If you’re looking to invest in a new gaming system or handheld device for your kids or for the family, you might be interested in some of the newer offerings from Nintendo and Playstation. Both have recently come out with new and improved gaming gadgets designed to tempt kids and adults who are interested in video games. Deciding which one to get can be a tough choice, but if you know what you’re looking for and what the strengths and weaknesses of each system are, it will be much easier to make a decision. Here’s a look at the gaming landscape to help you make up your mind.
- Wii U. If you’re looking for a home console, this is the newest one on the market. The Wii U was just released in November of 2012. The big innovation here is the Wii U’s GamePad controller, which is different from other existing console controllers due to its tablet-like appearance and function. The GamePad is a touchscreen device that also gives players a view of the game that they can’t get from looking just at the TV screen. For instance, you may be able to see approaching enemies on the tablet that are not yet in view on the screen. This could be a big help in game play… or it could be a giant distraction. Another function, that is probably more clearly a pro, is that the GamePad allows two players to play in the same room – one with the console with a regular Wii remote, and one on the GamePad, as if it were a standalone handheld game. That means no more annoying splitscreen. The basic Wii U costs $300, and Wii also sells a $350 version that comes with more memory as well as a charging cradle and stand for the GamePad.
- 3DS XL. Released in August of 2012, Nintendo’s 3DS XL is a revision to the 3DS that was launched about a year and a half earlier. For those familiar with the 3DS, the main difference that you’ll notice in the XL is that it’s bigger, hence the XL. More accurately, the screen is bigger – there isn’t really too much difference in the size of the devices, but Nintendo says that the screen is 90% larger. There are a few other minor changes, such as the headphone jack and the SD card slot being moved to different places. The drawback of the XL seems to be the speakers, which are lower quality than usual for a Nintendo product. Users who are concerned with the sound of the game would be well-advised to use headphones. The 3DS XL sells for $200, making it fairly reasonably priced compared to its competition.
- Playstation Vita. Playstation’s newest handheld device, the Playstation Vita, was released in the U.S in February of 2012. This is a very technologically advanced gaming system, and for any media apps you’ll need a Vita Memory Card. The memory cards start at about $20 for only 4GB of storage, and they only go up from there; a 32GB card costs $100. Vita users have access to the Playstation network, and the device comes pre-installed with a variety of social network apps and a Netflix portal. It also has a decent quality camera that can allow the user to take screenshots of a game, among other things. It’s a fun and fantastic device, as long as you’re aware of the hidden costs.
If none of these sound like what you’re looking for in a game system, you could consider sitting tight for another year. Rumor has it that Microsoft will be putting out a new XBOX system by the fall of 2013, and Sony may be releasing a PS4 in time for next Christmas.
Do you have gaming systems in your home? What’s your favorite?