Video Game Console Shootout

What next-generation video game console should you buy? It’s a tough question, with three different systems focused on different aspects of video gaming.

The Nintendo Wii is for casual gamers. With its motion-sensing Wiimotes, lack of DVD playback, lack of major storage, and lower-resolution graphics, it’s geared more towards short bursts of multiplayer gaming, whether that’s WII SPORTS, party games like the MARIO PARTY FRANCHISE, a bit of fun like WII MUSIC, or something odd that takes advantage of the controller, like virtual cooking or fishing. There are some Nintendo updates — MARIO KART, new ZELDA, SUPER MARIO, and METROID games all feature on the Nintendo Wii, but the Nintendo Wiii isn’t a multimedia powerhouse or something to satisfy hardcore gamers. The Nintendo Wii is a system for parties and that can be enjoyed by everyone from small children to senior citizens. It’s also pretty cheap at $249.99.

The Xbox 360 is a gamer’s machine.  With DVD playback, online connectivity, downloadable content (movies, games, TV shows), and hundreds upon hundreds of next-gen games, the Xbox 360 is a machine that can power a home entertainment center.  It offers perhaps the most games out of any next-gen console, ranging from casual games sold for a few dollars over Xbox Live to favorites like GUITAR HERO and the latest version of GRAND THEFT AUTO.  Whether you play first-person shooters, RPGs, puzzle games, or platformers, there are many, many games on the Xbox 360.  With the price recently reduced to $299.99 for the Xbox 360 Pro, it’s a great value for a machine that can sit at the center of your digital life

The PlayStation 3 is Sony’s next-gen console.  The most expensive option at $399.99, it also offers the most features, including free online play and access to content, slightly better graphics, and a Blu-Ray player.  You can also power a home entertainment center off the PlayStation 3.  Because it’s so expensive and because Sony was a bit late to the game, Sony no longer enjoys the privileged position it once held in the video game world.  Many console exclusives deserted, selling games also on the Xbox 360 (for its bigger fanbase).  There are still some games that you can only play on the PlayStation 3, but not as many as there once were.

Recommendation: If you’re looking to buy one system and you’re a fan of video games, you can’t go wrong with the Xbox 360.  It’s a bargain at $249.99, has the most games, and with the ability to hook up to Netflix Instant Watch, offers you a cheap way to expand your entertainment options at a very low cost.

If you’re looking to get two systems, or you aren’t interested in anything beyond having fun with some friends or family, buy the Nintendo Wii.  We’ve seen everyone from toddlers to grandparents enjoying themselves playing its games, and that’s what it’s about.

If you’re thinking about buying a Blu-Ray player anyway and would like to add on a game system, get yourself a PlayStation 3.  Otherwise, go for the Xbox 360 or Nintendo Wii.

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