Console-based video gaming is one of the most popular of modern digital technologies, cutting across age,
demographic and gender divides. Today's players have three dominant platforms to choose from: Nintendo
Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 by Microsoft. Each is an impressive multifunctional device, with designs
meant to encourage integration into existing home entertainment systems and networks, but each goes
about this in different ways. Taking a few minutes to examine the main features, and getting more familiar
with available options, accessories and possible limitations of each console is the optimal way to
determine which is the best choice for the players in a household.
The Wii gaming console with Wii Remote Plus wireless controller View larger
The PlayStation 3 gaming console with DualShock 3 wireless controller View larger
The Xbox 360 gaming console with wireless controller View larger
Models and Pricing (prices may vary) Wii with Mario Kart Wii - $149 160 GB memory -
320 GB memory - $300
4 GB memory - $200
250 GB memory - $300
What's in the Box * Wii console
* Wii Mario Kart game
* One Wii Remote Plus controller
* One Nunchuk controller
* Wii Sensor bar
* Standard composite cable and power cord
* PS3 console
* One wireless controller
* A/V cable for connection to TV
* USB cable for charging controller
* Free PlayStation Network (PSN) membership
* Xbox 360 console
* One Xbox 360 wireless controller
* Composite A/V cable (standard definition)
* A month free Xbox LIVE Gold membership
Motion Gaming? Already included PlayStation Move (sold separately)
Kinect for Xbox 360 (sold separately)
Colors (limited edition colors may be available) White and black Black
Drive Type CD (just games) CD/DVD/Blu-ray (games, music, movies)
CD/DVD (games, music, movies)
Online Play WiiWare PlayStation Network (PSN) Xbox LIVE
Additional Accessories Additional controllers - $10-45 Additional controllers - $40-50
Additional controllers - $40-50
Price Range of Games New releases: ~$30 - $50
Downloadable: ~$5 - $10 New releases: ~$60
Downloadable: ~$5 - $15 New releases: ~$60
Downloadable: ~$5 - $15
Backwards Compatibility Plays all GameCube game titles Offers compatibility with PS1
games Over 300 titles developed for the original Xbox console are currently available
Graphic Quality 480p 1080p 1080p
Great For Designed for Junior to Grandma with titles generally focused on family fun, party games
High-powered and highly customizable system for the technical-minded consumers
Offers a wide selection of games and accessible entertainment, with user-friendly social tools
Screenshot from Just Dance 3Arcade, Casual and Party games are a Wii Specialty.
Consider Games Before Choosing a Console
There is not just one kind of console video game, and so the machines that are are used to play
them are different as well. Considering the types of games to be played, their availability for the
consoles being considered and the ability of those consoles' to present the best gaming
experience possible for the game's genre and content is important. The games developed for Wii tend to be
more easily accessible, family-friendly productions heavily influenced by Nintendo's classic
gaming history. Filled with cartoon-like and childlike characters as well as Arcade-style gameplay
situations, Wii games are often referred to as "Casual Games," or "Party Games" typified by brief, simple
"mini-games." These small games-within-games are tailor-made for players new to the
puzzle-solving aspects of gaming and how that is translated through game controllers to the screen by the
Screenshot from Batman: Arkham CityPS3 and Xbox 360 provide the processing power that Action-Adventure, Shooter, Racing
and RPG games need.
View larger. PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles are the current version of earlier console
releases whose user bases were rooted in game genres such as Action-Adventure, Shooters, Racing, Sports,
Role-playing games (RPG) and so on. Gameplay developed in these genres tends to require more focus on the
part of the player, and more graphics processing power from the console in order to maintain a
quality experience. That is what continues to be the main focus of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Capable
of full 1080p HD quality graphics presentation when used with the proper cables and displays,
in this area Xbox 360 and PS3 are far beyond what Wii is capable of. Iconic game franchises like Halo, God
of War, Fable, Metal Gear Solid, Gears of War, Killzone, Mass Effect, The Elder Scrolls and
many others have grown up on these platforms, feeding off of their power. And with the rise of online
multiplayer gaming through Xbox LIVE and PSN the high energy, fine graphical specialties of these
platforms only continues to grow.
Although motion gaming has been front and center since the launch of the Wii in 2006, the other two consoles have
their own motion gaming offerings that provide unique play opportunities on their respective platforms that have also
found a wide audience. See a breakdown of the motion gaming capacity of each of the systems below.
Wii Remote Plus and Nunchuk
The Wii Remote Plus controller is the standard wireless controller that ships with each Wii. It combines the
intuitive motion controls of the original Wii Remote with the precision technology of the Wii MotionPlus accessory, all
built-in to a single unit. The device is handled in a wand-like fashion, and uses internal gyroscope and accelerometer
technology to pinpoint the players movements and physical positioning which it then relates into a game via a sensor bar
connected to the console. The Wii Remote Plus has only a few buttons making it easy to use. It also contains a speaker,
a rumble feature, and an external connector for other input devices like the Nunchuk controller and the Classic
PlayStation Move offers a new and innovative gaming experience for the PlayStation 3 (PS3) system by fusing
realistic, high-definition gaming along with accurate, intuitive control. Consisting of a PlayStation Move motion
controller, a PlayStation Move Navigation controller (optional in most games) and a PlayStation Eye camera (all sold
separately), PlayStation Move enables sophisticated, ultra accurate motion control and immersive gameplay only possible
on the PS3 system. In addition, the PlayStation Eye features the ability to process up to 120 frames/second and a
built-in 4 microphone array for pristine video quality and video chat capabilities.
Kinect for Xbox 360
Easy to use and fun for everyone, Kinect sensor for Xbox 360 utilizes revolutionary full-body tracking to put players
in the center of the fun that is 100% controller-free. After configuring itself by registering a range of points across
your body, this amazing technology allows Kinect to recognize and mirror your movements in the game, in effect making
your body the controller. The sensor is compatible with every Xbox 360, features a color VGA motion camera (640 x 480
pixel resolution @ 30 frames per second), a depth camera (640 x 480 pixel resolution @ 30 frames per second) and an
array of 4 microphones supporting single speaker voice recognition.
Wii Remote Plus with attached NunchukWii Remote Plus & Nunchuk.
PlayStation Move featuring the PlayStation Eye peripheral and motion controllerPlayStation Eye & Motion controller.
The controller-free Kinect sensor for Xbox 360 being usedController-free Kinect sensor play.
Online Play and Functionality
Online functionality is a major focus in console gaming. Each of the three consoles can be used offline, but by
integrating them into your home broadband connection you can greatly expand their potential. Each posses a significant
online component, but differ in the ways users can interact with it.
WiiWare logo WiiWare is a service that allows Wii players to download games and applications
directly to their Wii console in exchange for purchased Wii Points on the Wii Shop Channel. Online gameplay
requires a code to play. It's free to play and there are no names, so kids are protected
against unwanted contact. Through Wii's online component players can also gain access to hundreds of
classic arcade games available for download through Wii's Virtual Console functionality. The Nintendo
Channel allows players to watch gameplay videos, trailers, developer interviews, and even download Nintendo
DS game demos wirelessly. Additional Wii online functionality includes a web browser and connectivity with
Netflix,* which allows users to stream video efficiently and quietly by means of the console's low energy
consumption internal processing.
PlayStation Network logo PlayStation Network is an all access pass not only to a world of gaming, but
also one of entertainment at-large. The service is 100% free, only requiring a PS3 (or PlayStation handheld) and a
broadband connection to the Internet. Once you are in visit the PlayStation Store where users can download games,
previews, DLC add-ons for games, game demos, game extras, music and streaming video. Purchases can be made using a
credit card or a PlayStation Network Card purchased offline. Content can be stored on your console or external media.
Online multiplayer gameplay through PSN is simple, yet robust. Simply slip a compatible multiplayer disc into the
console, select the multiplayer option and set up your own game or wait to join one in progress. The service also
contains Netflix access,* a range of original gaming-oriented video programming, as well as access to PlayStation Home,
a 3D world where gamers can interact in a virtual environment.
Xbox LIVE logo Xbox LIVE is the online entertainment hub for Xbox 360. The service was launched
with the original Xbox console in 2002, and has evolved and grown with Xbox 360. The service is two-tiered,
with every user receiving a free "Silver membership," which allows for access to content such
as free game demos, downloaded video rentals, Xbox LIVE avatar functionality and chat. A paid "Gold
Membership" provides access to these and expanded features, including online gaming, HD movies and TV shows
through services such as Netflix,* HBO Go,** ESPN, and Hulu Plus, downloadable games,
facebook, downloadable content (DLC) for games and more. Players use Xbox LIVE points, which as easily
purchased online and offline to access much of the online content. Both Xbox LIVE membership levels
allow players to increase their Gamer Score, a running tally of the achievements they have unlocked in
games. This is commonly shared information among gamers around the world and a source of pride in
* Existing Netflix unlimited membership account required.
** Requires a valid subscription to HBO content through a cable or satellite provider.