The console wars

 
Steve Dinneen
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We now have the low-down on all three next generation games consoles. In the run-up to Christmas, they will go head to head. We see how they measure up

LOOKS

Xbox One
A big, square black monolith. This is not something Microsoft expects you to hide behind the stereo: this is the centre-piece of your home entertainment system. Not to everyone’s tastes.

Wii U
The Wii U, the only console already on the market, is a slender creation that is designed to sit either vertically or horizontally. It comes in either black or white and fades nicely into the background.

PS4
Sony was derided for announcing a console but declining to show what it actually looks like. This may be because it isn’t finished yet. The suspense is killing us.

CONTROLLERS

Familiar to Xbox users, the main change seems to be the localised rumble-packs on the triggers.

The most bonkers of the three, it looks somewhere between a tablet and an arcade controller.

Like the PS3 pad but with a small touchscreen above the joysticks; it will be interesting to see how developers use it.

GAMES

Fifa 14, Forza 5, Call of Duty: Ghosts and a new title called Quantum Break made by Alan Wake developer Remedy.

Games are still thin on the ground. They include Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate and LEGO City Undercover.

A nice mix of big hitters (Killzone, Assassin’s Creed) and newcomers (Watch Dogs).

Hardware

It’s fast: 8GB of Ram, Blu-Ray capability (for the first time, bringing it into line with Sony) and a 500GB onboard hard drive.

Better than the old Xbox and PS3 machines but slow compared to the upcoming creations from Microsoft and Sony. It is powered by an IBM PowerPC CPU (pictured above).

The top of the range specs include 8GB of Ram, 8-core, an x86-64 AMD Jaguar CPU (pictured above), built-in hard drive and Blu-Ray player.

EXTRAS

Where to start? Microsoft wants its creation to be all singing, all dancing. Expect live and catch-up TV, on demand movies, Skype and a music player. Everything but making the coffee, really.

It has the standard ones (Netflix, Hulu) but Nintendo unashamedly sticks to what it knows: making consoles for playing games on.

Sony also offers catch-up services on its consoles but it is not clear how much this will be developed on the PS4. It is unlikely to have the connections with content creators to compete with Microsoft’s Xbox One. Hulu will be there, as will Netflix and a music service.