The premier video game systems on the market today are Xbox 360 and the soon to be released Sony PlayStation 3. The most compelling additions to these
The premier video game systems on the market today are Xbox 360 and the soon to be released Sony PlayStation 3. The most compelling additions to these systems from the past versions are improved internet capability and faster processing, similar to computers. But the price tag for these two systems is pretty high and may discourage those who aren’t diehard gamers to choose a less expensive option. Sony PlayStation 2 remains the best system on the market, with Xbox trailing due to its cumbersome controller and more limited game lineup. Nintendo Game Cube is a distant third, a cheaper video game system that is suitable more for children who will enjoy games of Mario, Pokemon, and Animal Crossing.
In terms of handheld gaming, Sony has bypassed Nintendo with its PlayStation Portable (PSP). This portable gaming and DVD system runs about $250 and the gaming and DVD inventory is as expensive as the regular system. However, the PSP is worth it if you are on the go and need a reliable multimedia option for game playing and movie viewing. The Nintendo DS, however, is a good and less expensive version that will allow you to play some of the same games as PSP and others, like the Mario franchise, that are not available anywhere else.
- Number/quality of games: The number of games over a video game system’s life is a sign of its vitality and the producing company’s ability to develop a product. Past systems like Sega Dreamcast or Sega CD faltered because their inventories were low and the games they did produce were subpar compared to competitors like Nintendo. Sony PlayStation 2 (and the upcoming PlayStation 3) is the definitive leader in the number and quality of games at around 5000 titles, though Nintendo Game Cube utilizes their proprietary Mario franchise to create any number of fun games for their system. A good way to view the entire field of games for a particular system is to search on Amazon or Half.com to see the variety of video game genres available.
- Multimedia options: The newer video game systems are turning away from the single purpose style of past Sony, Sega, and Nintendo systems and adding various multimedia options. Sony PlayStation 2/3 and the Xbox systems include DVD players and internet connectivity options to allow multi player gaming online. Consumers should consider the DVD options particularly when purchasing gaming systems, as it kills two birds with one stone. However, there is nostalgia for older systems and the Nintendo Game Cube and Game Boy Advanced provide excellent gaming capabilities without all the bells and whistles.
- Price: The newer systems top out between $300 and $400, with MS Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 driving prices higher for premium systems. However, the benefit of this is that older systems like Nintendo Game Cube ($99), Xbox ($150), and PlayStation 2 ($150) will go down in price. The PlayStation games, from the original version through the third version, will remain the same because Sony has developed backward compatibility for its newer systems. However, Game Cube games are quickly going on sale and the more thrifty consumer will benefit from the lower price of older systems.
If you can, wait until the holiday season to purchase your new gaming system. This is when the best sales are on for systems, games, and accessories, and if you can brave the crowds, you will be able to save some money.
If you just have to have a gaming system but don’t need the premium systems, check out Amazon or Half.com to purchase older systems or used newer systems. As well, your local second hand CD and DVD stores will have used systems and games that you can usually try out. While you save on shipping by going local, these second hand stores typically don’t have a wide variety of games or may have inventory of varying quality. Make sure to do the same amount of research on these units as you did in deciding which unit to purchase in the first place.
Finally, consult with friends and colleagues whom you know have preferences for a certain gaming system. This will help you look beyond the numbers and get to the intangible factors that may be able to help you make an informed decision. As well, video game systems are so ubiquitous that there are plenty of message boards and resources online to evaluate which system will fulfill your gaming needs.
A Few Hints…
– It is important to read the signs ahead for video game providers, as older systems decrease in price ahead of newer, faster systems. While it may be attractive to go after the cutting edge system, gaming systems like the original PlayStation or Nintendo Game Cube provide great graphics and a solid number of games to keep the average gamer busy. As well, these gaming systems and much of their game inventory are available at second hand CD stores and on sale at major retailers like Target and Best Buy.
– Gaming systems like PlayStation 2 and Xbox allow users to go online to play games as well as use the systems as a DVD player. These are great options for those seeking multiple entertainment platforms in one package, along with the fact that PlayStation 2 will start to decrease in price due to the arrival of PlayStation 3. While gaming should be the primary consideration, don’t forget that there are other ways to use your gaming system.
– For accessories and peripherals for your new system, look to second hand stores and online retailers to save money. Second hand CD stores often have games, controllers, and memory devices, while online retailers can provide you a greater array of used games and larger inventory. Budgeting on things like controllers, memory cards, and older games means you can spend more money on new games.