People always say there are two things you should never discuss unless you want to start a fight: politics or religion. You might as well add game consoles to that list because hardcore gamers will fight you to the death over which console is the best. If you’re interested in getting a gaming console and don’t know where to turn for a straight answer, this guide is for you.
This is a big factor for a lot of people when it comes to buying a game console. These next generation consoles are not cheap, so if you’re planning on spending under $100, forget it.
Playstation 3: The Playstation 3 is the most expensive of the lot. The recent price drop has made it a lot more affordable, but it’s still in the upper price tier when it comes to gaming consoles. For $299 you get the Playstation 3 and a wireless controller. You also get a free download of the game “PAIN”, available only at the Playstation Store. The basic model comes with 120 GB of memory. If you need a bigger hard drive (or more space to download games/movies/music), that will cost you extra.
XBox: This console is in the middle of the tier for pricing. The basic model is $199 which includes 1 month of XBox Live, a composite video cable and a wireless controller. The basic model includes 250 GB of memory. Again, if you want more space on your hard drive, this will cost you extra.
Wii: The good news for the Wii is that there is only one model and it costs $199 regardless. This comes with a wireless controller (no nunchuk attachment), a sensor bar, and a copy of Wii Sports.
Winner: Tie between XBox 360 and Wii
If you’re looking for cheap gaming fun, then you can’t go wrong with either of these consoles.
Playstation 3: The PS3 can connect to the Internet via wireless network or data port. Playing online is free as long as you have a working internet connection. You can access the web through the PS3, as well as stream movies from Netflix, download games and movies from the Playstation Store, or build a virtual world through Playstation Home. There is an option for a paid account called “Playstation Plus”. This is not required if you intend to play online; it is simply a supplement for those that wish to purchase it. Playstation Plus offers additional perks, such as some free downloads of PS1 games, game demos that aren’t available to the general public, and a free subscription to Qore, Playstation’s gaming news program.
XBox 360: With the Xbox, you have to pay to play! The only way you can enjoy online gaming with others is if you are a member of XBox Live. This subscription will run you about $50 for 12 months (although I’ve read that they might raise the price in 2011). However, you are able to stream Netflix movies or download games/movies from the Xbox online store without having an XBox Live subscription.
Wii: You can play online for free with the Wii. Additionally, you are able to access the web, check the weather and news, and download games from the Wii Store.
Winner: Tie between PS3 and Wii
Not paying for play online with other gamers is a huge bonus. The upfront cost of the PS3 will pay for itself by not having to spend money yearly on an online gaming subscription.
Playstation 3: One of the best things (in my opinion) about the PS3 is the fact that it’s a Blu Ray player, too! Not only do you have a gaming system that provides high quality graphics, you have a movie player that provides the same. The PS3 will also play regular DVDs. Additionally, you can download high-definition movies from the Playstation Store or play movies from your computer through a wireless network sharing device.
XBox 360: Unfortunately, the XBox 360 only plays regular DVDs. It did have a short-lived HD DVD add-on, but since HD DVDs have gone the way of the Dodo, so has this add-on.
Wii: You cannot play DVDs on the Wii, but you can stream Netflix movies.
Winner: Playstation 3. Unless you hate Blu-Ray.
Playstation 3: The PS3 does have a multitude of console-exclusive games, as well as multi-platform (i.e. different console) games. Some of the most popular PS3-only games include:
God of War III
LittleBigPlanet and LittleBigPlanet 2
Gran Turismo 5
inFamous and inFamous 2
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Unfortunately, only the 1st and 2nd editions of the PS3 are backwards-compatible with PS2 games.
XBox 360: The Xbox is the same as the PS3 in that it has exclusives and multi-platforms. The most popular exclusive games are:
Dead Rising (not to be confused with the Dead Rising: Chop Til You Drop game released for Wii; this version has better graphics and MORE ZOMBIES!)
Gears of War
Halo (Halo is HUGE in the Xbox community)
Additionally, XBox Live Arcade offers a large variety of older games, including those from Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis.
Wii: Pretty much all the games available for Wii are specifically for the Wii (with the exception of a few multiplatform games). The most popular Wii-only games are:
Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2
Mario Kart Wii
Super Smash Brothers Brawl
Animal Crossing: City Folk
Metroid: Other M
GameCube games can be played on the Wii, but you need the “classic controller” add-on or a GameCube controller to plug into one of the ports on the console. Additionally, you can purchase games through the Wii Store; these games range from Nintendo 64 all the way back to the Commodore 64 and Atari.
Winner: All three! If you’re looking for exclusivity, any of these consoles can offer it. But they also have many different options as far as multiplatform games go.
Playstation 3: The PS3 has an age range anywhere from pre-teen to adult. A lot of the games that they offer are more mature (violence, sex, drugs, and swearing) so make sure you know what the game is before you gift it to your kid.
XBox 360: The XBox’s most-played game is Halo, which is a shooter. If you’re not familar with a “shooter”, it’s basically what it sounds like: you run around shooting people. This is obviously a violent game. If you let your kids play online, you will probably see a lot of inappropriate gestures (there are little dances that players do that are meant to humiliate the loser of the game) and a lot of swearing if you have the mic option turned on. Most of the XBox’s games are geared toward an older audience.
Wii: The Wii is the most family friendly of the bunch, with games that are mostly cartoonish in quality and consistency. Additionally, the peripheral devices (the controllers) are so user-friendly that anyone from age 8 to 80 can play the Wii. The Wii also encourages people to get together to play. It’s more of a multi-player console than either of the other two.
Winner: Depends on the age group. If you’re shopping for your boyfriend, husband, girlfriend, or wife, then you can definitely go with a PS3 or XBox and not have to worry about them seeing it hearing something they wouldn’t be prepared for. If you have younger children, I would advise you to get a Wii.
I hope that this little guide has given you some information about the three most popular gaming consoles around today. Remember, as a parent or adult guardian, you should always know what your children are playing. Ask questions and if at all possible, get involved with the game yourself.