PlayStation 4 (PS4)
The eighth-generation is upon us. Wikipedia says it began with the Nintendo Wii U last year—finally, Nintendo out in front again! But all eyes are on the big two: the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It's unlikely 150 million consoles will ever be sold like the PS2, given the competition from not just consoles, but the flood of handhelds (like Sony's own PlayStation Vita) and game-capable smartphones.
Both PS4 and Xbox One debut in North America first, at $399.99 and $499.99, respectively. Both use AMD chips for the CPU and graphics and both have 500GB hard drives, Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi, 4K video support, and more. Neither will be backward compatible with games from the previous generation of consoles. Aside from Microsoft's Kinect camera, the playfield is pretty level.
And there are plenty of reasons to get one of them even if you don't play games—like the fact that both now support Blu-ray discs, provide access to all the major streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant Video; and will sell or rent you content directly.