The Big Holiday Decision: Xbox One or PlayStation 4?

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Feeling like you haven’t had this much trouble making a decision since Leno and Letterman first went head-to-head?
That’s okay, the debut of the new Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles — conveniently just in time for the holidays — means countless people just like you are also debating which to buy for the very psyched gamers in their families. Both represent a big leap in graphics, speed and intelligent personalization. Both have tons of games sure to please.
That said, a Forbes reviewer was dead-on when he wrote: “Both consoles are going to appeal to different gamers.” Here’s what you need to know:
* Cost. The starting price for Sony’s PlayStation 4 ($399.99) is $100 less than Microsoft’s Xbox One ($499.99). But while the latter ships with Microsoft’s powerful new generation of Kinect motion and voice sensor — which can even read a player’s heart rate just by looking at his face — you’ll have to pay $60 extra if you want the PlayStation Eye camera.
* Overall Emphasis. Microsoft is touting the Xbox One as an “all-in-one entertainment system” that brings games, movies, music, sports and live TV together in one place, and says it “really does feel like some elaborate piece of home theater gear.” Sony, on the other hand, is playing up what the Guardian’s tech columnist calls its “sheer variety of gaming experiences.”
* The Controllers. It all comes down to personal preference.
Sony has done yeoman’s work in upgrading its new DualShock 4 controller to include more precise analog sticks, a touch pad, a light-sensor bar and a “share” button. And while Microsoft obviously didn’t feel the need to mess much with its classic design, says the Xbox One’s new impulse triggers “could make first person shooters that much more immersive.”
* Games. Ah, yes, the games. Each console has an impressive list of exclusive titles. PlayStation 4’s include sci-fi blaster “Killzone: Shadow Fall” and family-friendly adventure “Knack.” Among the Xbox One’s collection: super-sleek driving simulator “Forza Motorsport 5,” zombie romp “Dead Rising 3” and gladiator-themed “Ryse: Son of Rome.”
Still unsure? You could always head over to the nearest GameStop store ( to see which consoles and games the true aficionados are buying. As of early November, the retail giant’s “first to know” mailing list for both consoles had more than — are you ready? — 2.2 million subscribers.
“People can’t wait to get their hands on them,” says Tony Bartel, president of GameStop.

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