Gaming Consoles for the Holiday Season
With the holiday shopping season fast approaching, odds are many wish lists include one of the three big gaming consoles, but if you want to surprise someone or even just know a bit more about that shiny new game console your kids are asking for, it can be tough to know exactly what you’re looking at. This is our crash course for gaming consoles to help you with your holiday purchase.
The Nintendo Wii
The Wii is significantly less powerful than its two competitors, but it makes up for it by introducing a new aspect of game play: motion based controls. The Wii has a huge library of exciting and enjoyable games for the whole family; however, its pricy peripherals (generally costing between $30 and $50) means playing with the whole family can get expensive, though in the end, the cost won’t be much different from an Xbox 360 or PS3.
You’ll find that the Wii does lack a few features found in its competitors. Most noticeably, the Wii can’t play DVD movies without some sort of software modification, which is against the EULA. It does however offer streaming Netflix capability and is completely compatible with Gamecube games as well as Gamecube controllers.
Ultimately, the Wii is perfect for family activities, capable of revamping family game nights and great for younger children.
The Sony PlayStation 3
The PlayStation 3 is the most powerful of the consoles available right now, but when it comes to graphics performance, there’s really no appreciable difference between it and an Xbox 360. Where the PS3 shines is in its abilities as a multimedia machine. Not only is the PS3 a gaming console, but it’s also a very capable Blu-Ray player, which really makes the PS3 the best value out of the current generation consoles. Sony has also recently tried to take on the Wii, creating a new motion based controller interface, dubbed PlayStation Move. Its library of motion based games is nowhere near the scope of the Wii, and likely never will, but it’s a nice start.
As the do-everything machine that it is, the current version of the PS3 actually isn’t backwards compatible, unlike all of its rivals. Sony makes up for this by offering some PSX and PS2 titles for sale through the PlayStation Network.
The main appeal of a PS3 is its capability as a Blu-Ray player while doubling as a very powerful gaming console. Its game library is best suited for older teens and young adults, much like the Xbox, which is something to keep in mind when purchasing it for your children.
The Microsoft Xbox 360
Despite being a bit less powerful than the PS3, the Xbox 360 has actually sold more units. This is primarily because the Xbox 360 has the most appealing game library amongst the current generation of consoles. On top of that, Microsoft also does a great job managing its online aspect of gaming thanks to the Xbox Live network. Unfortunately, the glory that is Xbox Live doesn’t come cheap, costing about $60 per year. It’s a fairly steep price, considering both Sony and Nintendo provide online connectivity for free. Still, most feel that the additional cost is worth it.
Like the Sony, Microsoft is also trying their hand at a motion based interface with Xbox Kinect. The Xbox 360 is also backward compatible with original Xbox titles and offers various games for purchase online through the Xbox Live Marketplace.
The Xbox 360 is certainly the best choice when it comes to online game play, and with DVD and streaming Netflix support, it makes a decent multimedia system as well.