‘Tis the season for gift-giving – and receiving – and my dear son wants the new Xbox One. It retails for a whopping $499. Add tax and insurance, and factor in the absurd reality that it’s completely incompatible with the stack of games he already has for his “old” Xbox gaming system (seriously?), and you’re talking a huge chunk of change. People still buy cars for less. Ain’t gonna happen. No way, no how.
Besides, didn’t Santa just bring another Xbox a few years ago?
“All of my friends are getting one,” Noah said. Some, he would have me believe, already have.
“Time to get some new friends.” Yes, I said that. I’m not proud. Or maybe I am. I can’t decide.
The only thing I like about the Xbox he already has is that, while I would prefer the kids do more of that old-fashioned “hanging our together” stuff, at least, with the Xbox, they’re not merely holed-up alone in their boy-caves cuddling plastic controllers. They have the option of interacting together online, and even talk to each other through their headsets. True, they’re mostly talking strategy, but I’ve observed that occasionally their discussions stray toward other topics. They’re talking to each other. It could be worse.
As for Xbox’s latest incarnation, though, the communication technology isn’t that great. Early reviews suggest that it reportedly yields “uneven voice control,” among other bugs in the system yet to be sorted out. Well, good. All the more reason to scratch this pricey heap of hardware off my list.
In spite of the bugs, it’s still, apparently, at the top of Noah’s friends’. And what if they get them? He can’t very well interact with them in “Xbox world” if they’re on “planet Xbox One,” right? What’s a parent to do? Sometimes I can’t believe I’m even having these conversations in my head. Classic first-world problem, but still, here it is. A dilemma that must be dealt with, however un-original. Every generation wrestles with it. In my day, I wanted those trendy Jordache Jeans my friends wore. I ended up wearing the Barbara Moss brand, instead. But I digress.
I know my kid’s friends. I know their parents. I know at least a couple who might also balk at the price, if not the waste. Xbox claims its already sold over 2 million units of the “One” in just its first three weeks on the market, but I can’t believe that all of Noah’s friends’ parents will actually fall in line, too. I took an informal poll. At least one person I know volunteered that she, too, isn’t game. Evil mom that I am, I didn’t stop with my own friends.
“Hey, whatcha think about that new Xbox?” I asked one of Noah’s, on our way to soccer practice last week.
“My parents said no,” he replied. Ha, I always knew I liked them. So perhaps Noah won’t be alone in Xbox-360-ville? I could tell by his expression in my rear-view mirror that he’s not convinced.
“Hey, if you want it so badly,” I told him later, “remember, you have a job.” He’s a soccer referee. “It’s an awesome exercise in, ‘Is this thing really so valuable to you that you’d be willing to part with your own hard-earned cash to get it?’”
It may be. I’m not sure what’s up, but it seems my son may implement a work-around to this conundrum. He’s stopped asking for the Xbox One. Now he just wants cold, hard cash in his stocking. We’ll see what Santa brings. There’s a gift in here, somewhere.
• Jennifer DuBose lives in Batavia with her husband, Todd, and their two children, Noah and Holly. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.