Which games console should you buy this Christmas? Xbox, Wii or even a PS3?
Recent figures published by MyVoucherCodes.co.uk appear to reveal that this year’s most sought after games console is the Xbox 360, outselling its nearest rival the PS3 by a ratio of 3:1.
But which machine really deserves to be crowned king of the console wars this Christmas; Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Sony’s PS3 or Nintendo’s Wii?
To decide which console is worthy of your cash, we’ll be looking at seven key areas that need to be of the highest quality in order to warrant your attention: Games, Exclusive Titles, Media Options, Online Gaming, Extras, Future Features and of course Value For Money. We’ll then tot up the results to see who comes out on top.
A year ago this would have been an easy first point for the Xbox 360, with a massive range of quality titles. However it’s been a superb year for games on the PS3, with its catalogue steadily growing. There is a fair bit of cross over between both gaming catalogues, with massive titles such as Assassins Creed 2, the Rock Band and Guitar Hero games, Modern Warfare 2, Left 4 Dead 2 and Batman: Arkham Asylum all available on both machines. It’s a hard one to judge for now until you consider exclusive titles (which we’ll be getting at next). The Xbox 360 and PS3 both boast HD gaming, becoming increasingly cinematic in scope and presentation. The Wii offers a far different experience; being a motion-gaming console, many titles such as Wii Sports Resort or Wii Fit offer pick-up-and-play fun that all the family can enjoy. However, other than first-party Nintendo titles, Wii games often lack the polish of those on the PS3 or 360.
Winner – Xbox 360 (for quantity alone over the PS3)
If you’re only going to be able to afford one console this Christmas, knowing which titles are exclusive to each is a massive consideration. Again, last year the Xbox 360 would have won this one hands down, but it’s anyone’s game this year. PS3 owners can pick up the excellent Uncharted 2, Killzone 2 and Little Big Planet, with God of War 3 and Gran Turismo 5 all on the horizon. Xbox 360 owners can enjoy Forza Motorsport 3, the Halo titles, Fable II, the Gears of War series and Mass Effect (also available on the PC), with its sequel not far off into the New Year. Wii owners can delight in the fact that they will be the only people with access to gaming legends such as Mario, Zelda and Samus Aran of Metroid, though ports of games available on other consoles are often of a poorer quality.
Winner – PS3 (because Uncharted 2 is ridiculously good, and for turning the AAA exclusive title drought around this year)
Easy one this; the PS3, hands down. Not only does it throw in a top notch Blu-ray player, but compatibility with all sorts of media files is available. Both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 have media server capabilities, but the PS3’s sleek Xross Media Bar UI and built in Wi-Fi make setting up these features very simple. The PS3 has also recently launched the Playstation Network Video Delivery service, allowing you to download or rent movies straight to your console. The Xbox 360 has DVD- playback and the option to download HD films too, but so far no Blu-ray option, despite constant rumours of an add-on in the pipeline. Both the PS3 and Xbox 360 have USB ports, and support many music files such as MP3’s, which can then be integrated into the soundtracks of many games. The Wii is really weak here: no Blu-ray, DVD, no movie downloads, no nothing.
There’s no denying the Xbox 360 has a thriving online community. 2 million users were clocked using the service simultaneously the week Modern Warfare 2 came out. There’s no dearth of competitors to take on, but be prepared to get regularly battered by seven year-olds from the states. Subscription fees apply to become an Xbox Live Gold member (£40 for 12 months), and you’ll also need an add-on to go wireless that costs around £45, but you do get regular content updates, lots of affordable and high quality downloadable games and a good service for the money. PS3 and Wii owners can enjoy the luxury of going online for free, which is obviously ace. There aren’t a huge number of players online on the Wii, but they do have access to some real gems from the Nintendo gaming back catalogue. The PS3 has a growing userbase, all keen to get online and play for free. Downloadable games content is similar to the Xbox 360, though smaller in range, but does feature some classic PS1 titles such as Metal Gear Solid.
Winner – Tied (Xbox 360 offers the best online service but is costly, the PS3 and Wii offerings are free and have some good content but, for the moment at least, are on a smaller scale than Microsoft)
The Wii and its channel set-up is a simple and easy to use portal to lots of features such as a web browser and BBC iPlayer, but it just cant compete with the PS3 and Xbox 360’s offerings. PS3 users also have a web browser and dedicated iPlayer app, but also have access to Facebook too, with a whole slew of other add-ons on the way. Though it doesn’t have an iPlayer, the Xbox 360 has everything else; Facebook, Twitter, Last FM, Sky Digital. Lots to be getting on with for 360 owners.
Winner – Xbox 360
Both the PS3 and Xbox 360 look set to throw new attempts at motion gaming into the console mix next year. In fact, the Xbox 360’s Natal motion-controller is claimed to be so revolutionary as to be a console changing device. Rumours still abound for a Wii HD, but this would come in the form of a brand new console, not a feature, so should be viewed perhaps as a mark against buying a current-generation Wii.
Winner – Xbox 360
Value For Money
The Xbox 360 budget Arcade machine will set you back around £150, but to get the most out of the console the £200 Elite version with 120GB hard drive is the best option. A basic Wii package will cost £100, but keep in mind it’s pretty slim on content straight out of the box. The PS3 offers the best value for money; the PS3 Slim with 120GB hard drive costs around £250, but for that you’re not only getting a gaming platform, but also a top-notch Blu-ray player, free online gaming, Wi-Fi straight out of the box and immediate access to features such as BBC iPlayer.
Winner – PS3
Overall Winner – PS3
It’s a close run race, but if I had to pick an overall winner, I’d side with the PS3. The Xbox 360 performs well, particularly in the breadth of its available content, but is let down by its costly albeit excellent online service. Finally affordable at £250, the PS3 has had an excellent year for exclusive titles and add-ons. The built in Blu-ray and free online gaming represent excellent value for money, and there are some hot titles lined-up for the New Year. I know which console I’d want Santa to leave under my tree.
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The games here I like most.
i would go for the ps3 because It has a great built in web browser. also has built in wifi so u wouldn’t need to connect it directly to an Ethernet cable is you have a wireless router.
I Like Xbox and PS3. But my choice to buy is PS3
Useful information, many thanks to the author. It is puzzling to me now, but in general, the usefulness and importance is overwhelming. Very much thanks again and good luck!
Nice article. There are a few inaccuracies with the article though.
In regards to Exclusive titles the acticle mentions
QUOTE – “Again, last year the Xbox 360 would have won this one hands down,”
Incorrect. The PS3 had better and more quality exclusives last year. (2008).
The author of the article seems to prefer quantitty over quality when it comes to games, which is strange.
“Xbox 360 offers the best online service but is costly,”
So its a tie? LIVE is less then $5 a month. Hardly costly.
PS3 all the way, btw l4d 2 is an xbox exclusive (hopefully not for long tho)
Well in Japan it’s a no – contest. The PS3 will storm ahead off the back of Final Fantasy XIII’s release. PS3 will probably dominate early next year too with games like Heavy Rain, MAG, God Of War 3, White Knight Chronicles and Gran Turismo 5. I know which console i’d rather be playing on.
I’m sorry but remind me again why some dodgy voucher submission website is getting so much free publicity because of a PR release issued by their marketing agency?
Are they analysts? No
Are they retailers? No
Do they have anything to do with the industry? No
Are they recognised as an industry data-gathering body like Chart Track or NPD? No
In short their opinion is worthless and reproducing it is merely acting as free advertsing. It’s amazing how fanboyism and internet blogs work – any random person can have a random opinon and count on it being reproduced hundreds of times for the next few weeks!
I’ve been to their site and quite frankly it’s cr*p and after searching for both Xbox 360 and PS3 I found it hard to find any useful information. I seemed to get a lot of results about Norton 360 virus software, and not a lot for PS3. There didn’t appear to be any discount vouchers as such or any obvious ‘click through’ system to order one.
Let’s turn these ‘findings’ on their head – maybe the PS3 Slim has reached the sweet spot in value if less people are searching for vouchers and discounts for it? Maybe, despite the budget Arcade model people still want to get the 360 for cheaper. Or maybe there are just more promotions being advertised on their site for the 360 than there is for PS3 – the stats have no science or merit.
Overall I agree with your findings – the PS3 is superb value for money with free online and built in Wi-Fi and Blu-ray, it has stunning exclusives (for me quality always beats quantity) which can’t be played anywhere else (not even on a PC) and it already has a great exclusive lineup for 2010. It also has a wide range of useful (free) non-gaming features from Music Videos, iPlayer and Movie Rentals to Photo Galleries, Web Browsing and Video Conferencing. And crucially it is an open platform that is compatible with any laptop HDD and many USB and Bluetooth devices – unlike the 360 and it’s hugely overpriced peripherals (the cost of a 120GB HDD is a joke).
I would also object to having to pay to play online (and to use Twitter/Facebook/Sky Player/Last.fm) when it’s something you can do for free on any other platform! Xbox owners will claim it’s worth every penny, but as far as I can see apart from a flashy interface you don’t get much more for your money (their games don’t even have dedicated servers!). Although the PSN experience may differ slightly from game to game, the heart of the service (Friends List, Trophies, Logon etc) is unified and by allowing developers the freedom to use a bit of flare at the front end you often get results that better Xbox Live, be it auto-Twitter integration or 256-player support or webbrowser data logging and match playback support etc.
Aside from a bit of polish and a homogeneous interface in all games, it’s not all that superior to PSN. About the last main feature it has over PSN is cross-game voice chat, and by all accounts that will change from early 2010 when it is added to the PS3 (which let’s not forget is constantly evolving).
It’s a bit like viewing the internet through AOL or with Firefox – personally I like the freedom and customisation of the PSN over Xbox Live and, even though some people try to paint it as a bad thing, I like how it is constantly updaing/evolving too…
As for the future, I think it will be the PS3 that will add more to their service in 2010 (especially with Sony’s version of iTunes/Zune launching next year). They have also confirmed 3D support. As for the motion controllers, the PS3 ones will launch first and have more practical gaming uses IMO. Project Natal looks very slick in the mocked-up (read: faked) promos, but honestly aside from being a fancy way to control the NXE I can’t see many gaming applications beyond that other body controlled gaming interface – the PS2 EyeToy!!! (and don’t forget GT5 for PS3 has confirmed Head Tracking using PSEye – and that launches 8 months before Natal!)
Agree with all that, but a lot of people are still backing the Wii to be the number 1 seller this Xmas.
I’d pretty much agree with everything there.