By Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A lot of people are hoping for a new video game system under the tree this year, with a couple shiny new consoles to choose from. The PlayStation 4 is out on Friday, and the Xbox One ships next week.
For gamers, it’s been a long wait for the next generation systems from Sony and Microsoft.
“These game consoles come around every six or seven years,” says Dan Ackerman, senior editor for CNET.com. “It’s going to be a big holiday season.”
The PS4 lists for $400.
“I think it’s a device that’s really meant to appeal to people who grew up playing games who now are a little more mature and want something that’s very game-oriented — but also a slick-looking piece of living room high-tech hardware,” explains Ackerman. “You can scroll between games and media stuff and your social sharing and all your settings. They realize that people want to watch movies, so they have all the Netflix and Amazon and VUDU apps built in. And it’s got a very deep level of Facebook integration — because whatever you’re doing, maybe you want to share it.”
At $500, Microsoft sees the Xbox One as even more worthy of your entertainment center.
“You plug your cable TV signal right into the Xbox, and it lets you do all kinds of cool things like overlay new information and program guides, and watch TV while you play games — if you feel like you would want to divide your attention that way,” Ackerman says.
Graphics on the PS4 – according to CNET’s review – are dazzling, but game selection for both consoles is somewhat limited at launch. And neither the PS4 nor the Xbox One play the previous systems’ titles — at least not yet.
“That’s one of the things that really is bumming people out,” Ackerman says. “New consoles have traditionally had at least some sort of backwards compatibility — kind of like your blu-ray player can still play DVDs. But the Ps4 and Xbox One don’t play the discs from the old games. There’s a sort of soft-floaty promise that at some point in the near future, you’ll be able to download versions of these games — either for free if you already own them, or for a small fee — but nothing has been nailed down.”
And don’t forget the consoles being replaced: they’re getting nice price cuts heading into the holiday to make shelf space for the new ones.
“There’s already been some pretty serious discounting on the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360,” Ackerman notes. “I bet going into the holidays we’ll see even more of that. There’s also a new version coming out of the original Nintendo Wii, called the Wii mini. That’s going to be $99 and will come with some cool Wii games — that’s actually a nice stocking stuffer.”