With the PlayStation 4 launch today and the Xbox One coming next week, you may be asking yourself, “What can these game consoles do that is truly new?” Let’s find out.

Today is launch day for Sony’s latest weapon in the war to win living rooms, the PlayStation 4. Microsoft will return fire next Friday with the Xbox One and its improved Kinect camera. Both companies are offering powerful machines that can play graphically impressive games, but what else can they do? What is the newness that makes spending hundreds of dollars worth it?


Compared to their predecessors, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 move quickly. It takes less than a minute to boot up and get into a game. And what about new games? Both systems have a handy feature for those who are downloading games: You can start playing the game in the middle of the download, once a certain threshold of data is met. This number will differ from game to game, but it could be anywhere from 10% and up.

“One of the things that we noticed as we developed the PlayStation 4 was that the console portion of the game industry needed to reconcile the immediacy issue of tablets and mobile,” John Koller, PlayStation’s VP of Marketing for Home Consoles and Handheld Platforms, said. “They have gotten a lot quicker with the time to start a game and the console world did not. We set out to solve that and get people into gaming quicker.” On the PS4, you can even decide if you want to download the single player campaign or the multiplayer mode first. Likewise, when a game is being installed to the system, you can start playing before the entire thing is installed, with the rest of the installation happening in the background.

Read the full article at Fast Company.