There is a lot of hype surrounding the next generation of game console wars. This year's contenders are Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4.
But let's scrape away all the meddlesome hype and get to the meat of the matter: What do we need to know about the upcoming battle?
It breaks down like this: Xbox One will have a starting price of $500. Sony, which announced its price about a week after Microsoft, undercut the Xbox One by $100, and offers a starting price of $400. But don't forget, the Xbox One will come with a Kinect sensor bar -- there's no equivalent in the PS4 box.
The cost of the console is not the only number customers need to consider. Extra game controllers (or replacement ones if you are an aggressive gamer) will likely set you back $60, as will each game for the console.
Then there's the network. PlayStation does not charge for access to online content, but of course much of the content must be purchased -- from TV episodes and moves to music and games. Microsoft, on the other hand, charges just to get in the virtual door -- about $60 per year for access to online content. Downloads, of course, are extra. Expect to pay $2-$3 for a TV episode, $10 to buy a movie (renting it costs about $5) and games cost $10-$60, depending on the title.
Both consoles are coming out around the 2013 holiday season. The PlayStation 4 will arrive on shelves Nov. 15. Microsoft has not yet announced a specific date for the release of its console, but it is expected to be available in November.
Of course, each console is touting the exclusive games each system will have available at launch time. PS4 is expected to have new titles in the inFAMOUS Son and Killzone series; Xbox One released a launch-time list of games that includes new Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty games.
Retailers are already cueing up deals on games and consoles. Online giant Amazon is offering a trade-in deal on old Xbox 360 games that earns customers a $25 trade-in credit plus a $25 bonus credit, making the new Xbox One game's total cost about $10.