynamic resolution when playing 4K games, achieving atleast 30fps in triple-A games. It is said that it can achieve 60fps at 4K, but most developers are locking it down to 30 to minimise the amount of optimisation required to achieve a constant frame rate. I think this performance out of console gaming is fantastic and a real argument to play console over PC considering the costs and headaches of PC gaming.

For those of us that invested in 4K TVs early, we can finally make the most of them, though I actually need to get a new one as I notice a lag in sound when playing 4K footage. The great thing about the partial upgrade consoles have received means that they can still play the older games that were released in this generation without having to be ported to newer consoles, some even receiving patches to enable 4K gameplay such as Fallout 4 and Skyrim Legendary Edition. Again, great news for gamers, no longer having to further splash out, which did occur when many games originally released in the previous generation were then ‘HD’ remade for current consoles due to lack of backwards compatibility, especially in Sony’s case.

Another benefit that the newer Xbox X console includes is a 4K Blu-Ray drive, which does help to justify the price of the console, allowing playback of 4K Blu-ray, unlike the PS4 Pro that isn’t able to due to still only having a regular Blu-Ray drive. I can understand to some point, seeing how Sony were originally stung by the Blu-Ray drive in the PS3 costing them sales. But the fact that they are the forefront of Blu-Ray technology and have actual 4K Blu-Ray players for sale, it is a shame they didn’t incorporate the technology, but then again, how many people are actually playing 4K content from disk drives rather than just watching it via streaming services like Netflix.

Blu-ray aside, in terms of overall power, Xbox X clearly wins this round and it will be interesting to see how they’ll make use of all that power. It can only be for good if it encourages game developers to create even more graphically rich games for us to consume.

Controllers & Accessories

Both Xbox’s and PS4’s new consoles work with previous controllers and accessories. Now on the controller front, the PS4 controller wins hands down for me. Much more comfortable, versatile, robust and attractive. My Xbox One controller that I do have for my PC, already has an A button that’s barely depressible 100 hours after use and I hate the flappy triggers, never mind the case that creaks and misshapes whilst holding it.

PS4 also sports the PSVR which works on all models of PS4, allowing for an amazing interactive VR experience for console players at a relatively good price. The tracking is quite good and the headset is in the right direction for when they do release a better edition, probably for when the PS5 is released. The device will also gain a boost in performance when plugged into a PS4 Pro. Xbox has no VR offering, though there has been rumours of them incorporating the HTC Vive, though it remains only that, a rumour.

The only real accessory I can think the Xbox offers over the PS4 is the ability to plug a hdmi source into the Xbox, which I’ve never really seen the point of. I could maybe see the use of playing games alongside watching TV in the smallest of boxes to the side of the screen, but even that feature was removed earlier this year, so that’s gone. I think both console manufacturers, especially with the tonnes of power they have available, should have a secondary HDMI out port on the console that allows you to cast video streams and additional information to a secondary TV/monitor. I’ve actually gone from using my TV setup for my PS3 , instead opting to plug the PS3 up to my computer monitor, just so I can watch Twitch streams on my second monitor using my chromecast. It would be great if consoles could integrate this feature as there are many points in games where it does become a bit of a grind and it’s nice to have something on at the side to engage the brain whilst playing.

Anyway, for this round, PS4 is the winner.

Games

This is actually the topic I’m least familiar with, being the late gamer, I’m not really looking at the games that are just about to be released to support these new consoles. Most of the third-party games that were released on both consoles are receiving 4K patches for each. 1st party games, from what I think I’ve previously read on the net, goes to PS4 for the multitude of new high quality IPs they keep releasing. I do think though that games will fair better on the better tech of the Xbox, which is argument enough to jump over to Xbox from PS4, but PS4 I find give away better free games, and after the library I’ve built up over the years from Playstation Plus, makes me loyal to PS4 seeing as I’ve got a ton of games to still get through.

There’s a toss up here between quality and content, which is why we have a draw for this round.

Overall Standing

I think either the PS4 Pro or the Xbox One X are fantastic consoles, bringing a cheap 4K experience to the masses. It really turns up the cookers under PC master race’s arse. If I didn’t already have a PS4 and a gaming PC, I would have probably purchased the Xbox X, but seeing as I’ve a massive library of PS4 games, it makes more sense to get the PS4 Pro, though I don’t think the upgrade worth the price, as I’m quite happy with my current PS4, which can atleast handle 1080p 30fps gaming. That’s essentially the absolute basic requirement I have for my performance needs, so I don’t really have the desire to upgrade at the moment. Rocket League plays fine if not playing 4v4, so I’ve got no immediate complaints with my PS4. It’ll be interesting to see if they release PS4 Pro only games just like the games that are now released for the ‘new’ 3DS that are no longer compatible with the older 3DS console. When that happens, then I might take a second look. I’d also be interested to see if they ever do allow the consoles to run as a PC, which there has been talk of with the Xbox X running Windows, which again, makes that Xbox much more appealing over a lot of what today’s gaming PC market has to offer. What a time to be alive.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.thelategamer.com/blog/thoughts-pros-xons/

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