Xbox One or PS4: Which One Should You Get?

xbox one or ps4

Xbox One or PS4? It’s the hottest question of the holiday season – and although both are considered next-generation gaming consoles, their respective visions of said “next generation” are wildly different (and equally exciting). Both systems aren’t for everybody – and with that in mind, we’ve got a few suggestions for different types of gamers looking to pick up a new console this winter.

Xbox One or PS4: which one is better…

 ac4

… For the dedicated gamer?

For many, the next generation console war comes down to one simple question: which system has the best games? Unfortunately, there’s no winner in this category just yet: after a fairly mediocre lineup of launch titles (many of which were multi-platform and multi-generation, released on both Xbox 360/PS3 and Xbox One/PS4), there isn’t much difference between the gaming experiences on the Xbox One or PS4. That’s not to say there aren’t some solid exclusives available: Xbox One’s zombie-infested Dead Rising 3 and PS4’s indie shooter Resogun only scratched the surface of what these systems are capable of.

At this point, there isn’t a winner or loser in the games category just yet: if anything, the PS4’s ability to run multi-platform titles like Call of Duty: Ghosts and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag at native 1080p resolution gives it a slight advantage over the Xbox One. We’ll have a better idea once the many, many indie titles and spring exclusives (like Xbox One’s Titanfall or PS4’s Infamous: Second Son) start making their way to the shelves. For now, we’re going with the PS4, thanks to its pure graphical power and much-lauded Dual Shock 4 controller, with its superior analog sticks and absurdly comfortable, responsive shoulder triggers.

…For the casual gamer and avid media consumer?

One thing is clear about the next generation of gaming consoles: being just a gaming console is no longer acceptable. The PS4 and Xbox One have very different visions about what that exactly means, but the idea is basically the same: both next-generation systems are designed to provide a wide array of entertainment options, be it playing Blu-Ray discs, streaming media from Netflix – or in the case of the Xbox One’s ambitious plans, existing as the only entertainment device in one’s living room.

In this sense, the Xbox One is endlessly more ambitious than the PS4, even if many of the premium features only come with an Xbox Live Gold membership (for example, PS4 can stream Netflix without a PS+ account; the Xbox One does not without Xbox Live Gold). The ability to connect everything from cable boxes to other game systems make it a true “all-in-one” solution for the living room – even if it’s still an imperfect one, with a sometimes-awkward Windows 8-based interface and Kinect 2 voice controls that still don’t quite work as well as one would like.

At the end of the day, the PS4 and Xbox One are aiming to be very different devices: PS4 wants to be a gaming console first, while the Xbox One wants to separate itself by being the all-in-one solution to someone’s living room. For those who aren’t considered with “console exclusives” (games released on only one console, or “timed” to be exclusive for a period of time) and just want something that plays mainstream game titles between video streaming, the Xbox One‘s higher price tag ($100 more than the PS4) is worth the cost.

share

… For the social gamer?

There are a few ways to look at the Xbox One or PS4 as “social” systems. Both feature the ability to capture screenshots and game video to upload, both are compatible with Twitch streaming (though Xbox One hasn’t released an update unlocking this feature as of yet), and both cater to gamers who like to play with friends, with features like cross game chat.

When it comes to actually sharing content with friends, Xbox One currently has a slight advantage. Despite the PS4’s useful “Share” button (which has multiple commands for taking screenshots, capturing the last 15 minutes of gameplay, or recording a new clip), the PS4’s video-sharing feature is limited to uploading to Facebook only (at least for now). The Xbox One‘s ability to upload videos to Skydrive, along with its robust video-editing tools, give it a slight edge for the gamer who doesn’t like to just play with his friends, but share those experiences with thousands of others on the web.

… For tech-savvy gamers and their cutting-edge living rooms?

The 4K generation is nearly upon us – and thankfully, both the PS4 and Xbox One are 4K-compatible, ready to deliver the most beautiful virtual worlds imaginable. But it’s not quite clear how well both are prepared for this next generation of television technology: looking under the hood of both the Xbox One and the PS4, there are a few key differences that push Sony’s signature device past the Xbox One’s.

The biggest difference comes in the system RAM: the XBox One’s 8GB of GDDR3 memory finds itself with two big disadvantages, at least a month into the new generation. The first is the RAM itself: with the PS4 adopting the new GDDR5 standard for its memory, the PS4 is able to deliver more pure processing power than the Xbox One (hence why COD: Ghosts and ACIV: Black Flag are optimized to run at 1080p, rather than the Xbox One’s 720p offerings).

More importantly, the Xbox One’s complex OS (based on Windows 8 tiles) naturally requires more memory to run: Xbox One games can only use six of the system’s eight computer cores, reserving a much higher percentage of processing power for the operating system. Yes, the Xbox One’s smooth, tile-based system is pretty and easy to navigate, but it appears to come at the cost of having the most detailed, graphically impressive games – though the continued development on the Xbox One (especially the system’s ability to use Microsoft’s cloud servers to handle data) will hopefully level this playing field in the near future.

ps camera kinect 2

The other big difference between the two systems are their peripherals – and in particular, their voice-command cameras, better known as Sony’s PS Camera and Microsoft’s Kinect 2. Those who think that talking and gesturing to their systems is the future of multimedia experiences, the Kinect 2 – while still a limited piece of equipment, particularly with gestures – is a far more impressive piece of technology, with the ability to understand a wide range of commands and a UI design that almost encourages the use of gestures to navigate menus.

In other words, this category is a pure toss-up: the PS4’s under-the-hood advantages and ability to stream games right to a PS Vita might give it more beautiful games to play all around the house, but with all the exclusive titles coming out for release in 2014, it’s not clear whether the PS4’s graphical prowess or Vita-streaming capabilities will amount to anything substantial. The Xbox One, despite being more closed in its design (unlike the PS4, the hard drive on the Xbox One can’t be replaced by the user), offers a lot more potential in terms of what it could do in the future: and in the present, the advanced voice controls and well-developed (if not a little hard-to-grasp) user interface present their own unique set of advantages.

5 Free Apps For Christmas Radio Online

The holiday season is upon us – which means there’s carols, new holiday singles, and Christmas collaborations invading the airwaves everywhere we turn. But even the biggest fans of holiday songs hate sitting through lame remakes or the same tired renditions of songs. With that in mind, we’ve collected the five best free apps for Christmas radio online to keep a melodic melange of tunes in your ear buds through the holidays.

The Best Free Christmas Radio Online

Free Christmas Radio Online

iTunes Radio
(iOS)

The first Christmas radio online app on our list is already included on every iPhone, accessible through the Music app. Although iTunes Radio doesn’t contain any traditional FM or AM radio stations, it does bring its massive music library to anyone’s fingertips in a variety of interesting ways. A great place to start are their ‘Featured Stations’, an always-changing selection of genre-specific stations or playlists created by guest DJ’s or musicians. Whether you want to play the hits or mix in a little more obscure songs, iTunes Radio gives users a number of options to customize their listening experience for Christmas this year.

Free Christmas Radio Online

Christmas RADIO
(iOS, Android)

Given the title, the inclusion of this internet radio app on our list shouldn’t be a surprise: the Christmas RADIO online app features over 50 different holiday music stations from around North America and Europe, a perfect option for the international listener or world traveler looking for some familiar holiday sounds during the holiday season. The interface isn’t the prettiest, but the app is smooth and functional. It also has a dedicated channel broadcasting from the North Pole!

Free Christmas Radio Online

TuneIn Radio
(iOS, Android, Windows Phone)

Often considered the standard for all free internet radio apps, TuneIn Radio’s massive FM station database set it head and shoulders above most of its mobile counterparts. It not only has most basic features one would want from their internet radio app (the ability to save stations, customizable buffering options) but a number of advanced features that ensure users get the most functionality out of their radio app – and in the case of the extremely useful “Car Mode”, more safe by eliminating small text and buttons altogether. There’s a paid version available with even more options (like recording live radio) but for most holiday carolers, the ad-supported version of TuneIn Radio will more than suffice.

Free Christmas Radio Online

Slacker Radio
(iOS, Android, Windows Phone)

Slacker Radio’s free app might not have all the features of the other internet radio apps on this list but thanks to its collection of unique stations and gorgeous design, it’s still one of our favorites. And as a “smart” radio app, Slacker is always paying attention to what you’re listening to, constantly curating your selection (and doing it in style) the more you listen. With a dozen different dedicated Christmas stations (and of course, the ability to create a station from any artist), Slacker is a great choice for users looking for something simple and straightforward from Christmas radio online.

Free Christmas Radio Online

iHeart Radio
(iOS, Android, Windows Phone)

iHeart Radio is akin to a Pandora and TuneIn Radio mash-up: it doesn’t quite have all the features of either, but cross-pollinates its functionality enough to make it a useful little hybrid app. It has the same customizable station options like Pandora and Slacker, and also has hundreds of live stations across the United States to listen to (similar to TuneIn and the like). It many not have every function these other apps have, but for an all-in-one solution, there aren’t many better options than iHeart Radio.

Where is your favorite place to listen to Christmas radio online? Let us know if we missed one in the comments below!

5 Reasons PlayStation Brand Loyalty is 2x as High As Xbox

WARNING: Microsoft Xbox fans, you may want to do some deep breathing before this one. A recent survey by BluePromoCode has once and for all put an end to the Xbox vs PlayStation debate. Well, at least an end to the question of who has the highest brand loyalty.

The survey, which questioned 155 console-owning Americans, accurately found that more US gamers currently own an Xbox 360 than a PlayStation 3. No surprises there. What is surprising is that current Xbox 360 owners were split 50/50 between purchasing an Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. PlayStation 3 owners however, were much more likely to stay with their brand. 93% of PlayStation gamers said they would be sticking with Sony and buying the PlayStation 4. Even gamers who currently own both gaming consoles were more likely to become PlayStation gamers (50%) than Xbox (17%), or even buying both again (33%).

PlayStation gamers have PLENTY of brand loyalty. But why?

5 Reasons for High PlayStation Brand Loyalty

  1. PlayStation’s commitment to affordability being cheaper than Xbox. The Xbox 360 required gamers to pay a subscription fee to play online and use apps like Netflix via Xbox Live. The PlayStation 3 online experience was completely free. While the PlayStation 4 will require a subscription, it’s still $10 cheaper than Xbox Live, $49.99 and $59.99 respectively. The lower overall cost of playing the PlayStation online is a major factor in high PlayStation brand loyalty and should continue to hold true, benefiting Sony in the battle between Xbox and PlayStation.
  2. Xbox came later on the scene. When the first Xbox came out, Sony had already been through an entire video game console life. The Xbox had to compete with the PlayStation 2. Some of the high PlayStation brand loyalty among gamers can be attributed to the simple fact that it came before the Xbox.
  3. Bad taste from the Xbox Red Ring of Death. While the Red Ring of Death was upsetting Xbox 360 gamers, PlayStation 3 gamers were seamlessly playing their favorite titles. And while Sony currently has a little death-light issue with less than 1% of PlayStation 4s, Xbox is still having their own problems. Those who were completely turned off by the Xbox 360s Red Ring of Death likely made the switch to the PlayStation.
  4. PlayStation’s attention to detail… literally. If you compare the new Call of Duty on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 you’ll notice the PlayStation 4 looks better. That’s because it plays games on full 1080p while the Xbox One does 720p. Sony has always been devoted to killer graphics and their fans love it, thus the high PlayStation brand loyalty!
  5. Can it be about the controller? If the visual gameplay is the canvas, the controller is the paint brush. Ask fans of either system and they will tell you that their system has the better controller. With a brand new touch pad on the PlayStation DualShock, Sony is looking to “control” an even larger portion of not-so-devoted Xbox gamers.

This is a huge win for Sony heading into one of the most competitive holiday seasons on memory. The PlayStation 4 debuted on November 15th and moved over 1 million units in its first weekend. The Xbox One debuted exactly one week later on November 22nd and achieved the same feat. There has been little doubt that these systems would be the hottest items of the 2013 Christmas season. It’s the future of video gaming that is uncertain. And since both consoles have similar new features and specs, Xbox or PlayStation brand loyalty could be a huge factor in deciding the Console King.

Check out this infographic from BluePromoCode and then head to the BluePromoCode blog to see more about their findings. Is PlayStation brand loyalty really twice as high as Xbox brand loyalty? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Xbox vs PlayStation Brand Loyalty
Click image to enlarge.

Win a PS4: The BluePromoCode PlayStation 4 Giveaway

BluePromoCode PlayStation 4 Giveaway

Less than a month after it’s release and the PlayStation 4 is proving to be as elusive as a unicorn! Stores are short on PS4 inventory and gamers are looking for this bad boy left and right. While unicorn supplies are unlikely to rebound in time for Christmas, it’s not completely ridiculous to think about finding a PlayStation 4 this holiday season. Even for free!

BluePromoCode, a leading online marketplace for coupons and promo codes, is giving away a brand new PlayStation 4 500GB in a limited time holiday giveaway right now. And it’s an easy one to enter: earn entries by liking on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter and +1ing on Google+. In total, there are 11 ways to earn entries and none of them involve donating a kidney. Lucky you!

The BluePromoCode PlayStation 4 Giveaway started on Wednesday, November 27th and will conclude on Wednesday, December 11th at exactly 12PM PST. The winner will be randomly selected and announced on Thursday, December 12th on the BluePromoCode Facebook page. Happy entering and good luck!

Why Black Friday TV Deals Aren’t “Deals” At All

In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, retailers have a ball throwing up announcements detailing massive savings on “top products” – particularly Black Friday TV deals, always the headliner of any retailer’s holiday offerings. There’s no arguing the discounts: they are undeniably the deepest price cuts many items will see this season. Despite that fact, Black Friday deals on TVs are not the avenues to savings one might think.

Black Friday TV Deal

The Low Quality TVs of “Black Friday TV Deals”

The most obvious problem with Black Friday TV deals is a pretty easy one to notice: the items being put on sale are of lower quality than the ones people would normally consider purchasing any of the other 364 days in a year. The cheapest items – the ones put on the front page of most circulars and headlining most email blasts – are pretty much guaranteed to be among the lowest quality products of its kind. Or last year’s model at a slightly reduced price! Look at the front page of WalMart’s Black Friday circular: it lists a 32-inch Funai (who?) 720p television for $98.

Fantastic deal, right? Not so fast. The Funai model’s 720p resolution and 60hz refresh rate immediately stand out as reasons not to buy this television. It’s a television built on half-decade old technology and left behind by the advances of the last few years.

In simpler terms, the phrase “you get what you pay for” still holds a lot of weight on Black Friday, even though the brightly-colored sale signs like to suggest otherwise. There are still plenty of deals to be found on great televisions – Best Buy has a nice collection of 1080p, 50″+ TV’s, for example – but when it comes to the items being advertised front and center, the “deals” aren’t as sweet as they look.

Black Friday TV Deals 2

Avoid the Black Friday Stress

More so, the ever-growing frenzy around Black Friday guarantees a stressful shopping trip, as hundreds of customers try and take advantage of “Doorbuster” and “Early Bird” sales. It’s not only an inconvenience for shoppers, but for employees who find themselves pushed away from their families on Thanksgiving to work overnight (or in some cases, on Thanksgiving itself, a new and disgusting retail trend that’s beginning to take hold). Standing in line, fighting over products, making your way through crowded masses of people searching for the biggest sales on specific products… for better or worse, Black Friday TV deals are a first come, first serve event on a massive scale, one that can be frustrating. And in some cases, dangerous.

There are plenty of other factors I could point to that suggest Black Friday is the last day one might want to do their holiday shopping – but in 2013, the prevalence of dressing up mediocre products as “great deals” and the ever-growing concern for human safety and sanity make Black Friday strictly a Play At Your Own Risk kind of adventure. Is it worth all that to get a great deal on a perfectly average piece of technology? That’s for you to decide.

I know where I’ll be on Black Friday: at home watching movies on my perfectly good used TV and decorating the house.