Best Video Game Consoles

So you’re looking to play video games. Prior to playing, you will need to buy a video game system if you don’t have one already. This is a solution that is as simple as your need to buy a Television if you’re wanting to watch a TV show but do not own a TV. There are many game systems out there right now, spread over 2 generations and 3 major brands, and that’s where things can get sticky. You’ve already made the choice to buy a gaming console. The only question that remains is Which is the Best Gaming System? That’s where we come in.

Best Video Game Consoles

This is a list of the best video game consoles available today! This list will evolve as technology requires. Check back frequently to read about the latest advances in video game console technology and news.
Video Game Console ImageVideo Game Console NamePriceVerified Purchaser Review
Xbox One with Kinect Day One EditionXbox One with Kinect (Day One Edition)$549.99First off I am one of the biggest Sony fan boys you will ever meet. I pre-ordered the Xbox One and Playstation 4 back on June 10, 2013 the first day Amazon had both consoles available for pre-order. That said, I have given the Playstation 4 three stars due to a bad gui interface, a confusing game update process, still lack of unified online multi-player system and Sony did not learn from their mistakes on the Playstation 3. The Xbox One isn't perfect, but it is heads and tails above the Playstation 4. The kinetic voice control is a nice gimmick, but where the Xbox One really shines is being able to do multiple tasks at once. I am a football junkie, my problem in the past is trying to decide between watching football or playing video games, most of the time watching football won out. Now I can do both, I can play a game and snap the football game to the right side and easily switch to the football game with my controller or voice command. Microsoft is on the right track with the Xbox One, they need to fine tune and polish a few things, but it is a move in the right direction!

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PlayStation 4 ConsolePlayStation 4 (PS4) Console$399.99I strongly recommend the PS4 to anyone who prefers action-adventure and platform games over FPS games, or who enjoys getting at least one FREE downloadable game each month, or who has several good friends who already own one. If your friends haven't bought a next-gen gaming console yet, then odds are that they will be buying a PS4 since "VGChartz says that total cumulative global PlayStation 4 sales sat at 6,563,350 as of March 22nd, while cumulative Xbox One sales reached 4,021,382 units."

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Xbox 360 4GBXbox 360 4GB$175.85Okay, I'm a middle-aged man, not "into" video games. I have taken up learning to play the guitar and progressing well. Then I read reviews on Rocksmith and figured I'd order it and see if it helps my progression. BUT, I didn't own a game console so I ordered this one. I must admit, very easy set-up, never looked at instructions and took me about 5 minutes to hook it up. I like it very much and just ordered our first "game" for my wife. I have no interest in video games but my wife does and will play this.

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Nintendo Wii U Console - 32GB Black Deluxe SetNintendo Wii U Console - 32GB Black Deluxe Set$345.99Let me start off by saying that i am a pc gamer. So system preformance has always been the name of the game for me. Ps3 and xbox 360 are about a 15th as powerful as my current machine. So clearly graphical prowess is not the reason for this purchase. In the back of my heart i've always had a place for nintendo games. I owned a a wii for many years, and went through periods of playing, mainly with mario galaxy and zelda. I liked the system, but felt like the idea was incomplete. The Wii U is a complete upgrade. The controller which i was skeptical about is absolutely brilliant. You will see some awesome games in the future which will take full advantage. The system also has a little horsepower as well, to make those beautiful nintendo titles come to life. A lot of people are under the impression that this system is still weaker than the PS3 and Xbox360, which is definetly not true. The Wii U is multiple times more powerful than those sytems. Obviously its not revolutionary technology, but at 300 dollars you can't ask for to much.

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PS3 500GB SystemPlaystation 3 (PS3) 500GB System$252.95Came fairly quick. Packaged great! I was s bit worried because the heading said it was 500 GB but in the description it said 250. It was in fact 500 which was a relief. Came with everything it said it did. My husband loves it and I'm enjoying that it pays blu ray. Best $300 I've spent in a while.

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image of xbox one and controller

Xbox One is among the best in console gaming

Why should I get a Console Gaming System?

It’s not entirely accurate to say that a gaming console is a better selection than that of a PC. Opting for a console over a PC is entirely dependent on what kind of taste you have, your amount of patience, what kind of budget you have to work with, and how much technical knowledge you have. Based simply off of the number of games available, power, and flexibility, a PC is easily the choice you should make. However, in order to get the most out of it, you will need a decent amount of skill and, let’s be honest, that’s just not something everyone has. We are going to begin by making the assumption that you are a beginner and are not someone that’s already building out your own machine from scratch.

To begin with, Gaming Consoles are significantly cheaper than what you will spend on a gaming PC. You can get an Xbox One or a Playstation 4 for around $400 each at Amazon.com. Granted, you could probably build a PC for that amount, however it will not have as much power for games that your console will at that level of investment. When you start thinking about PCs that are dedicated to gaming, the components alone will run you at least twice that much and will easily cost thousands of dollars when you buy them already built for you.

In addition, the consoles provide a consistent hardware platform that is sure to be relevant for many years to come while, on the other hand, a PC game that’s built today is built using the technology and hardware that’s relevant today. Five years from now, that technology is almost certain to be archaic. The hardware that’s used to make console gaming systems today will be the same exact hardware that will be used five years from now. As a matter of fact, it’s highly probably that games that get released 5 years from now will work even better on your console gaming system than it would on a PC. It’s just a better, more durable system because of the foundation of the hardware.

The Latest Consoles (Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U)

Image of a playstation 4

PS4 is one of the highest-rated consoles

What was once known as “Next-generation” gaming is now the current gaming generation because all of the major manufacturers have recently released their latest consoles. Now we are probably not going to see another game system for quite a few years. That just means you should no longer wait for the “latest and greatest” before buying one or you could be waiting a long time. In fact, it has been over a year since the release of the Xbox One and the Playstation 4 and, in that time, each has been able to develop a pretty sizable collection of downloadable and retail games. Granted, their aren’t as many games as what you can find for the Xbox 360 or the Playstation 3, however their are more than enough for you to get your gaming on. One thing to keep in mind, non of the prior versions of these consoles are backwards compatible. If you have games from the older version of a console, you will not be able to play those games on the newer consoles. In other words, you can’t play games you bought for a PS 2 on the PS 3.

Each new system is awesome for future-proofing your games library over the next couple of years. As developers learn how to get increased power from the Xbox One and PS4, the games that were created for them are only going to become more technically and visually impressive. Launch libraries are always hit and miss, but there are more than enough promising cross-platform and exclusive games getting developed and will be released in the next few years to make a strong case for each system.

In the previous generation, the PlayStation 3 was the big cheese of game systems that had media features, because it was able to play Blu-ray discs where the Xbox 360 was not able to. However, now the roles are reversed, as both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are capable of playing Blu-ray movies, and the Xbox One also provides a wide range of media features that the PS4 lacks. You are able to take control of your cable or satellite box via the Xbox One, either with your gamepad or through voice commands. And the system’s HDMI pass-through and on-screen channel guide combine live television, online services, and gaming into a single connected experience, so you won’t need to go back and forth between device inputs in order to enjoy your favorite movies, shows, and games. The PS4 provides a number of online services and is able to play Blu-ray discs, however it is missing television integration and HDMI passthrough, so you’re unable to watch television as you’re doing something else on the system.

Sony and Microsoft both offer premium online services via the PS Plus and Xbox Live Gold memberships, however while Microsoft requires Xbox Live Gold to access nearly all of the online functions on the Xbox One, you just need to get PS Plus if you’re looking to get in on some multiplayer game action. Your’e able to access Netflix, Hulu Plus, the Web browser, as well as some other non-gaming online features without having a membership on the PS4.

Image of the Wii U and GamePad

Wii U and GamePad

Next we will discuss the Nintendo Wii U a little. At a little over $300 at Amazon, the Wii U is an unusual video game system that’s built up a pretty solid library of games over the two years since its’ release. Using a gamepad with a large touch screen that displays the game you’re playing or offers a second screen with extra information you normally would not be able to see on the HDTV. The second-screen feature is fun for multiplayer games by introducing new player dynamics, however its major selling point is the capability of playing many games straight from the Wii U gamepad’s screen. Although this seems like a minor function, it makes the Wii U invaluable if you often find yourself in a struggle with roommates or family members over the control of the television.

Even though the Wii U is considered to be a part of the newest generation of gaming, the hardware is really more like that of the last-generation Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 than it is to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It’s able to output1080p video, a first for any Nintendo home console, but other than that it’s not built with quite the same emphasis on processing power as you will find on the other two systems. Wii U games are still looking excellent, but in a couple of years from now the more powerful hardware on the Xbox One and PS4 will begin to separate themselves in the arena of graphical feats the Wii U won’t come close to.

All of the features online for the Wii U are totally free, however they’re also somewhat anemic when put in comparison to that of the Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. Premium memberships are not being offered for its online service, however it also doesn’t offer any decent matchmaking or multiplayer features beyond what is available in the individual games. The Wii U is also incapable of playing Blu-ray discs like the PS3, PS4, and Xbox One, however it is able to access online services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus. The Wii U also has a handy feature that morphs the gamepad into a universal remote for your HDTV and cable box.

An issue that’s plagued Nintendo gaming systems in prior years is also a problem for the Wii U: a library that’s inconsistent and depends mainly on first-party titles. If you are looking to play the newest Mario or Zelda game, the Wii U is the only choice you have for the home, and there certainly are plenty of compelling titles you will only be able to find on the Wii U. To the contrary, if you desire the most awesome experience in playing the latest release of Call of Duty or Madden games, the Wii U will most likely be a bad choice because of inconsistent cross-platform ports. On a good note, the Wii U is the sole gaming system that is backwards-compatible out of all of the newest systems. You’re able to play old school Nintendo Wii games on the Wii U with no problem.

Older Console Models (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii)

Image of different models of xbox 360

Xbox 360 In Different Colors

The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which you can buy for around $300.00 at Amazon are looking at the ends of their eras. Games will keep trickling out for them for a while, however sooner or later those little green and blue disc cases are going to disappear from store shelves and will be totally replaced by a slightly different green and blue disc cases from Xbox One and PS4 games. In the meantime, each of the “last-gen” systems are still worthy of being purchased, mainly when you consider the price tags are nearly half that of their more modern siblings.

Each game system are capable of accessing online services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, as well as Amazon Instant Video. But, just the PS3 is unable to play Blu-ray discs; the Xbox 360’s optical drive is DVD-only. As with their current-generation models, you require an Xbox Live Gold membership to be able to use nearly all online features on the Xbox 360, although you’re able to access online services through the PS3 without having a PS Plus membership. Contrary to the PS4, you are even able to play online games on the PS3 without having PS Plus.

Sooner or later, Xbox 360 and PS3 titles will just disappear as publishers begin to focus mainly on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. This is something that happens to all game console generations, and sooner or later the last-gen hardware will get relegated to the shelves of the pre-owned. Even this won’t render these systems useless, though; a functional gaming system and possible Blu-ray player with an enormous library of titles you can find used for very little cash is a solid piece of equipment to own, even if you love the latest and greatest and consider yourself a tech-junkie.

The Nintendo Wii, unfortunately though, is a corpse. Nintendo is not developing any new Wii games, and there are no Wii titles to look forward to in the foreseeable future. However, the good news is, you can buy a used Wii for less than $100. Actually, it’s smarter to buy a used Wii than it is to buy a new Wii Mini ; the $100 Wii Mini does not have that same backwards-compatibility like the Wii, which allows you to play GameCube games on the full-sized Wii. The GameCube, while the game library is over 10 years old, there are still many classic games you should be able to have fun with to this day, such as Rogue Leader, Eternal Darkness, Super Mario Sunshine, as well as the original Resident Evil 4. If you are only looking to play Wii games, the Wii U will be perfect for you. If you are looking to play some of the GameCube titles as well, you will require either a Wii or Nintendo’s ten year old purple box.

Check out the Games
Keep the most important question in mind: Which games are you looking to play? Do you prefer to play some of the more classic titles or are you ready to play the latest releases? Are exclusives on any platform such as Halo, Gran Turismo, or Mario what you’re looking for?

If you’re buying a gaming system, it’s safe to assume that you’re getting it to play video games. If you only wanted to watch television shows and movies, you’d get a Blu-ray player or a Netflix Account or even an Apple TV. These systems cost a lot more than those little media hubs as they can play video games, so you have to think about which games you want to play prior to deciding on a platform. Big time franchises such as Call of Duty and Madden are always available across multiple platforms, however each system has a group of exclusive games that, depending on what you like, might sell you on one console over another. Visit a video game or electronics store and check out the different gaming system sections. If one group of shelves appears to contain more games that interest you, that might be the best gaming console system for you.