The video game industry is full of choices. The biggest choice games will make is what console to buy. Asking a gamer to give an informed, objective opinion about the merits of each gaming console is, more often than not, an exercise in futility. The majority of gamers are fanatical devotees of one console and are disdainful of the others. To save new gamers from parsing through biased opinions to find the facts, this series of articles will present the merits and drawbacks of each machine. There are three main choices: the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Nintendo Wii.
None of the three consoles can truly be called better than the others. Each machine has its strengths and weaknesses in terms of price, graphics, game selection, and online capability. Different individuals will enjoy certain consoles for different reasons. Ultimately, gamers should choose which one to purchase based on what type of gamer he or she is.
What Type of Gamer Are You?
There’s no official agreed upon definition of hardcore gamers, but according to an interview conducted by Li C. Kuo for Gamespy and an article by blogger Jmanalang writing for G4, hardcore gamers are people who: devote a lot of free time to gaming; purchase related merchandise; take the game seriously; enjoy the competition aspect; collect games rather than sell them after finishing them; and play games that take a lot of time to master or complete. Hardcore games are designed to be challenging, immersive, and require a large time commitment. Most hardcore games will feature heavy action, adventure elements, and complex plots that take upwards of thirty hours to complete. Hardcore gamers will be the most interested in the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 (PS3).
Casual gamers, as defined by blogger Jake writing for Binaryjoy, are people who are looking for simple, easy distractions to pass an hour or two at a time. They do not necessarily devote less total time to gaming but don’t take it seriously and are simply looking for fun. Thus, casual games are designed to appeal to as broad an audience as possible, with simple rules and a “pick up and play” mentality. The majority of casual titles will not include action-focused titles, shooters, or intensive role-playing and strategy games. Casual gamers will be the most interested in the Nintendo Wii.
What’s Important to You?
Before getting into console specifics, it will be helpful if the new gamer decides on a few key factors. If specific criteria – such as price or graphics – matter above all else, certain consoles may be eliminated from consideration.
Gamers on a budget should look at the Wii and 360. The lowest priced 360 is the same price as a Wii at $199.99 USD. The PS3 remains the most expensive console of the three with the cheapest unit coming in at $299.99 USD. These prices are quoted from each system’s respective official websites.
New gamers should be under no illusions about the cost of individual games – they’re expensive! New games typically retail for $59.99 USD on the 360 and PS3. Will games are only ten dollars cheaper at $49.99 USD, not a significant enough difference to sway most consumers.
Gamers who are looking for great high-definition, realistic graphics should look no further than the 360 or the PS3. They are graphically superior to the Nintendo Wii. People who purchase a Wii with the expectation of being impressed by the graphics will be utterly disappointed.
Buying a Video Game Console
Making a purchase with this limited information would be premature. However, gamers should now have a better idea of which video game console is the most appropriate for them, based on the type of games they want to play and any specific limitations or expectations.
People unfamiliar with gaming, who are interested in party games and casual games, should take the hardest look at the Nintendo Wii. People who are serious about their games, are interested in online competitive play, expect stunning graphics, and want deep action-based games should look at the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3.