Nothing About Xbox One Justifies the Endless Flak it Receives
It's all about balance.
I'm a PlayStation fan and always have been, but I've also owned both the Xbox and Xbox 360. I don't own an Xbox One but that's simply because it doesn't yet have any games that tempt me. I buy video game consoles for the games; I don't care about extra and - in my eyes, irrelevant - features. I got the PlayStation 4 because being a big inFamous fan, I knew I'd love Second Son. Titanfall isn't my bag but Sunset Overdrive could be.
See? Simple. I have nothing against the Xbox brand, even though Microsoft has given me cause to despise their business practices. I'm all about comparing systems objectively and that being the case, I'm not sure I'm seeing such a huge gap between the PS4 and Xbox One. So, why all the hate for the latter?
Game-wise, there isn't much difference right now
Neither system has a AAA "killer app" at this point in time, although I know the Xbox fans will point toward Titanfall. Sorry, I just see it as another shooter. The aforementioned inFamous was great but it doesn't fit my view of "next-gen," and neither did Killzone: Shadow Fall or Ryse: Son of Rome. We just haven't seen the stuff that makes us all go, "wow, now that's next-gen!" It's not like the PlayStation 4 is blowing the Xbox One out of the water on the exclusive software front (at least, not yet; next year's Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Bloodborne and The Order: 1886 might change that).
On the multiplatform front, it's pretty similar. Granted, we've seen a lot of headlines pointing out the resolution and frames-per-second differences between several high-profile multiplatform titles. It's true that PS4 versions seem to outperform their Xbox One counterparts on a frequent basis. However, is that really swaying purchase decisions one way or the other? 1080p vs. 980p is a deal-breaker? I'm not sure that's true.
So, what is it? Reliability issues? PSN vs. Live?
If this were last generation, I'd understand the popularity gap between PlayStation and Xbox right now. The Xbox 360 was catastrophically bad; with defective rights soaring over 30 percent and the Red Ring of Death fiasco lasting over four years (during which time, I believe Microsoft pretended they couldn't fix it to artificially inflate hardware sales). Ironically, that's when the 360 was crushing the PS3 in the US. Isn't that bizarre? And in looking at the PS4 and Xbox One, consumers have been lucky enough to see two very reliable systems thus far.
The PlayStation Network vs. Xbox Live argument still rages, and while I - and many others - will maintain that PlayStation Plus is about ten million times better than anything on Live, there are plenty of gamers who claim otherwise. Hence, this can't be the cause of the popularity gap between the two consoles. The PSN isn't free anymore, either, and a $10 difference isn't that big of a deal.
Aside from bad word-of-mouth due to the PR disaster in 2013, Xbox One seems...fine
This is what I mean: Objectively speaking, I'm not sure Xbox One deserves a fraction of the flak it has received from the gaming community. I think this just proves that a gamer's memory isn't quite as short as Microsoft hoped it'd be. They haven't forgotten the Xbox One announcement and the explosion of negativity that created due to several controversial policies. Microsoft was forced to rescind such policies (and acted all gamer-friendly when they did, as if they hadn't already tipped their hand with the initial announcement), but it wasn't enough.
The bottom line is that the PR nightmare of 2013 has chased Xbox One into 2014, and I wonder how long it will last. Eventually, consumers will start to forget and they'll be more objective in their comparisons. Until then, though, I think PlayStation will continue to benefit from Microsoft's mistakes.