Video Game System Buyers Guide
Video game systems entertain people in many age groups and with a variety of interests. From video game consoles like Xbox 360 and PS3 to handheld video game systems such as Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, you'll find numerous video game systems available. Find out which one is right for you or the gamer in your family by asking the right questions. Carefully consider different features and arm yourself with the information you need to make a smart purchase.
Handheld or Console Game System
Some video game systems purely focus on gaming while others offer more sophisticated multimedia capabilities such as music and movie playback. When deciding what type of video game system to buy, consider portability, the age of gamers in the household, and multimedia features. Video game consoles such as Xbox 360, PS3, and Nintendo Wii hook up to your TV or home entertainment center, providing an immersive gaming experience. The handheld arena has been dominated for a decade by Nintendo and their GameBoy series of consoles, but Sony has given them a run for gamers' money with their PlayStation Portable (PSP) and Microsoft is rumored to be looking for a way into the scaled-down video game console market.
Online gaming has been incorporated into video game consoles, driven originally by Microsoft's broadband-only Xbox Live gaming service that debuted with the original Xbox. It's also a part of handheld console gaming as well, with the PSP and Nintendo's DS both letting you play against your friends via wireless connections.
Finding and Buying the Right System
If you want a next-generation console, the PS3 and, to a lesser extent, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii began their market run in short supply. Microsoft got a head-start on the competition, and their new video game console remains the one to beat. It's got incredible core power, excellent connectivity, and the best-looking games.
If you're a Sony or Nintendo fan, you may face some shortages because of demand. But the PS3 will do plenty more than just play games -- the new console has a Blu-Ray DVD drive (with up to 50GB of capacity on each disk), Bluetooth connectivity, and a 20GB or 60GB hard drive (depending on the price).
Nintendo's Wii (pronounced "We") focuses primarily on gaming. The Wii's motion sensitive controller is its biggest initial selling point, but Nintendo is planning on eventually making their entire library of video games available for the Wii via download -- a rather compelling selling feature from the makers of Mario.
If you're in the market for a current-generation handheld video game console, you've got two main choices: Sony's PSP and Nintendo's twin-screened DS. Both are excellent gaming machines, but the PSP has more functionality than the DS -- and also a larger price tag. You can game and browse the Web wirelessly with either device, but the PSP has a much sharper screen and movie playback built-in. Nintendo will be releasing their DS Lite later this summer, which will be smaller and more portable than their current DS.