Then again, neither the Xbox One nor the PlayStation 4 is backward compatible, meaning the machines don't play games that were made for their predecessors. That gives players a clean slate to start with a whole new set of games.
"Everyone is starting over to some extent," Stein says.
The console makers' challenge will be to ensure that everyone does start over, instead of sticking with their own game console or perhaps buying an iPad instead of a new game machine. Tony Bartel, the president of the world's largest videogame retailer, GameStop, expects the new consoles will be in "high demand and short supply" due to a huge pent-up demand for new gaming. After all, people have been playing the same consoles since before the iPhone came out.
"There's tremendous demand for innovation," Bartel says.
Given the choice between an iPad and a PlayStation 4, Sony believes its consoles have an advantage during the holiday shopping season.
"One purchase offers something that everyone in the family can enjoy together," says Andrew House, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment. "Whereas the other is a single-person experience."
AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang contributed to this story from Los Angeles.
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