Assassin's Creed IV will be one of many titles available for the Xbox One. Courtesy/Wikipedia

Looking forward to the launch of Microsoft’s Xbox One on Friday? So are we. The system will hit shelves exactly one week after Sony’s next-gen console launched last Friday. While the PS4 sold around 1 million units during the first 24 hours of its launch, video game critics and Microsoft fans are curious to see how well the Xbox One will fare against the competition.

Microsoft's Xbox One console is priced $100 higher than the PS4, and pre-orders on sites like predict your item could still be shipped by Dec. 11 if you act fast by placing your order right now. While the review embargo on the Xbox One won’t lift until Tuesday, here’s what video game critics and writers are observing about Microsoft's next-gen console.

“As a set, the Xbox One really does feel like some elaborate piece of home theater gear,” CNET's Xbox One review team said of the system’s sleek appearance. “Considering its mission to knit entertainment together into a modern all-in-one package, that’s clearly intentional.”

CNET also noted the Kinect’s essential role in the Xbox One's functionality. “Kinect will also be the brains of the Xbox One’s ability to control all of your devices.An array of infrared blasters flank the … new Kinect, which will shoot commands back out at the room you’re in and bounce them off walls and objects so they’ll reflect back to you.” CNET applauded the console’s ability to live-stream gameplay, saying that “live-streaming games is something we’ve thought about doing for a long time, and the fact that it’ll be easy to actually do is endlessly intriguing."

Though Sony is facing a mild backlash against a few of the malfunctions that the PS4 is experiencing, it’s likely that the Xbox One won’t be without its flaws, either. Forbes writer Erik Kain said there's no need to be an early adopter, as you can "bide your time until there’s a real body of information and criticism out there... that’s the best course of action for people who want to make a smart purchase.”

“We really won’t know which is the better console until months from now," Kain said. "Maybe longer. Maybe never.”

Players are also excited for the titles that the Xbox One promises to deliver to your living room, including “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag,” “Call of Duty: Ghosts,” “Dead Rising 3” and “Halo: Spartan Assault.”

Consumers are also excited about the intelligent abilities of the Kinect. “You are in control of what Kinect can see and hear," said Albert Penello, senior director of product management and planning at Microsoft. “You don’t always have to be connected to the Internet to play Xbox One. It does require a one-time connection to set up the system, but that’s it. The choice is yours.” Penello also claims that “you have complete control over your privacy settings and no data will leave your Xbox One without your explicit permission.”

Will you be purchasing an Xbox One on its release date this Friday? What are you looking forward to about the system? If you don't plan on buying an Xbox One, why is that? Leave a comment below.