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Xbox One vs. PlayStation 4: The best value video game console

There’s much to be excited about this holiday season if you’re a video gamer, as Microsoft and Sony launch their respective next-generation consoles, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. While each machine’s full capabilities will emerge over time, both are promising big improvements to graphics and online features from the outset. The question, then, is which one should go under the tree this year?

Performance: Both consoles feature stunning high-definition graphics, with realism being pushed to new heights. The visual differences between the existing Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles are clear—a cobblestone road in an older game may appear flat and dull, but it pops with three-dimensional texture on the new machines. Water renderings, meanwhile, are so real they’ll make you want to go for a swim.

Advantage: Tied

Games: Big third-party games such as Call of Duty: Ghosts and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag are available on both new consoles, leaving first-party exclusives as their primary differentiators. Microsoft has core gamers covered with action titles like Dead Rising 3, Killer Instinct, Ryse: Son of Rome and Forza 5. Sony had considerably more and better first-party exclusives on the PS3, but it has comparatively fewer marquee launch titles for the new console, with Knack and Killzone: Shadowfall the main big names.

Advantage: Xbox One

Controller: Much of the gaming experience comes down to the controller you hold in your hand. Microsoft had arguably perfected it with the 360, so there are few changes to be found on the One, with the exception of slightly smaller thumbsticks. Sony has rejigged the PlayStation controller considerably, making it slightly larger and heavier. And it’s added a touchpad, which introduces a host of new control possibilities. The controller also has a built-in motion sensor and easy-to-access share button that can instantly upload gameplay videos and photos to social networks. The Xbox One controller needs AA batteries while Sony’s is rechargeable.

Advantage: PlayStation 4

Extras: Microsoft is including its new-and-improved Kinect motion and voice sensor, which will enable verbal television control and interactive fitness videos. Sony is promising to make many back catalog games available through an upcoming streaming service similar to Netflix. Both offer a full range of downloadable movies and games.

Advantage: Xbox One

Price: The downside to Kinect, which is mandatory, is that it boosts the price of the Xbox to $499. The PS4, meanwhile, comes in at $399. Core gamers have so far rejected Kinect, which means their choice this holiday season—if based solely on price—is an easy one.

Advantage: PlayStation 4

The Verdict

Gift givers have a difficult choice this year, considering that both consoles are solid and have different advantages. However, for overall value, the Xbox One edges out its rival for the typical household looking for more than just games. The PS4 is still a great pick for core gamers, who will benefit when third parties start adding exclusive titles down the road.

This article originally appeared on MoneySense.ca.