The battle between Xbox One and PS4

Wednesday June 12, 2013

By Steve Redmond
As all eyes in the gaming world turn to the latest news from the E3 convention in Los Angeles, early sentiment has already called it for Sony's PS4 console.Following yesterday morning's Microsoft presentation, Sony's revelation that its new machine will undercut its arch-rival by £80, will not require always-on internet access and will not attempt to restrict the use of pre-owned games has ensured it has already won the PR battle.
In truth of course the two machines are being marketed in completely different ways. PS4 is unashamedly targeted at gamers, the official website boasting the tagline "The Best Place to Play". Microsoft are pitching Xbox One far more as a one-box (or more accurately, two, if you include the Kinect controller) entertainment solution, with its site describing it as "The all-in-one entertainment system". It is perhaps not surprising, then, that delegates at what is primarily a show for gamers should prefer the Sony product.
The real battle will be decided in ERA members' stores this Christmas, but the great imponderable is whether either platform really has what it takes to excite the consumer. Are they really a sufficient step forward from Xbox 360 and the PS3 to justify their price tags?
With consumer spending still tight, in the mass market the real battle is likely to be not between the £349 PS4 and the £429 Xbox One, but console gaming as a whole versus the attractions of the Kindle Fire HD (£229), the iPad (from £399) and the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S4 (from around £29 per month).
Entertainment technology is providing consumers with so many options right now that it would be a brave man to predict precisely who is going to win this battle?
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