Monday, December 3, 2007

Holiday Guide 2007: Day 1: Next Gen Video Game Consoles

The holiday season is approaching incredibly fast as everyone dives deeper to finish up final projects for the year. I fall into this category as well. Final exams are in two weeks and semester papers and projects are coming due within a week.

In light of all of this, I've been doing my research for Christmas gifts for everyone around and with this, I've been reading a lot of gift guides through many of the major sites. There is one trend that I've noticed in most of the tech guides and that is that somewhere along the lines, the sites are sponsored in one way or another by certain companies and therefore they need to be in support of the companies that are supporting them! Considering I'm not sponsored by any company, I figured I would provide an unabashed tech guide for anyone looking to buy a tech gift for a loved one.

Today's focus is on the next generation of video games consoles. There are three and they each play to a major demographic of the video game playing world.

So here we go:

Nintendo Wii: Age range: 2-100 Price: $250 Availability: Scarce

-This is the most innovative game console to come out since the mainstream move to 3D games on the Nintendo 64. This console is great for kids and adults. I'm calling it the game system that "gets people off their butts and moving" because it really does that. In order to successfully play most of the games available for the Wii, the player must be able to use full dexterity of their arms and hands and sometimes their entire bodies! Players are given two "motion sensitive" controllers that they use to manipulate the characters in the game through motions with the controllers. This console does not have nearly the intensely realistic graphics as the next two consoles, but the innovative gameplay lets you have a more complete control of the video game characters. The audience for this game console is anyone from any age group with an experience level of beginner to expert in the world of gaming. The hardcore gamers may laugh at the simplicity of the games, but will be seduced into the intense gameplay and complex moves required in later, more difficult levels. Recommended game for the Wii: Super Mario Galaxy

Microsoft Xbox 360: Age range: 10-35 Price:$279-$399 Availability: Readily available

-This was the first next generation console to hit the market two years ago and has been through several ups and downs during those years. This year marked the "red circle of death" for the machine where a hardware failure caused Microsoft to completely revamp the machine for better components. This machine is intended for the more hardcore gamers that are into great graphics, backwards compatibility with their old Xbox games and a more online gamer based world in what is known as Xbox Live. This is a subscription service ($50 a year) that allows anyone with a broadband connection to play other gamers from across the world. The majority of the games are meant for more experienced gamers and do not play to the younger (or older) inexperienced crowd. The issue with this machine is based around the fact that you can start with a basic product ($279) that does not include anything but the machine and start to add on components like a hard drive ($100), an HD DVD player ($170), a wireless connection ($100) and several other components that total the machine out at more than $500 plus the subscription service for the Xbox Live. This makes for a very pricey machine that Microsoft doesn't advertise at the base level. Granted, you can buy a machine with a hard drive attached ($349-399) but you still will need to buy the HD DVD drive and wireless if you wish to have a machine comparable to the next console. Recommended game for the Xbox 360: Halo 3 (the Xbox 360 lifesaver)

Sony Playstation 3: Age range: 10-35 Price: $399-499 Availability: Readily available

-This machine has become the ultimate gaming machine for anyone that is a die hard gamer or looking to get into gaming. The included DVD/Blu-ray player, wireless connectivity, hard drive and overall processing power makes this machine great! When it was first released, the price and the lack of quality games knocked this system down, but with a recent price cut and the inclusion of some great new exclusive games, the Playstation 3 has become a must have for anyone looking to buy a next generation console. Not only does this system include everything that you will need to buy for the Xbox 360, but the online play is 100% FREE! Beginning in 2008, Sony has announced that they will be opening up an area for each called a Home that will enable people to create an online character and place of residence to interact with other gamers and show off their online accomplishments. The more expensive price tag is outweighed by the simple fact that the gamer is not required to pay subscription fees every year. One year of use makes this machine more cost effective compared to the gamer. The major issue with this machine is a lack of backwards compatibility with some original Playstation and Playstation 2 games. Otherwise, this is a must buy! Recommended games for the Playstation 3: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

This is just my opinion in regards to the next generation consoles but each has a point of interest for person you have in mind. Let me know what you think is the best!

Tomorrow's gift guide: Blu-ray vs. HD DVD

Have a great day!

1 comment:

Raphy said...

This sounds a lot like a conversation I had yesterday with some guys. You forgot to mention though that you can also browse the internet with the Wii, though its a bit more complicated if the links are small.