Sony's PS4 tops Xbox One as gamers' holiday choice

Sony's PS4 tops Xbox One as gamers' holiday choice

SAN FRANCISCO - More US shoppers prefer Sony Corp's upcoming PlayStation 4 than Microsoft Corp's Xbox One, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, as the industry's two leading videogame console makers prepare to do battle this holiday season.

Asked about their interest in dedicated game devices, 26 per cent of 1,297 people surveyed online last week say they are likely to purchase the new PlayStation 4 when available, versus 15 per cent opting for the Xbox One.

The rift widens among those below the age of 40. Of that group of 408 people, 41 per cent picked Sony's PS4 versus 27 per cent for Microsoft's Xbox One, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted from Sept 23 to Sept 27.

Though based on a limited sample, the results potentially point to a lopsided battle during the crucial holiday season, with Microsoft and Sony hoping to get their newest consoles into US households. Apart from games, they act as conduits for living-room entertainment, from TV shows to music. Microsoft came under fire from gamers after initially saying it would set restrictions on used games, and require an Internet connection to play. After a flurry of complaints, the company reversed its policies in June. In contrast, Sony has consistently touted support for used games and offline gameplay at industry events. And the PS4 comes US$100 (S$126) cheaper.

Sony said at video game industry trade show in Germany that it had received more than 1 million pre-orders for its upcoming console, while Microsoft has revealed only that preorders for the Xbox One exceeded those of its predecessor, the 360, eight years ago.

Microsoft "couldn't make up their mind and Sony hadn't wavered from the beginning," said 26-year-old gamer Christopher Turner from Salem, Alabama, who intends to spend his cash on the PS4. "The PlayStation 4 is for both hardcore and casual gamers."

But 56-year-old participant Jon Leigh, who plays six to 10 hours of video games a week and lives in Harlan, Kentucky, thinks the Microsoft controversy won't sway Xbox fans.

"People who use Microsoft products will continue to use them, he said. Leigh will go with the Xbox One because of its upgraded "Kinect" motion sensor, and because he's more familiar with the Xbox than the PlayStation.

The US$399 PS4 and US$499 Xbox One represent the first major upgrades of mainstream gaming hardware in years, setting game developers scrambling to put out new releases that take advantage of better graphics and faster processors.

They are scheduled to hit store shelves from mid-November, about a year after Nintendo's slow-selling Wii U. Of the 1,297 respondents, only 3 per cent said they now played games on the Wii U, versus 20 per cent on the Xbox 360, 20 per cent on computers, and 18 per cent on Sony's PlayStation 3.

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