Gifts for Gamers Become Difficult: Xbox One, PlayStation 4 Fight for Supremacy

With the recent release this holiday season of Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4, you can practically hear gamers around the world, virtually high-fiving each other.

For those doing the buying, however, life has gotten quite a bit more challenging this holiday season. Both systems have leaped light years ahead in graphics, speed and intelligent personalization, and both have games sure to please.

One tween, who recently received an Xbox One for his birthday, said the system has “cool graphics, more interactive capabilities so you can see the friends that you’re playing with online, and you can browse the web.”

A Forbes reviewer, however, played it more diplomatically when he wrote: “Both consoles are going to appeal to different gamers.”

Here’s what you need to know to help you with your decision:

•    Show me the money. Sony’s PlayStation 4 is priced at $399.99, while Xbox One is $499.99. However, for the extra $100, Microsoft will ship its powerful new generation of Kinect motion and voice sensors—which can read a player’s heart rate just by looking at his face—while you’ll have to pay an extra $60 for the PlayStation eye camera.

•    Experience each system. Microsoft is marketing its Xbox One as an entertainment system that brings games, movies, music, sports and live TV together in one convenient location, and says it “feels like some elaborate piece of home theater gear.” Conversely, Sony is playing up what the Guardian’s tech columnist calls its “sheer variety of gaming experiences.”

•    Pick the controller. Personal preference is what it comes down to in this instance. Sony has upgraded its new DualShock 4 controller to include more precise analog sticks, a touch pad, a light-sensor bar and a “share” button. Microsoft, on the other hand, has stuck to its classic design., however, says the Xbox One’s new impulse triggers “could make first-person shooters that much more immersive.”

•    Game on. Each console has an impressive list of exclusive titles. PlayStation 4 includes its sci-fi blaster “Killzone: Shadow Fall” as well as family-friendly adventure “Knack.” Among the Xbox One’s arsenal: super-sleek driving simulator “Forza Motorsport 5,” zombie romp “Dead Rising 3,” and gladiator-themed “Ryse: Son of Rome.”

If you’re still unsure which system is for you, GameStop ( can direct you to the 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 2.2 million subscribers.

“People can’t wait to get their hands on them,” says Tony Bartel, president of GameStop.

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