The official sticker price of the Xbox One is $500, but be prepared to spend a lot more if you want the best experience.
Just like Sony’s PlayStation 4, the Xbox One includes a single wireless controller. As Microsoft revealed over the weekend, additional Xbox One controllers will cost $60–same as the PS4. That’s where the similarities end.
Whereas the PlayStation 4 controller has a built-in rechargeable battery, the Xbox One controller runs on AA batteries out of the box. If you don’t want battery life to get in the way of your play time on the Xbox One, you must purchase a $25 Play and Charge kit, which includes a rechargeable battery pack and charging cable. Either that, or you can keep your controller tethered to the console via a micro USB connection at all times. This connection will power the controller, but it won’t charge your batteries.
Should you decide to buy a second controller, you can get a bundle with the Play and Charge kit for $75. The grand total, then, is $600 for the console and two controllers with rechargeable batteries.
It gets worse: If you’re into online gaming, you might want a headset to chat with friends. That’s another $25 with Microsoft’s console. Add that to the cost of the two controllers and charge kits, and now you’re up to $625. And you still haven’t bought any games yet.
Let’s compare that to Sony’s PlayStation 4: One controller is included. Each controller has its own battery pack, which can be charged with any micro USB cable. You can buy a couple of 10-foot cables on Amazon for about $3. The PS4 also includes a wired headset. Put it all together, and you’re at about $466 for a console, two controllers and a headset. Should you decide to tack on Sony’s PlayStation 4 Camera, that brings the total to $526–still far less expensive than the Xbox One with similar accessories.
One more thing, confirmed last month and reiterated by Sony this week: If you want to use apps like Netflix, chat with friends or partake in free-to-play games on the PS4, there’s no additional cost. On the Xbox One, all of those services require a $60 per year Xbox Live subscription. Sony only requires a subscription for online multiplayer, and at $50 per year, it’s $10 cheaper than Microsoft’s online service.
None of these things automatically make the PlayStation 4 a better console than the Xbox One. Having played with both consoles at E3, I found myself more intrigued by Microsoft’s exclusive games, its television plans and the next version of Kinect. I’m not making any final judgments on quality until both consoles are on the market.
Still, as the extra costs of an Xbox One add up, it’s become increasingly clear that the PlayStation 4 is a better value.