2013 should be the best holiday shopping game console slobberknocker in years. Sony had its big PlayStation 4 launch last week, and now this Friday is the Xbox One's big day. With each console launching well over a month before the end of gift-getting (and gift-giving) season, we're sure to be in for the type of craze that will make the whole Tickle Me Elmo thing look like a blip on the map.
But which console should you put under your tree (or, if you have huge feet, shove in your stocking)? In an effort to help pick which console to get that special someone and/or yourself this holiday, we've compiled the best chunks of the reviews for the PlayStation 4 and now the Xbox One. Read on below if you're game.
We call it...the LAST WORD
Microsoft Xbox One
The Xbox One’s revolution nearly failed at the first hurdle. But now it has recovered with fervor and the revolution is underway, albeit imperfectly. Despite its occasionally choppy interface, its unremarkable design and its high price tag, Xbox One is changing the way gamers use their consoles.
With TV integration and a solid set of launch titles, the Xbox One has positioned itself at the very front of the console race. Let the battle commence!
Adam Shaw, Fox News
...After spending the last two weeks tinkering with the Xbox One, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised by just how much fun it was to play. There were a predictable number of technical pre-launch glitches that Microsoft assured me would be ironed out come launch day on Friday. But the Xbox One really is a compelling piece of hardware, complete with a strong lineup of launch games. And that's more than I could say for Sony's PlayStation 4, which arrived last Friday.
...How does it all add up? Like the legions of gamers that flocked to pick up the PlayStation 4 last week, I admired Sony's new console because of its incredible promise. Microsoft, on the other hand, has already begun to deliver on the promises it made with the Xbox One.
Yannick LeJacq, NBC News
Today, the Xbox One is a great gaming console with a few great games — Zoo Tycoon and Forza are both excellent, better than anything currently available for the PS4, and Dead Rising is a blast even if it’s flawed. Whether or not the Xbox is better than the PS4 is entirely subjective: if you're committed to buying a console this holiday season, buy the one with the games you want. It's too soon to make a call on almost any other feature. Don't buy an Xbox One expecting to immediately throw out your entertainment center.
The Xbox One is here for a decade. If Microsoft can deliver on all its promises in that time, it will have built a console truly worthy of Input One — but that's a big if.
...in many ways, the Xbox One's bold direction for the future is well in place. The integration of voice controls and its media strategy are a boon to everyone, and the ability to run apps while playing games is something we now want on every gaming console we have. That it has a handful of strong, exclusive games at launch only supports its legitimacy as a gaming console and not just an entertainment hub.
The Xbox One is an impressive marriage of software and hardware that raises the bar in terms of what we expect from a living-room machine. Looking forward more than it looks back, the Xbox One feels like it's from the future.
Would I recommend buying the Xbox One? If you already have a 360 and aren’t absolutely dying for any of the launch titles, I would say hold off for now. Give developers a bit of time to figure out the console’s inner workings. Let the must-have titles get made. If your 360 is on its last leg or you skipped the last generation, however, it’s a solid buy as is.
Greg Kumparak, TechCrunch
I admire what Microsoft is trying to do with the Xbox One, and I'm rooting for them to give their console that final push to get it to where it needs to be. The whole thing is almost there. The Kinect almost works well enough to get me to use it all the time. The TV integration is almost smooth enough to make me plug it into the heart of my living-room setup. Multitasking almost works well enough to get me checking the internet while I play games.
The skeptic in me says that while many technology manufacturers seem hell-bent on making the next great convergence device, technology tends to diverge. New devices are more likely to take on a role we didn't know we wanted (e.g. people now own a smartphone, a laptop and a tablet) instead of pulling together multiple roles we didn't realize could be combined. Successful convergence devices like the iPhone will forever inspire others to swim upstream, attempting to replicate a one-in-a-million success. Will our living rooms ever be governed by a single device? And if so, will that device be the Xbox One?
Kirk Hamilton, Kotaku
The Xbox One may not be exactly what Microsoft thinks it is, but it's still a strong start for a powerful game console. Its sheer speed, versatility, horsepower and its ability to turn on and off with words make it a relatively seamless entry into our already crowded media center. What determines whether it stays there is the next 12 months: Exclusives like Titanfall and Quantum Break will help, as will gaining feature parity with the competition (we're looking at you, game broadcasting!). For broader success beyond just the early adopter's living room, the NFL crowd must buy in to Microsoft's $500 box. But will they? That remains to be seen. What's there so far is a very competent game box with an expensive camera and only a few exclusive games differentiating it from the competition.
Ben Gilbert, Engadget
In short, buy an Xbox One if and when there are enough exclusive games to convince you it's worth the expense. At that point, the extra media features that the Xbox One brings to the table will be nice fringe benefits, and these options may be more stable and usable than they are right now. If you can live without those platform exclusives, though, and if you can do without fancy picture-in-picture and voice commands, look into saving some money on a PlayStation 4 instead.
Kyle Orland, Ars Technica
[Should you buy the Xbox One?] Not yet. It's generally dumb to buy any new console right at launch. PS4's have been having issues with a "blue light of death," and for all we know the Xbox One could have its own issues as well; the sting of the red ring of death is still fresh in most memories. Besides, the launch line-up of games—while a little better than the PS4's—is a bit soft. The real gotta-play system-sellers like Watchdogs, Destiny, and Titanfall, are still a few months out. Halo 5 is a mere glint on the horizon.
...For now, the Xbox One is one impressive living room box machine—and it more than justifies its $500 dollar price with the inclusion of at least $100-worth of set-top boxitude—but you're going to be better off waiting for a little while to see how things shake out.
But—and this is admittedly a sizable but—if the Xbox One can straighten the few little quirks it has with some software tweaks, this thing is going to be unstoppable in a way the PS4 could never touch. It's too versatile, too feature-ridden, too future. So wait, yes. But while you do, go ahead and start clearing out plenty of space underneath your television.
Eric Limer, Gizmodo
So the Xbox One is a powerful machine with lots of intriguing ideas and improvements. But is it worth the $500 sticker price, not to mention the $60 per year for an Xbox Live Gold membership?
It really depends on your current needs. If their old consoles haven't gotten too much mileage, Xbox 360 owners may hold off for a bit and feast on the system's hearty back catalog and new games, none of which will be backwards-compatible with the One.
For home entertainment purposes, those with a more complex setup may want to research how the One could integrate with their needs. For families with a TV and a love of streaming content, the One's customizable profiles that let you pick and choose your favorite channels and apps will be useful.
Although the One has its flaws, it's important to remember where the Xbox 360 was when it started, and how far it's come. Microsoft will surely get feedback from owners and mold the One into a more perfect version of an all-in-one entertainment system. What they've got now is a nice foundation.
Drew Guarini, Huffington Post