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PS4 vs. Xbox One: The battle for the couch

Customer service representatives in yellow brief camped-out shoppers as they wait in line to purchase the new PlayStation 4 (PS4) late November 14, 2013 for a mid-night opening at Best Buy November 15, 2013 in Fairfax, Virginia, where a limited supply of the game stations will be sold. Sony unleashes its powerful new PlayStation 4 video game console on November 15, 2013

If you’ve got someone in the family who loves video games, brace yourself. For the first time in seven years, Sony releases its latest game console, PlayStation4 later today. It’s been eight years for rival Microsoft, but the company unveils Xbox One next week.

As big a moment as this may be for gamers, it may be even bigger for the two console makers as they try to fight for supremacy in the living room. Morningstar analyst Rodney Nelson says Microsoft was transparent about its strategy when it unveiled the Xbox One.  

“This is something where you can have every application you could want, be it TV, movies, music, and -- oh, by the way -- we have a great line up of games to go with them,” Nelson remembers executives saying.

That approach makes sense; videogame sales are down. Consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers say they fell from nearly $30 billion in 2008 to $25 billion last year. Frost and Sullivan analyst Dan Rayburn says the challenge is enticing non-gamers to buy the consoles, a tough sell if all consumers want is Netflix and Hulu.

“You can get those through connected TV. You don’t even have to buy an additional box. Most new connected TVs come with all this built in,” he says.

Rayburn says when you consider that PlayStation4 costs $399 and Xbox One $499, it’s even harder to imagine the devices will become must-have staples.

About the author

Dan Gorenstein is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Health Desk. You can follow him on Twitter @dmgorenstein.

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