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PlayStation 4 vs. Xbox One: Which is Right For You?

Tickers in this article: MSFT SNE

By Craig Donofrio

NEW YORK (MainStreet)--Both Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One have been revealed and will be released later this year. They both play games, sure, but there's more to them than that. These machines are gaming console milestones with the potential to be either your living room's cutting-edge multimedia cornerstone, or a traditional gaming powerhouse. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One offer unique skillsets and different price points, so before you preorder one, you should know which one is best for you.

Price

The Xbox One is priced at $499, and the PlayStation 4 is set at $399. However, be prepared to shell out another $50 or more if you want access for either system's online perks and multiplayer services.

Subscription services

If you're planning on using the new Xbox for any of its apps or multiplayer gaming, you will have to pay a monthly fee. Microsoft requires you to pay for any real Internet access via their Xbox Live Gold service, even if you're only using it to access your Netflix queue (yes, the one you already pay a monthly fee for). A 12-month subscription typically goes for $60, although with some bargain hunting (sometimes just by checking Amazon) you can find it for around $50 or less.

Similarly, you'll need a PlayStation Plus account for most multiplayer games. However, you won't need a Plus account to access your apps. A one-year Plus subscription will run you $50.

If you currently have a PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold account, you will be able to use it with your PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, respectively.

DRM Restrictions

Update: June 19, 7 p.m.

You know how when you 'buy' a Kindle book, you're more of a licensee than an owner? Console games are also entering the world of Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions, and there was fear that the Xbox One would follow suit.

As of this afternoon, however, Microsoft has completely reversed its gaming DRM restrictions for the Xbox One. Microsoft published the announcement, written by Microsoft's president of interactive media Don Mattrick, mon the Xbox website.

Microsoft will no longer require a 24-hour online check-in, allowing you to play offline games whenever you want, and without ever having to connect to the Internet again. Microsoft is also removing mandated DRM restrictions on game trading, so you can "play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360," wrote Mattrick. Downloaded games will not be able to be traded or shared, which is the same as it is now.

Now that DRM is basically a non-issue, the two systems are closer than ever.

The PlayStation 4 doesn't have the check-in requirements for its games, and Sony has promised its first-party games to be DRM-free, so you can trade them around like current console games. But the new PlayStation isn't DRM-free bliss, either. Sony has said it's up to third-party publishers to impose DRM restrictions.

For the moment, it seems unlikely that DRM restrictions will be the game-changer in the console war, at least not at first. According to Matthew Sakey, a games industry consultant and gaming expert, DRM may indeed prove to be a problem for next-gen system buyers but only after they've bought it. "I doubt it will be a deciding factor in deciding which--or whether--to purchase," he said.