Basing off what we have seen in the past day: PS4 is clearly the system everyone is looking to & praising. That's thanks to all the missteps Microsoft took with showing off the Xbox One.
Let's go down the list:
- When MS first revealed the system, they focused heavily on media and other non-game features & few games, making for quite a bit of comical memes online
- They are including the Kinect with every box, and it's required. While they announced that there will be privacy settings & that MS won't be a big-brother, it still angered many gamers. The core gamers don't care about Kinect & don't want to deal with it. That, and having it constantly listen and such has caused a stir & made many concerned about privacy
- They detailed their restrictive DRM, which was what many were concerned about. There's a lot to talk about DRM overall, so I won't talk about it in this post.
- Finally: $499. Five hundred dollars. That's not cheap.
When Sony got in the spotlight, they did the opposite: They focused on games when they initially revealed the PS4, the EYE camera isn't included with every box now, they outright talked down on DRM and announced the system at a full $100 less than Xbox one (and just $50 more than the premium Wii U).
Overall: Microsoft came in with a negative cloud over their heads and didn't deliver, while Sony did.
Other things I need to mention though:
DRM. While I said I wouldn't really talk about this, it has to be said and clarified that there will be DRM on the PS4...ONLY if 3rd party developers decide to use it. 1st party Sony games will continue to be DRM free. In other words: It's essentially the same thing as what's been going on with the previous PS3 already. (Yes: There are already some DRM practices on the PS3 already)
There was some expressed panic about this today when this was revealed & many thought Sony didn't stick to their word, but it's still better than the restrictions MS is putting on ever retail game & it's the same thing that's going on now in this gen. Again: It's all up to the 3rd party developers to implement DRM or not. If there's anyone to be angry at, it would be EA, Activision, Ubisoft, etc who may use it, and I bet they'd be afraid to seeing all this backlash now.
Games. A little disclaimer: I am a bigger PlayStation fan overall, but I do still own a 360 and Nintendo portables. But even as a Sony-guy: I was a little disappointed with the lineup they revealed at the press event. There weren't that many exclusives that we didn't know about already. While I am a big fan of indies and I do love that Sony is embracing the indie community: All those games are still just going to be timed exclusives, and can very well show up on PC or elsewhere soon after. Some are even out now on PC, or will be, and may be cheaper on PC. As for bigger titles from 3rd parties: It was even revealed that massive reveals like Kingdom Hearts 3 will actually be on Xbox One as well, a first time on Microsoft consoles. And the only other exclusives from new 3rd-parties was just exclusive DLC. Xbox One's lineup, on the other hand, is pretty awesome with many exclusives coming. Still: The whole $100 more for the Xbox (plus DRM and other factors) is still likely going to move people away and towards Sony.
Paid subscriptions. Let's set the record straight here: Sony is winning in this field. PlayStation Plus is actually cheaper than Xbox LIVE Gold; $10 less for yearly subscriptions (XBL $59.99, PS+ $49.99). While you pay $4.99 per month with a yearly XBL Gold, PS+ is actually just about $4.17 a month. And it has been a good deal ever since Sony started the program: PS+ would actually give you free games. That's 12 on PS3 & 6 on Vita with titles changing out regularly each month. And while some games leave PS+; If you added the game to your cart while it as still free, you can keep & play it as long as you're subscribed. These free games vary from old to very new (as in just-launched-that-same-day) and can range from small downloadables to full $60 retail games. That, plus some really great discounts exclusive to PS+ can make for literally hundreds of dollars saved per year. Not to mention that free PS4 games will be coming too! Xbox LIVE Gold, however, doesn't offer that same kind of thing. They do offer demos exclusive to Gold as well as sales, and now they're going to offer free games as well; 2 per month. Though, that's only going to be up 'til the end of the year. While PS+ will be required to play online games, all the other content & perks you get are an added plus, pun intended. It should also be pointed out that PS+ is only needed for online multiplayer: Using media services like Netflix or the upcoming Flixter doesn't require the additional subscription just to use them, unlike Xbox LIVE now on the 360, where you NEED XBL Gold just to use any online feature that isn't shopping. That even includes Internet Explorer: You have to pay just to use IE. No real clarification if they will change that with Xbox One, but I doubt it.
Overall: Sony has definitely learned their lesson here, while Microsoft stays sitting atop their high horse and be rather oblivious to the concerns of gamers, which include privacy, price, and DRM. Though, this doesn't mean that Sony will outright win the generation: There's still many things Sony can improve upon, and I am positive that Microsoft is reevaluating everything for Xbox One now. They came to kill Sony, and they're not giving up without a fight. I guarantee that you'll see some price changes, among other changes, on the Xbox One within the next 2 years in attempt to win gamers, and the wider audience they're targeting for, back.