Xbox One And PS4: New Consoles, Old Problems?

George Tsemberlis, Kapitall: Are the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One new consoles set for a smooth, or rocky launch?

As  Microsoft (MSFT) and  Sony (SNE) enter the home stretch for this month’s releases of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 game consoles, both companies have possibly troubling news about their soon to be launched hardware.

[Learn more with our infographic:  Next Gen Gaming with New Xbox One and PS4 Consoles ]

Privacy concerns, dropped launch features and other hardware changes have some gamers worried, and bring to mind the day-one issues that plagued the last console generation.

Click on the interactive chart below to see prices for both companies over the last console generation.

The Xbox One launch is scheduled for November 22. Game developers report that late iterations of Microsoft’s Software Development Kit (SDK) and the Xbox One operating system have been buggy and in some instances crashing, lengthening the already tight QA and submission process for launch day games.

Developers have also been claiming that graphically, the Xbox One is not as robust as the PS4, which has put Microsoft on damage control as gamers decide which system to purchase.

Customers are expressing privacy concerns raised by the integration of the Microsoft Kinect into the Xbox One console. Microsoft has acknowledged that the Kinect camera will use:
  • Ambient conversations
  • Voice chat
  • Even the faces/skeletal structures of people in the room.
  • All of which will provide information to Microsoft, developers, and third-party marketers.

Microsoft is reassuring customers that information will not be personally identifiable, and that privacy opt-outs and the ability to turn off the system will be functional at release.

There is worrisome news about the PS4 as well. Sony recently released a massive FAQ detailing the launch titles and features, and many have been cut or will be disabled at launch, resulting in a sizable backlash from the gamer community.

  • The PS4 requires a day-one firmware patch to enable several features.
  • It will not support Suspend/Resume at launch.
  • And the PS4 will not support the ability to connect an external hard drive for additional storage.

With next-generation AAA games clocking in at 50gb install sizes for a digital release, the PS4’s initial 500gb hard drive size could fill up very fast. PS4 users can swap out the internal hard drive as long as it falls within certain specifications.

Gamers are most upset however about Sony’s decision to cut media server support. Current game consoles support third party media server software, to allow users to stream music and video content from their PCs or other devices to their console for playback.

With this change, gamers will likely be forced to purchase media from the Sony store, which some see as an unnecessary extra cost for people who enjoy playing games to their own soundtrack.

Launch problems in a new console are not unheard of. The Xbox 360 and PS3 both suffered from crippling hardware problems at launch, that were corrected in later iterations of hardware. But will this keep early adopters at home on release day?

Click on the interactive chart below to see data over time. 

Will the new console generation get off to a smooth start? Use the list below as a starting point for your own analysis.

1. Microsoft Corporation ( MSFT): Develops, licenses, and supports a range of software products and services for various computing devices worldwide. Market cap at $259.95B, most recent closing price at $31.15.


2. Sony Corporation ( SNE): Designs, develops, manufactures, and sells electronic equipment, instruments, and devices for consumer, professional, and industrial markets worldwide. Market cap at $21.25B, most recent closing price at $21.02.


( List compiled by George Tsemberlis, a Kapitall Writer. All charts sourced from Zacks Investment Research. All other data sourced from Finviz)