The Videogame Streamer
During the first two years of the PlayStation 4 vs. Xbox One deathmatch, Sony had the clear advantage when it came to streaming videogames — meaning playing titles over an internet connection, instead of buying and either loading a disc or downloading the entire game. Then came EA Access, a monthly or yearly streaming service from videogame powerhouse Electronic Arts, which routinely releases the most-played games in the industry, including the Madden series and blockbuster multiplayer shooters like Titanfall. EA Access is exclusive to Xbox One, and lets subscribers stream its games, playing full titles as much as they want, for $5 monthly or $30 yearly. It's almost equivalent to a Netflix for games, if Netflix only offered its own original series and films. And yet, Netflix originals have become the main selling point for that service, and unless your tastes skew towards smaller indie games, there's more than enough sports, action, and shooter titles on EA Access to justify the subscription fee. The service also gives members advance access to games — these are major, heavily hyped titles, such as Battlefield 1 and Star Wars Battlefront — before they're released.
Xbox One S ($300)
Madden 16, Titanfall, on EA Access ($5 monthly or $30 yearly)
What You Lose
Though there are rumors that Microsoft will bring VR to its consoles, possibly with a machine (code-named Project Scorpio) due in 2017, nothing's been confirmed, and release dates for games and gaming hardware are routinely pushed back. For the near-future, buying an Xbox One means missing out on the early onset of virtual reality.
What's In It For Parents
The Xbox One is a powerful entertainment hub, gathering streaming services like Amazon and Netflix as well as live TV (if you connect it to your cable box) into one intuitive interface. If the console is centrally located — not tucked away in a bedroom — then it's the go-to streaming device, removing the need for a Roku, Apple TV, or Blu-ray player.
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