Yesterday kicked off the first official day of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) and as you'd expect, there were tons of video games and hardware to see and play. I already gave you my first thoughts on the Xbox One and its new controller now I'm going to share with you my impressions for Sony's PlayStation 4 and DualShock 4 controller.
Compared to the Xbox One, the PS4 is a slick looking rhombus that isn't very bulky. In fact, it's about the same size as the second-generation PlayStation 3. It's dimensions are as follows: 12-inches wide, 12-inches long and 2-inches high. That's easily much smaller than the Xbox One's giant boxy frame. For those who care, PSMania has a good visual chart comparison between the new consoles and the old ones.
When placed flat, the left half (top, when stood vertically) is glossy and the right half is matte. Microsoft calls its Xbox One black "Liquid Black." Sony's black is called "Jet Black." Regardless of which one is blacker, Sony's box easily wins in the looks department. Thankfully, it looks nothing like a George Foreman grill. Another new thing I learned is that the PS4's 500GB hard drive is user-replaceable; it's just a standard 2.5-inch hard drive — same as on the PS3. That's another pro against the Xbox One's non-removable 500GB internal hard drive.
And while I did get the opportunity to play a few PS4 games such as Contrast, Octodad: Dadliest Catch and DriveClub, it's still too early to judge any of them. From what I could tell, almost all games ran smoothly, without any serious framerate drops. That's good news, seeing as how the PS4 has 8GB of ultra-fast GDDR5 RAM. But like the early Xbox One games I played the yesterday, most PS4 games just look like really high-end current-gen games. With 140 games in development, 100 which will launch in the first year, and 40 of which are exclusives, the PS4's library is expected to be pretty huge.
The DualShock 4 controller is a complete redesign from the DualShock 3. The controller is less cramped and more comfortable to hold thanks to rounder grips and analogs that sit wider apart. The new convex edges on the analogs did a good job keeping my thumbs in place, but I still think the Xbox One's micro-texturized grip edges on the thumb sticks feel more superior. I'm also really digging the tweaked D-pad, tighter shoulder buttons and springier triggers that have a gentle curve to them. The new touchpad is also perfectly reachable. However, the Share and Options button just feel a little too flat in my opinion. Overall, the DualShock 4 is a huge improvement, and with a built-in mono speaker and headset socket, Sony's finally caught up to both the Wii Remote and the Xbox 360 gamepad.
There's not much to dislike about the PS4. It's cheaper than the Xbox One by a $100 and it doesn't have any used game restrictions. The PS4 also doesn't require an Internet connection to ping Sony's servers once every 24 hours. You can argue that the Xbox One costs $100 more because it comes with a Kinect, but I'm not lazy enough (yet) to need a camera "always listening" for my command. Call me old school, but I feel more secure knowing a camera isn't watching me. About the only thing that kind of irks me about the PS4 is that online multiplayer requires a PlayStation Plus subscription. But hey, that's still better than the "Online Pass" idea tossed around for PS3 games. For the record, Sony's abandoning the online pass for good. Good riddance!
I've already canceled my Xbox One preorder from Amazon and preordered a PS4. I think I'm making the right decision. Sony may have been slow to start with the PS3, but the PS4 is coming out guns-blazing with a solid focus on winning gamers over, not TV watchers. Things can change with the Xbox One, but from the looks of it, Microsoft won't back down.
Which console won your heart at E3 this year? Is it PS4 or Xbox One?
(Posted on location at E3 2013 in Los Angeles, California. All photos by Raymond Wong for DVICE.)