As impressive as the PS4's launch lineup was, the Xbox One has it matched beat for beat, if not surpassed.
Where the PS4 had Knack and Killzone: Shadow Fall, XB1 gets Ryse, Forza Motorsport 5 and Dead Rising 3. Unfortunately the embargoes for Ryse and Forza reviews have not yet lifted—suffice to say they're extremely impressive, especially Ryse. So let's talk about Dead Rising instead.
Capcom's latest zombie slayer is a perfect showcase for how the new Kinect can casually add to any gaming experience. It's undoubtedly a hardcore game, but it's still fun to flail your arms around to fight off zombies that grab you or yell out "Over here!" to distract the undead or lure them into traps. The game's menus are navigable with voice commands, as well.
A lot of the Xbox One games you'll be playing on day one have similar features. Individually they're not game-changing, but collectively they start to form a picture forming of what the future of Xbox gaming might be like now that a Kinect sensor that actually works is included with every console.
Crimson Dragon is another exclusive that's worth a look, as are Killer Instinct and Ubisoft's Fighter Within for fighting game fans. EA has its usual slate of sports games, including Madden 25, FIFA 14, and NBA Elite 14. Plus there's 2K's NBA 2K14, not to mention the omni-present Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4, and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. And there are kid-friendly titles like Skylanders: Swap Force and Zoo Tycoon, fitness games Xbox Fitness and Zumba Fitness World Party, and a couple other minor exclusives, like LocoCycle and Powerstar Golf.
The one thing the Xbox One's launch lineup lacks is indie games, and that's actually pretty telling about where both next-gen consoles are headed. Sony has spent months courting indie developers and augmenting its launch lineup with games like Resogun, Contrast and even a port of the mind-blowingly good Sound Shapes. And there are tons more indie games on the docket for PS4, like Minecraft, Pavilion, Rime, Hohokum, and more, but few in sight on Xbox One. Is that something you care about? It's definitely something to think about, at least.
The PS4 has one significant extra in the form of the PlayStation Camera, but since since Kinect is included with every Xbox One early adopters won't need to buy anything beyond a second controller.
There are several other things to think about, however. For example, the Xbox One is capable of turning on your TV, cable box and audio receiver (if you use external speakers, like a surround sound setup) when it turns on. So you say, "Xbox, on," and everything is ready to go with no remote needed. But the console isn't compatible with every piece of hardware you might have. Microsoft says it's updating its codes constantly to accommodate for as many users' setups as possible, but at launch you'll likely still need a remote for one thing or another.
Now's a good time to invest in a tablet, as well, since it looks like the Xbox One's SmartGlass app will be an integral part of the experience. As of now, not every game uses it, and certain functions aren't present. There are some other minor issues with this pre-release build of the Xbox One's operating system, as well, but Microsoft promises things will be sorted out sufficiently by launch.
When all the disparate pieces come together the Xbox one is extremely impressive. You'll be pleased with the new Kinect when you're playing a game and want to look something up on the internet and you can snap Internet Explorer to one side while continuing to play, or when you want to check whether a TV show has started yet without interrupting your movie on Netflix.
Even without the snap feature, switching between apps on Xbox One is incredibly easy and painless. That's one of the things that helps realize Microsoft's vision for an all-in-one living room machine. With no delays and few hiccups, it's easy to use the Xbox One for everything. You'll want to, even.
The lack of indie games is troubling, but Microsoft clearly believes its fans have other priorities. The Xbox One is not just a game console, but when it's being used to play games, it's going to be playing Call of Duty, Forza, Killer Instinct, and Ryse.
If gamers want to play something cute and artsy, they can get a PS4 (not that games like Contrast are the console's only options—Killzone says hi—but the PS4 is the only console to play them). If they want one machine to rule them all, incorporating live TV, entertainment apps, sports, and hardcore video games, then the Xbox One is the way to go. Where do your priorities lie?