1 2 This has been a longer-than-usual console cycle filled with new peripherals, revisions, and many, many bundles, but now we’ve met the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One.The next-gen is just a few months away and as of E3 2013 the curtain has been almost fully pulled back. All the vital information about the Xbox One and PS4 has been revealed now that we have a good idea of the game lineup, the hardware, used game policies, and, most importantly, the prices.A few months ago we nominally met the PlayStation 4, then the Xbox One was revealed on May 21st. Both events were interesting, but lacking in critical information. As of this week, we officially have that information and are ready to put the Xbox One and PS4 head-to-head.Xbox One vs PS4: HardwareIt’s been a few years since AMD has scored any major wins in the hardware space as Intel continues to rule the PC market. However, the Xbox One will run on an 8-core 64-bit x86 Jaguar AMD CPU/GPU combo known as an APU. In the case of the PS4, Sony also opted for an 8-core x86-64 AMD Jaguar, but the GPU is about one third more powerful in the PS4. This likely won’t make much difference with launch titles, but as the hardware ages, Sony should have a slight edge. Remember, the PS3 had great power, but it was very difficult to unlock because of the Cell architecture. Now both platforms run on x86, so the PS4 will be as easy to program for, and Sony-focused studios want be the only developers able to get the full experience from the PlayStation’s hardare.As for memory, both devices will be packing 8GB of high-speed RAM. Microsoft is using DDR3, while Sony is using GDDR5 RAM, which is both spendy and speedy. The PlayStation 4 will have a local hard drive that is expected to be 500GB, and can be switched out at the user’s convenience, just like you could with the PS3. The Xbox One will rock a 500GB built-in hard drive as well, but cannot be switched out. No secondary console models (later or smaller drives, or with SSDs) have been announced yet.We already know that the Xbox One will not support hard drive swapping/upgrading, but Sony has not yet announced the PS4’s support for this.After its experiment with DVD and HD-DVD, Microsoft has had little choice but to hop on the Blu-ray bandwagon. You can finally throw out that HD-DVD version of King Kong — it’s over. The Xbox One will playback Blu-ray movies, and games will be on Blu-ray discs. However, there are some caveats in that respect that we’ll cover shortly. Sony is again including a Blu-ray drive for movies and games, satisfied in its victory.Xbox One vs PS4: The new controllersEvery new gaming console comes with new controllers — it’s nothing unexpected. What’s unique about this generation is that they’re also coming with new cameras out of the gate (for an additional fee). Rather than build Kinect into the Xbox One, the new camera has been pumped up. It’s a bit larger, more angular, and much more sensitive. It’s got HD resolution, and can detect as little as a 1% change in position.Along with voice controls, Kinect is at the heart of Microsoft’s big new UI paradigm. Just wave and shout at your Xbox and it does stuff! The PS4 will have a new peripheral, the successor to the often forgotten PS Eye, called (creatively) the PlayStation 4 Eye. This is basically a Kinect clone right down to the voice interaction. Sony has only said the cameras are “high-sensitivity.” However, it will still have some PS Move DNA, as evidenced by the Move functionality of the new controller. We won’t know how well this works until Sony graces us with a full demo.As for the controllers, they’re definitely recognizable as coming from one camp or the other. Sony’s DualShock 4 has better triggers, a built-in speaker, and concave thumbstick pads. Right up at the top is a Share button, which is used to blast game replays and multiplayer content out across the PSN. There is also a touch-sensitive area in the middle of the controller. Microsoft worked to streamline an already good controller. The new Xbox One controller has slimmed down a little bit, making it easier to hold. That big battery pack from the backside has been removed, making it a bit more like the PS4 controller in overall shape.The one change that will probably make the biggest impact on gamers is the revamped d-pad. The controller now has a Nintendo-style ‘+’ pad instead of the weird tipping directional arrows from the 360.