PS4 Countdown: PS4 Vs The Competition

By Shawn Collier on November 13, 2013, 6:26PM EDT

The PS4 is less than two days away and we're entering the home stretch in our feature countdown for the system. So far we've covered the launch line-up, the console's social features and how it works with the PS Vita.

With another console coming next week and the Wii U already released last year, for those not already having the system on pre-order, you might be interested in some comparisons between the three. If so, we've got you covered.

For the purposes of this article, we're keeping the comparisons to the three major consoles and are excluding handhelds, Android devices and iOS devices.

Both the PS4 and Xbox One are built specifically for this as they both support low-power modes which allow them to connect to the internet and update themselves when the system isn't in use.

As far as social interaction goes, both platforms will allow users to stream their gaming live on the internet as well as record and edit short movies that they can publish online for everyone to see. At launch the options are somewhat limited with a few partners although both companies have said they will open up the providers sometime after launch.

Both consoles are also continuing their media service push seen on the PS3 and Xbox 360, as your favorite apps like Netflix and Hulu will be available on both systems. The Wii U also has many of the same media services available on its system as well.

Online Multiplayer
One big change this time around is that PlayStation Plus, the paid Sony service where buyers would receive free games and other goodies is required for online play. This brings the PS4 in line with the Xbox One as both consoles require their respective paid services to play online multiplayer.

As far as benefits go, PlayStation Plus is still arguably better offer than Xbox Live, being $10 cheaper and giving you more benefits. This month, PlayStation Plus offers two free PS4 games available for download at launch.

The Wii U doesn't require a fee for online play, although due to that, support isn't as widely available.

Off-TV Play & Second Screens
This featured was started back on the PSP thanks to Remote Play, albeit only supported by a select number of titles specifically coded to support the feature. The PS4 natively supports off-TV play outside of titles that require add-ons such as the new PlayStation Camera via its PlayStation Vita handheld. Nintendo's Wii U also supports this thanks to its gamepad, although its support is up to the developer so the PS4's near-universal support is a great plus.

As far as second screen functionality goes, all three consoles support it to varying degrees. Due to the Wii U's gamepad we'll probably see the most use here, with the PS4 and Xbox One likely having more limited uses depending on the game. At launch Microsoft appears to be pushing the use of this the most via their SmartGlass technology, but a possible future LittleBigPlanet title based off what we've seen from the current PS3-Vita usage should make for some interesting applications by the developers.

Indie Support
Right now the PS4 and Wii U are at the forefront of this battle. The Wii U has a decent start as its been around for a year now, but the level of support for the PS4 from the indie community is quite staggering and Sony has been heavily courting them, even going far enough to feature some of them in its recent press conferences.

After some reversals earlier this year, Microsoft has announced an ID@XBOX program for indie developers but news of the program isn't expected till next year and the number of "indie" developers on the platform at launch is quite small at the moment.

Based off what we've seen so far, the PS4 is a good fit if you're interested in both mainstream and indie titles. And if you've got a PlayStation Vita the inclusion of near-universal remote play is a great bonus.

Are you picking up a PS4 this Friday or planning on staking out a spot for a chance at one at your local retailer? Let us know in the comments below and check back tomorrow for more of our continuing PS4 feature coverage.

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