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When it comes to providing easy entertainment for yourself or for the whole family, there’s no easier way than buying a console (sorry PC gamers, but it’s true!).
But with three major consoles on the market, deciding which one will best suit your needs can be frustrating. Plus they’re not cheap, so you don’t want to go into it blind or break the bank if you try to purchase all three.
In this article, we’ll look at the three different consoles and explain their strengths and weaknesses, so you can decide which is best suited for you. Both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One play Blu-Ray discs and all three consoles can watch Netflix (quota-free for iiNet customers!).
One of the most important things to remember is that there is no wrong choice! All the consoles are great fun and no matter what you pick, you’ll have a good time.
Expect to pay: A console and games bundle will cost roughly $500 if you don’t want a kinect add-on, or $600 if you do.
Accessories you’ll want: Grabbing another Xbox One controller ($80) is a must if you have more than one person in the house, and a headset (starting at $30) if you want to play online multiplayer.
The Xbox One is the first thing that comes to mind for many people when they think of games. You know what the controller looks like, you know that it plays Halo, and you know Microsoft because they made Windows which most of us use on a daily basis. It’s comfortable and familiar. But is it the console for you?
One of this console’s major attractions is exclusivity. Microsoft have a lot of big names that are only available on that console such as Halo, and Forza.
Another perk of Xbox One is it often gets a lot of games before the other consoles. Call of Duty’s DLC always comes out first on Xbox, and some other noteworthy games this year like the new Tomb Raider will be the same. Almost any big game is guaranteed to come out on the Xbox One, and it’s very rare that you’ll have to watch in jealousy.
The Xbox One also has a great selection of kid’s titles, and the Kinect support makes it perfect for youngsters. It’s a good all-rounder console, and if all you really want is “something that plays games that I don’t have to worry too much about”, the Xbox One is for you.
As an added bonus, all Xbox LIVE downloads are quota-free when you’re with an iiNet Group ISP. As part of the service games.on.net provides, any games you download through your Xbox One won’t count towards your quota. Enjoy!
Expect to pay: Roughly $550 for a console and game bundle. The PS4 comes in black or white, which is purely aesthetic: it’s all the same on the inside.
Accessories you’ll want: Same as the Xbox One, picking up another controller (~$90) is important for playing with friends or family, and a headset (starting at $30) if you want to jump online.
If the Xbox One is more of an all-rounder, then the PS4 is probably best described as a more specialised gaming device. On paper, the PS4’s technical specs are superior to the XB1, which means the PS4 can consistently produce true 1080p, high-definition video to take full advantage of your most enormous TV screen. By contrast, most big-name Xbox One games are limited to 900p or less, which isn’t a deal-breaker for everyone, but certainly something worth considering.
When it comes to the PS4’s range of games, it’s pretty much on par with the Xbox One, although perhaps with less of a range for the little kids. Nearly all of the big names come to the PS4, and for all intents and purposes they’re mostly identical, but the PS4 tends to get less exclusives (with the exception of some big names like Uncharted).
Sony markets the PS4 as “for the players”, and it has certainly put its money where its mouth is: the PS4 is currently outselling the Xbox One by a considerable margin.
Nintendo Wii U
Expect to pay: $400 – $420 for a console and game bundle. The Wii U comes in black or white, which is purely aesthetic: it’s all the same on the inside.
Accessories you’ll want: You can probably get by with what’s in the box to start with, but buying extra controllers is an absolute must if you want to play multiplayer (and with awesome party games like Mario Kart and Mario Party, you definitely will).
Ever since the first Wii and now with the Wii U, Nintendo has had a bit of a reputation for being the ‘console for kids’and that’s still fairly accurate. If you’ve got a lot of kids to entertain, the Wii U is certainly the easiest and most child-friendly console you can pick up, with plenty of games aimed at kids of all ages and the largest selection of G-rated and family-friendly games to choose from.
But that’s not to say the Wii U is exclusively for kids: adults will have plenty of fun with the games on offer, but many of the more mainstream and mature-targeted games don’t show up on the Wii U. If you’re after the latest shooters or Role-Playing Games (RPGs), you’re much better off picking up an Xbox One or PS4 (and the Wii U doesn’t play Blu-Ray discs either, unfortunately).
Wii U makes up for the lack of adult themed games by being the sole provider of the iconic Mario, Donkey Kong and Zelda series. If you want to play one of these Nintendo-exclusive titles, you’ll need to choose this console.
Let’s address some more console-related questions before we finish this off!
Is it worth buying an older console (like an Xbox 360, a PlayStation 3 or a Nintendo Wii)?
Absolutely. These consoles are still fully supported, and because they were out on the market for nearly a decade, there are hundreds of thousands of games to choose from, at much cheaper prices than the new consoles.
If you don’t mind the drop in graphics quality, or if you’re looking to get in cheaply, it’s absolutely the best time to buy an older console.
Should I buy a pre-owned console?
This is up to your personal preference, but they are fully supported by stores like EB Games and JB Hi-Fi that sell them, and you can save a bit of money by doing so. If you have concerns, discuss them with the salesperson at the time and know what your rights are. You should be fine.
I’m buying a console for my kids. Is there anything else I should be aware of?
Apart from the titles that might be available, it’s worth checking out our previous blog article: Kids playing games online: What parents need to know. We also highly recommend playing games together as a family!
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start gaming!
Do you already own a gaming console? Would you recommend it? Let us know in the comments below.