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The time to love and the time to give is only but a month away. Families will gather, trees will be decorated, gifts will be wrapped, and smiles will be had. All of it happens with a good amount of preparation, and now is as good a time as any to start. This year, we’d like to present you a gift guide with a pretty solid and clear theme: gaming. As you probably know, Microsoft and Sony have each released their new consoles after many long years of wait. A new generation of gaming awaits kids young and old alike, and we’d like to give you an overview of what you could get your loved ones, should you be in the market for a bottom up solution. Yes, we’re not only looking at the consoles, but at what you would need in order to construct an entire gaming and entertainment platform from the ground up. So without further ado, here’s what to get.
Sony Playstation 4
Sony was the first to release their new console, on November 15th. It runs a semi-custom AMD Radeon GPU along with 8GB of DDR5 RAM. This means it’s a graphical powerhouse, but not necessarily more so than the Xbox One. The move away from the cell architecture of the PS3 is intended to attract a wider range of developers to the console, though only time will tell if that strategy pays off. The new controller features a clickable touchpad, which has the potential to add new functionality. Most early reviews were very positive, with the consensus gravitating towards the conclusion that if you’re looking for a gaming console, the PS4 may have the edge on the Xbox One, but only because of its lower price point. It’s $399.
Microsoft’s Xbox One
Microsoft followed with a new console of its own just one week after Sony, on the 22nd. Redmond’s strategy seems to differ from Sony in that the company is aiming to make the Xbox One a central hub in the living room. In other words, while it does game flawlessly, gaming is not its core. On the hardware side, you have a custom 1.75 GHz AMD 8 core APU along with 8GB of DDR3 RAM. In practice, early users have reported very little difference in graphical prowess, so the console stands aside from the PS4 mostly in its entertainment ambitions. For one, Kinect 2.0 is bundled, which opens the door to voice and gesture navigation. Then there’s an HDMI-in port, so that you may watch your cable directly through the console. 4-app multitasking, Kinect 2.0, snapping windows and other entertainment flourishes are what Microsoft hopes will justify the extra $100 asking price. It’s $499.
Gaming is fun, but it’s more fun when you do it with friends. While the consoles do come bundled with a controller, it’s never a bad idea to have a second one lying around for when you do have someone over. The PS4′s controller is $59, while we suggest you get the slightly more expensive Xbox One controller because it’s rechargeable. That one is $75.
Call Of Duty: Ghosts
Gaming launches are now the most lucrative entertainment products on the planet. Like clockwork, Activision announced that Call Of Duty: Ghosts had generated $1 billion in its first day of sales. That’s right, a billion with a ‘b’. In one day. Sure, some may say that the game is starting to suffer from franchise fatigue. And while it certainly doesn’t reinvent the wheel, the game does provide fast, fluid and exciting gameplay, along with some new additions that at the very least put on a new coat of paint on a now more mature platform. It’s not a bad idea to bundle this game up with any new console purchase. It’s $59.
One Year’s Xbox Live Gold Membership
Unlike the PS4, the Xbox One’s online gaming platform isn’t free. It costs about $60 to play, though some will tell you that you get a superior experience for your money. While that’s debatable, the fact remains that you have to pay. So why not bundle this up with the console so that whoever you give it to doesn’t have to spend a penny?
Samsung 55-inch LED HDTV
Now, let’s for a minute imagine you’re buying this for your kids. They’re getting the new consoles and what do you think is going to happen? If you think you’ll have a chance to watch your TV at all for the next few months, you’re sorely mistaken. You might want to consider getting your kids their own, at this point. Sure, it might seem like a lot to spend on Holiday presents, but if you have the money to spend, why not? This Samsung 55-inch LED HDTV is quickly becoming a standard size and price. Sure, there’s bigger, slimmer, 4K, UHD, 3D or any of a thousand things you might want in cutting edge TVs. But if all you want is a good TV, with a big screen, $899 is all you have to spend.
Samsung 1,000W Blueray Home Theater System
This is the cherry on the icing. This is what you get if you really, really want to splurge and spoil. Because really, you can game without surround sound. But… it’s so much better with. This set from Samsung is a 5.1 surround affair that features enough power to scare, while at the same time coming so highly rated that you should feel confident that the $299 asking price is fair.