A new generation of video gaming is only weeks away, and the anticipation has reached a fever pitch.
Sony's PlayStation 4 hits store shelves on Nov. 15 and Microsoft's Xbox One will follow on Nov. 22. Gamers have been setting aside extra funds -- or, in many cases, mercilessly begging their parents to buy one of these consoles -- for months. Some devoted video gaming fans will purchase both systems, but most folks probably will invest in only one for the foreseeable future.
The most important debate, of course, is which one is worth the investment.
The PlayStation 4 will come with a price tag of $399, which is $100 less than the Xbox One. However, the Xbox One also will come with a revamped Kinect (Microsoft's hugely popular motion-sensing device), which was originally a $150 purchase on its own before Microsoft reduced the price to $99.99.
Let's take a closer look at what each of these upcoming video game consoles has to offer.
The case for the PlayStation 4
The PlayStation 4 is not only $100 cheaper, but it boasts better game-playing hardware. Richard Leadbetter of Digital Foundry has calculated that the PS4's graphics processing unit could have as much as 50 percent more raw graphical computational power than the one found in the Xbox One. That, as well as its faster graphics memory, should translate into games that are more visually thrilling on the PS4.
Sony also has made significant upgrades to its controller and its social gaming experience. Features like live video chat and Facebook will be integrated. When a player's friends purchase a new game, they'll know, and they'll be able to play new games before they've even finished downloading.
However, the biggest change is the addition of the Share button on the new DualShock 4 controller. By pressing this button, gamers can broadcast live gameplay, take screenshots or share videos of their latest gaming triumphs. If a player is stuck in a difficult section of a game, he or she can use the Share feature to call in for help from an online friend who can literally take over the controls.
The Sony DualShock 4 controller also has a new clickable touch pad on the front -- giving developers an additional option when designing games. All around, reviews have been very positive when it comes to the new PlayStation controller.
Any new "Uncharted," "Killzone" or "Ratchet and Clank" games will appear only on PlayStation. Other key games exclusive to the PlayStation 4 include "Infamous: Second Son," "Knack," "The Order" and "The Dark Sorcerer."
The case for the Xbox One
From Microsoft's first Xbox One event in May, the company's main focus has been to prove that the Xbox One would be much more than simply a video game player. The company began its presentation showing how the system would integrate with the television.
The Xbox One will allow users to switch from a game to a TV show to the Web to a movie to Skype and so on with just the sound of their voices. The Xbox One will not replace anyone's cable box, but it instead will allow users to plug their cable or satellite boxes into it, bypassing the cable company's interface, giving users control of live TV through their Xbox One.
The new version of the Kinect should be a significant improvement over the original. The device will always be on, and simply stating "Xbox on" will power up the entire system and sign users into their accounts based on facial recognition. Kinect 2.0 also will offer a wider field of view, better tracking of individuals and the ability to track more overall bodies. It will even be able to determine the user's current heart rate.
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