A year in review for Xbox One and PlayStation 4
Who won 2016?
Both Xbox One and PlayStation gamers could say that 2016 was pretty good to them, new hardware released, there great exclusives on each console, and much more throughout the year!
With the year coming to a close, it seemed like a good time to compare and contrast the two gaming giants and grade them based on how they performed this year! Keep in mind, this is based mostly on review aggregators and the overall consensus from a number of outlets (and user forums) we've gathered from across the web and not our own personal opinions. We want to give fair grades for the respective consoles with little to no bias towards either one. Some categories will require us to inject opinions and thoughts on certain subjects, but it'll remain neutral for the most part.
We'll be ranking the consoles based on the number of exclusives they had as well as how they performed critically, the pieces of hardware released and how well they were received, and much more! We will give grades based on each individual category, the one with the best overall grade at the end wins!
The first category is centered around all the exclusive games released this year. While we will be taking into account the number of console exclusives released, the winner will be decided by the overall quality of the games released, quality over quantity. We are only counting games with a retail release in the United States, so you won't find Persona 5 here until next year! PSVR games are also exempted from this category as it would give PS4 an unfair advantage in this category. You'll find the exclusives for each platform as well as the Metacritic rating down below.
Street Fighter V - 77
MLB The Show 16 - 85
Ratchet & Clank - 85
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End - 93
No Man's Sky - 71
World of Final Fantasy - 77
Dragon Quest Builders - 83
The Last Guardian - 83
Average score: 81.75/B-
Quantum Break - 77
Recore - 63
Forza Horizon 3 - 91
Gears of War 4 - 84
Dead Rising 4 - 73
Average score: 77.6/C+
WINNER: PlayStation 4
For this category, we're going to talk about the new hardware releases for both brands. This will exclude controllers, minor accessories, and chat headsets. The only thing that will be taken into account is substantial additions to the brands such as consoles and VR headsets.
Xbox announced two new pieces of hardware at E3 this year, but only released one. The hardware in question is an updated, slimmed down Xbox One called the Xbox One S. The console offers a number of new benefits including 4K gaming and entertainment, HDR display, slightly increased performance, and more. The console is a great addition to the Xbox brand as it offers a much needed, smaller version of the bulky Xbox One and it removes the external power brick. It's much more convenient and nicer looking than the launch version of the console and doesn't make any extraordinary attempts to be way more powerful than the original Xbox One.
PlayStation had three substantial releases on the hardware front in 2016, one of which broke new ground for console gaming. First, let's talk about the PlayStation 4 Pro. From the get-go, the messaging of this console has been bizarre. Leaks started coming out at the start of 2016 suggesting a more powerful PS4 would be coming but some developers seemed to be puzzled by the hardware and didn't really want to dedicate time to it.
Many suspected it would be unveiled at E3 and it kind of was..? A few days prior to E3, PlayStation's Andrew House spoke in an interview acknowledging the existence of the console and said they wouldn't be debuting it at E3 and would reveal it at a later date. This confused many gamers as E3 is the one time a year where all eyes are focused on video games for a week! If the console isn't important enough to show at E3, is it really important at all?
Sony then dedicated an event to the PS4 Pro in September that somehow managed to confuse people even more and turn people off to the whole idea of the console. While there were some on board, many didn't understand the technical mumbo jumbo being thrown at us and it was hard to tell the difference between the standard PS4 and the Pro from a live stream on Twitch which has varying qualities (not to mention a lot of people probably weren't watching on 4K TVs or monitors).
When the console released in November, several games including Skyrim, The Last of Us: Remastered and even Final Fantasy XV in some places ran worse on Pro than the standard PS4. It wasn't a good look for the console and made gamers scratch their head at why Sony even decided to release this console. Several developers have even stated that there are issues with their games on Pro and they don't know how to fix it at all! Many say that the console does boast some better visuals on games like Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare but it's hard to say if it's a big enough leap to justify a new console.
Sony also released a slimmed down PS4 which incorporates HDR display on some games (this was also patched into the standard PS4) along with some other minor features. It's cheap, small, sleek, and is a great buy for those who have yet to pick up a PS4.
The biggest release for Sony had to be the PlayStation VR, the first ever VR headset on consoles. It's affordable compared to the other headsets, it's comfortable, has a great line-up of games, and is easy to use! The headset has much to offer with great apps like Hulu allowing users to place themselves in virtual living rooms or movie theaters to watch their favorite TV shows. Hulu and several other apps also allow full 360 degree VR videos that put users "inside" the video they're watching. Whether it's a concert, deep sea diving, or a helicopter tour, it's a nice, free feature that I imagine will be taken advantage of for things like E3 press conferences next year.
As mentioned, the library of PSVR games is vast and expands quite frequently. You can put yourself in the shoes of Batman and explore Gotham City as if you're really there, fight in captivating space battles in a Star Wars X-Wing, and much more! As of right now, the games are fairly short but longer, full-fledged games like Resident Evil 7 are coming in the very near future!
Although PlayStation made some strange decisions in the hardware department this year, they still manage to take the cake thanks to VR. While the Xbox One S is great, it doesn't come close to how innovative and fantastic the PlayStation VR is. This may change next year however as Microsoft has said Project Scorpio will have VR support, but they haven't gone into detail of what that means quite yet.
Winner: PlayStation 4
Next page: Controversies and new features for Xbox and PlayStation.