In a few short months Moms and Dads around the world are going to hear an endless refrain of "Buy me this." And we'd better be ready.
"This," in this case, is either the new Xbox One or the new PS4, two game consoles that are about to bop onto Christmas lists thanks to amazing graphics, cool games, and some heavy advertising hype.
So what are these new consoles? And should you upgrade?
First, let's talk about Sony and Microsoft's new vision for gaming. In this brave new world Gamestop is nearly dead and there are very few second-hand disks. In fact, games will mostly be available via download rather than on disk. This move, one that caused a great deal of gamer outcry, is a definite attack on the gaming aftermarket.
These consoles will also be highly connected. Most games will allow for massively multiplayer online play including. One racing game, DriveClub, will feature races that involve hundreds of racers at once and let you race against the "ghosts" of other players. This game is stunningly accurate - the cars look like real cars on screen - and the entire experience will be free at launch.
Ryse: Son of Rome is an Xbox title that looks like a travel video of ancient Italy. It's amazing - the graphics are fluid and amazingly detailed - and the environment is expansive. Titles like this should keep the family entertained for hours (provided that's what you want them to be doing all through their Christmas vacation.)
These consoles will have a number of sharing features that let you record videos of your games, share high scores on Facebook, and meet friends for a quick game. There is also improved Kinect interaction for the Xbox One, taking in room 3D sensing to a whole other level.
How hard will these things hit your wallet? The Xbox One starts at $499 and will ship on November 22. The PS4 costs $399 and launches on November 15. Bundles of games will definitely add a few hundred dollars to that mix as well.
So which one will be the hit of the season? I suspect the Xbox One will hit on all cylinders, making it popular with kids and adults both. PS4 is primarily a console for older gamers so maybe Dad will like it more than the kiddos. That said, demand for both devices is high so if you're thinking of picking one up I'd recommend an Amazon pre-order. There's nothing worse than waking up on Christmas morning and not being able to play against millions of people in a highly-detailed, heart-stopping racing game, right?
Will you get any of these?
Image via Kari Sullivan /Flickr