I'm going to start this out with a disclaimer. This article was put together by a 30 something year old gamer with two kids of gaming age. I don't know every spec, every intimate detail of the next-generation consoles, nor do I care to. What I do care about is the best possible gaming experience, keeping my kids happy and not asking for a new game every week because the one they got last week wasn't fun.
That said, here we are in the final stages of 2013 with two new consoles, one you can buy at the store for MSRP or less and the other that's sold out at the retail level, but available through other markets.
This article has a short shelf life, but that's fine. We're days away from the Xmas holiday and it's crunch time. You need this information now.
The image above shows your retail choices today. The PS4 is out of stock everywhere at the retail level. Its hardware is superior to the Xbox One if you care about the spec sheet, but both are close enough to call it a draw. On the other hand, Microsoft's Xbox One's basic and bundle packages are plentiful. The One products cost roughly $100 more than comparable PS4 packages, if you could buy them.
The first issue is you don't really have a choice when it comes to next-generation consoles. Once again, the Console Grinches have killed your chances of buying a PS4 at retail prices. Yes, you too could have purchased early through the presale, but those days are gone, we're talking about right now. Ebay, Craigslist and other second hand sources have a number of PS4s available from scumbags who will piss you off because they raided the stores, gamed the system and plan to make a profit from it. I'm not going to go down this path, but not because I'm anti-capitalism.
The internet is full of reports about defective PS4s. Right now Sony says there isn't a problem, but the internet collective says otherwise. I've watch enough videos on YouTube to be, at the very least, cautious. Purchasing a PlayStation 4 from some guy in an ally for more than retail, without a guaranteed method of return isn't something I want to go through. Even if you purchase a PS4 on Ebay and get a copy of the receipt, that doesn't mean everyone else he sold a unit to didn't get the same copy.
Someone else may have already returned or exchanged a defective unit under the same receipt code. Making matters worse, the retail stores don't have anything to exchange a defective unit anyhow. You or your kids could end up with a brick for a month, two, or worse, one you can't even exchange.