PS4 vs Xbox One: which console will win the race?

Need for Speed Rivals review screenshots 4
11 Dec, 2013 5:50pm Joe Finnerty

Should you buy the Xbox One or PS4 if you want the best racing games this Christmas?

The two new next-gen consoles are going head-to-head this Christmas but which one boasts the best racing games?

We wanted to know whether those wanting to tear up the track over the festive season should opt for Microsoft's Xbox One or Sony's Playstation 4. Each console has its own ‘exclusive’ games and if you want something to unwrap on Christmas Day, the Xbox One wins hands down.

That’s because Forza Motorsport 5 was released alongside the Xbox launch and features 200 cars and 14 circuits. These numbers may sound impressive but it's actually half of what was present in the previous version as creator Turn 10 places an emphasis on quality over quantity in its next-gen debut.

The racing simulator has received good reviews and offers single-play, split-screen multiplayer and online modes. With the McLaren P1 as its box art, gamers are in no doubt where the focus lies with top-end sportscars racing on famous tracks including Spa and Circuit de la Sarthe – the home of Le Mans.

Over at Sony, DriveClub was seen as the rival to Forza but its planned release alongside the PS4 launch was delayed.

It promises to be ‘socially-connected’ and will offer a more arcade-style of gameplay than Forza 5 but gamers will need to wait until February - no good to Christmas shoppers.

Available on both is Need for Speed: Rivals - the latest game in the hugely successful series.

If you’re after more freedom away from the track and enjoy customising exotic cars and high-speed police chases then this is the game for you. Need for Speed doesn’t disappoint on the graphics front either and features a dynamic weather system, making full use of the high-spec consoles.

The Xbox One is priced at £429 while the PS4 is slightly cheaper at £349. Both have similar AMD processors and graphics cards installed although the PS4 pulls ahead with a better memory system.

For driving games, having full control over what’s happening on screen is vital and both companies have decided to go with mild alterations to its tried and tested controllers. If isn’t broke, don’t fix it is the message from Sony and Microsoft.

The biggest disappointment for many racing fans keen to pick up a new console this Christmas will be the absence of Gran Turismo 6 on PS4. The latest incarnation of what is widely considered the most accurate and detailed racing simulator on the market was released on PS3 at the start of December.

Neither Sony or Microsoft have made their new consoles ‘backwards compatible’ meaning you can’t transfer Gran Turismo 6 onto the newer version or dig out that old dog-eared version of Crash Bandicoot either.

While Gran Turismo 7 is due for release on PS4 sometime in 2014, the smart money for racing game fans keen to play at Christmas is the Xbox One.

Having said that, the best option might be to stick with your older console this Christmas and enjoy the refined abilities of existing titles such as Gran Turismo 6, Grand Theft Auto V and Forza Motorsport 4.