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Christmas console war!

The future
At the moment there's very little to look forward to in terms of amazing new features, but can it actually get much better? The next step is to turn it into a multimedia machine with the release of the HD DVD drive and with plans for a TV recording feature. Microsoft will also be keen to develop an equivalent to the PS3's forthcoming Home online community-based service.

What's to love:
+ Stronger games line-up than the other two consoles
+ Great online service
+ Excellent downloadable content - games, demos, trailers and more
+ Multimedia machine - you can play DVDs (HD DVDs if you buy the add on) and CDs, making it the heart of your home entertainment
+ Developers are finding it relatively easy to develop for, which means it will continually get top third-party games, which could well be 'better' versions



What's to hate:
- Unreliability. The Red Ring of Death means you could be without your machine for a few weeks as Microsoft fixes it
- Lack of support from Japan - it isn't the console for you if you like Japanese-style games
- Power adapter is really fat and the DVD drive noisy
- Lack of in-built Wi-Fi - it needs an adapter
- Needing a HDTV to get the most out of it

Verdict
Out of the three consoles, the 360 is the one enjoying the best quality line-up at the moment. Not only does it receive the best of third-party games such as Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty 4, but with Project Gotham, Halo and Mass Effect it has essential games you can't play anywhere else. The 360 is definitely the console for gamers who want everything NOW and are prepared to overlook some of the potential technical difficulties.

It's the console for you if:
+ You want to play the best conventional games out there
+ You're keen to get involved in online gaming
+ You're after the cheapest way into HD gaming

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