T3 Smackdown: Xbox One X vs PS4 Pro

Which 4K titan will come out on top?

The PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X seemingly mark a shift in the console market towards iterative hardware over more traditional updates that console gamers are used to. Both 4K consoles support the existing libraries of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One respectively and neither will have exclusive games, but offer new features in the form of better resolutions, frame rates, and in some instances graphics. 

Yesterday, Microsoft announced the Xbox One X, a console that looks similar to the Xbox One S on the outside, but contains copious amounts of power under the hood with Microsoft branding the console as ‘the most powerful console’ ever made. We already know that the One X has more teraflops than the PlayStation 4 Pro, but we want to see how it stacks up overall against Sony’s 4K titan to see which console comes out on top. 

Xbox One X vs PS4 Pro specs

Both the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro are technical behemoths that boast incredible amounts of power. However, when it comes to actual specs, the Xbox One X is the newer console and so it would be wrong if it didn't trump the PlayStation 4 Pro in every category, and it does. 

Essentially, the Xbox One X is more powerful than the PlayStation 4 Pro, that’s why at its E3 2017 showcase, Microsoft were keen to express that the Xbox One X is a true 4K titan that can output games at a native 4K rather than upscaling in the same way the PS4 Pro does in some instances. The Redmond based company showed off the X’s technical muscle with a gameplay demo of Forza Motorsport 7 that will run at a native 4K resolution and keep a frame-rate locked in at 60 frames-per-second. When you see how incredible the cars look and how you can literally make out the individual grains of sand on the Jebel Hafeet pass you realise why the company has made such a big deal about the internals of the newly announced console. 

Meanwhile, the PlayStation 4 Pro doesn't exactly lack power, but because the specs aren't quite up to snuff compared to the Xbox One X, it does mean that in some games players have to choose between an enhancement in resolution or frame-rate, this is exactly the case with flagship titles such as Horizon Zero Dawn, you can’t always have both with the PS4 Pro. 

Xbox One X vs PS4 Pro games

PlayStation has been hitting home run after home run in the games department since the console’s inception. Exclusives like Uncharted 4, Horizon Zero Dawn, Bloodborne and Ratchet and Clank give gamers a reason to flock to the system. Furthermore, with games such as Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, The Last of Us Part II, God Of War and Days Gone all announced, the PS4 is a shining example that exclusive games matter. 

Sony isn't just killing it on the first party front either, until now, there has always been a wealth of content available from third party games such as Destiny and Call of Duty receiving DLC first on Sony’s platform. 

If you get a PlayStation 4, you know that you’re buying into a console that has ten first party studios all creating games that you can only play on PlayStation that is bolstered by incredibly loyal third party support. 

The Xbox has been a relatively shaky platform for exclusives this generation with big titles such as Fable Legends and Scalebound being cancelled as well as former system sellers such as Halo and Gears of War not breaking the bank in terms of sales numbers. 

After the reveal of the Xbox One X, Microsoft boasted that 42 games would be shown on their E3 stage with 22 being exclusive to Xbox One, what the company didn't mention was that a significant amount of these games are timed exclusives, that means that they will come to PlayStation at some point in the future. 

If you own an Xbox One, you have games like Crackdown 3, Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2 and Metro Exodus to look forward to. However, although these titles have a ton of appeal to gamers, they don’t pack the same punch that having an exclusive Spider Man game does on PlayStation 4 for instance. 

When the Xbox One X launches on November 7, the two big games that Microsoft claims gamers will be able to pick up on day one are Crackdown 3 and Super Lucky's Tale, the former of which is highly anticipated and will surely be a blast to play. However, the latter is a game that was reviewed as more of an unremarkable platform than anything else. The games category of this comparison definitely goes to Sony. 

Xbox One X vs PS4 Pro design

The Xbox One X is an ergonomic masterpiece. The design of the console is visually striking when you think about the amount of power that is being crammed into such a small device, especially when you factor in the original design of the Xbox One when it was released in 2013. You have to admire technologies like the Liquid-cooled vapour chamber housed inside the X that allows the console to keep cool while outputting games at a native 4K with incredibly steady frame-rates. 

The PS4 Pro isn't gargantuan by any means, but the console does remind you that it’s the more powerful version of the PlayStation 4 with its extra base. 

Both consoles look sleek with both designs reflecting the prior models that have come before them. However, the Xbox One X has to take the title for best design for the simple and elegant nature of the hardware combined the incredible advancements Microsoft has made since the initial Xbox One launch. 

Xbox One X vs PS4 Pro content

Where the Xbox One does launch a killer blow on the PS4 Pro is on the content front; the Xbox One X comes equipped with an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive that allows you to experience 4K content without having to worry about the strain on your internet connection. Although the X won’t compete with dedicated content players due to its lack of a second HDMI-out for sound, it will support Dolby Atmos, meaning Microsoft’s new content will be great for content viewing. 

Despite owning Blu-ray, Sony decided not to include an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive in the PS4 Pro — the device doesn't support Dolby’s new Atmos technology either, meaning you won’t be trumping traditional 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound systems any time soon. The lack of support for Ultra HD Blu-rays does mean that PlayStation owners aren't future-proofed in terms of a content viewing experience. 

Xbox One X vs PS4 Pro verdict

The Xbox One X trumps the PlayStation 4 Pro in almost every category; the hardware provides the best content viewing experience thanks to its Dolby Atmos support and Ultra HD Blu-ray drive and blows the Pro away in the spec department. However, the X comes up short on the gaming front, and this is exactly what matters most in a games console. Sony has a ton of exclusives lined up for 2017 and beyond, when you buy a PlayStation 4 Pro you know that you’re going to get an incredible lineup for exclusive first party games combined with dedicated third party support. You’re going to get all of this with a console that is able to output games in 4K. 

The Xbox One X is an incredible console, but Microsoft needs to understand that it’s not about the quantity of exclusive games, it’s really about the quality. When Microsoft is competing against Sony that has some of the best developers in the industry in the form of Naughty Dog, Sucker Punch and Guerrilla Games creating incredible experiences for the platform, it needs to have experiences that match and even surpass what’s available on PlayStation. The Xbox One X doesn't have that yet, but Microsoft is on the right track by locking down exclusives such as Metro Exodus, the company needs to continue moves like this to stand a chance of shaking up the current console war climate.