Which One Should You Buy
Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3, or PSP?


MICROSOFT Xbox 360

The Xbox 360 has the advantage of having already been on the market for a year.  Thus, it has the biggest selection of games, also because of its internal development studios and strong third-party support.  Many of the games can be considered, "must plays"

Even though it doesn't have a motion-sensing controller, its wireless controller is hard to beat and is augmented by a strong group of well-designed peripherals, such as the wireless headset  communicator and the wireless steering wheel. 

Also, Microsoft recently released an external HD-DVD player which connects to the Xbox 360 console with a USB cable that lets you to play high-definition DVDs.  Another notable item is the great Xbox Live service that integrates seamlessly for online community gaming.  There is a charge for this service but its well worth the price if you like the challenge of playing others online.  You will also get added enhancements and downloadable content that is constantly being added.

The Xbox 360 wins out over the PS3 in a couple of other categories.  It's HD Media Center Extender experience wins hands down, against the PS3 and it supports live and recorded HDTV on your home network, including TV show and movie downloads.  Another plus is its device connectivity which includes direct support for the Apple iPod and Sony PSP devices. 

If you are willing to pay the one year fee of $50, then you can hook up with the "Xbox Live" online gaming service.  Sony doesn't come close to this challenge.  There is also the pay-per-view downloadable movies and TV shows.  With the HD-DVD add-on, this will make it a great gift for any HDTV owner. 

On the PS3, gamers can only communicate with other in the same game, so they are isolated from other games.  And finally, there is a gift from Microsoft that puts the final blow on Sony, a free 1080p upgrade for all existing Xbox 360 units.

The Xbox 360 has the power and performance of a high-end gaming PC.  The going price of $400 is quite acceptable for the rich gaming and media experience that you get.

bullet If I were buying a system for someone who's into High Definition programming, I'd go with the Xbox 360.

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Nintendo Wii

The Wii is a straight forward, simple to use gaming device with a wand-like, motion-sensitive controller called the ''Wii-mote''.  It offers the most unique and exciting way to play games by responding to a player's physical movements and provides an aerobic gaming experience.

Although it doesn't have the sheer graphics power and rich media features of the PS3 or the Xbox 360, it gives you a degree of freedom that is heads above the Xbox 360 and the PS3.

Even though the console is next-gen, the graphics on the Wii will not make your eyes pop out, but it does give new meaning to "user involvement".  Eventually, Nintendo will have to address this graphics issue to stay competitive with the others.  But even with the existing graphics, it's real easy to get involved in the games and you can even get a good workout.

With Wii Sports, that comes bundled with the console, to swing a golf club you actually swing the remote controller just like it was a golf club.  For hitting a baseball, you swing the controller like a baseball bat.  Just playing Wii Sports tennis can give you a sore arm in 30 minutes if you play to win.  So be sure you've got some floor space to "get active".

This system is less expensive than the PS3 and the Xbox 360, and it will really appeal to the kids.

It is the most family friendly machine, with an emphasis on fun gamming, which adults will find attractive and there is a fast growing library of retro games from earlier consoles, including Sega and Nintendo classics.  This system is this most affordable at around $250.

bullet If you are buying for kids, then the Wii is the right choice.

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SONY PlayStation 3

The PS3 weighs 11 pounds and is much larger than the Wii or the Xbox 360.  But it is very easy to set up and many PS3 owners will probably be able to get it hooked up and running without having to use the manual. 

Sony has made it's goals clear:  It has presented us with something much more than a gaming system.  Yes, playing games is still it's main function, but this system is outfitted to give you much more than just games.  This is the next-gen TV top box without a doubt.   It can replace your DVD player, play music, let you view digital photos using a memory card slot, and watch YouTube videos on your TV.  Sony also offers an online gaming service, but it has a long way to go before it challenges the Xbox Live service, although it is free.

There are two models of the PS3.  The Basic model costs $500 and comes with an upgradeable 20GB hard drive, Blu-ray drive, Gigabit Ethernet, an optical digital audio output, four USB 2.0 ports,  and an HDMI 1.3 port. The Premium model is $600, but it has a 60GB hard drive and also comes with Wi-Fi and card readers that support SD,  A Blu-Ray players cost around $1,000 so you can see that for the price, you are definitely getting your money's worth.

Inside, it has a series of powerful microprocessors and circuitry that make it the most powerful and complex game console to date.  It's a high-definition machine that is capable of displaying games and movies at 1080p resolution.  If you own a plasma or LCD set, then you'll be able to take full advantage of this resolution. 

Just considering it's technological abilities, it surpasses both the Xbox 360 and the Wii, but the initially available games look no better than what the Xbox 360 has to offer.  If Sony wants to be the "big gun" in town, then they will have to come up with buckets full of compelling games.  Although it is compatible with millions of existing PlayStation (PS1) and PlayStation 2 (PS2) titles.

If you are a gamer who likes to have all the extras, then this is the game box for you.  With its up-scale design and loads of extras, even though it is pricier than the others, it makes the $600 price tag seem well worth it.

The downside is that this system isn't as mature as the others. But since you can download updates, then this shortcoming should be addressed in the near future.  Until then, this new generation of gaming systems has been won by the Xbox 360 at the high end and the Wii at the low end.

bullet If you're thinking about buying the PS3, you might want to consider the PSP instead.  It's Sony's portable player which is probably the best one on the market and more affordable. I'd wait for something better to come out with with PS3.

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