A lineup of games that YOU want
to play. Choosing a
game console largely depends on
who will be playing and what type of games they will want to play. Before
you buy, visit the manufacturer's website to get a sense of what games are
available for the console in question. Each manufacturer lists compatible
games on its website.
Useful extras. Game consoles are often marketed in bundles with
games and accessories. Keep in mind that you'll need to spend extra for things
that are not in the box. That includes things like HDMI cables, headsets and
additional game controllers.
A controller that is fun and
easy to use. If
you can, play around with a console's controller at the store before you
buy. In reviews, users frequently complain that a particular controller
style is uncomfortable or that the buttons are too small for their
Know before you go
Who will be playing? The Nintendo Wii's library skews heavily toward family-friendly titles
as well as those for younger kids. For teens and adults, especially those
interested in realistic graphics and action, the Microsoft Xbox One and Sony
PlayStation 4 are the better choices. Keep in mind that the library for both of
those new consoles is limited for now. If that's an issue, the earlier Sony
PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 -- and their vast library of titles --
What about media features? Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 can play DVDs and Blu-ray Discs.
Sony has dropped support for CD and MP3 playback, though user outcry may lead
to both features being brought back via firmware updates. Both consoles offer
Internet connectivity, but you'll need to budget for either console's online
subscription service for online gaming. On the PS4, you can still access
entertainment apps like Netflix or Hulu Plus without needing to buy a
PlayStation Plus account. With the Xbox One you'll need an Xbox Live Gold
membership to do just about anything online. The PS4 lacks DLNA features at
present, so the Xbox One is the better choice if you want to stream content
from your PC. The Nintendo Wii U does have Internet connectivity, though
relatively few streaming partners. The Wii U cannot play DVDs, Blu-ray Discs or
Is motion and voice control a must? All three of the major consoles have motion-sensing technology. The Xbox
One includes the Kinect voice and gesture controller, and that peripheral is essential
to some of the console's most innovative features. The PlayStation 4 supports
gesture control via an optional PlayStation Camera peripheral (Est. $70), but
relatively few games make use of it. Motion control is a key part of the Wii U
and is built into its GamePad controllers.
ConsumerSearch editors personally research every product category to recommend the best choices. Expert review sources are heavily weighted, but user reviews, especially those where durability or usability are a factor, are crucial to helping us finalize our top picks.
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