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Game Consoles Buying Guide

If you are just beginning to learn about game consoles because a child in your family has requested one as a gift or because you want one for yourself, you may feel overwhelmed quickly. This is because the term game console now means much more than a home-based gaming station used in front of the family television.

Instead, game consoles can include

Gaming systems - You will know these as the units that plug into a monitor or TV and which feature games that work exclusively with the devices. For example, some Sony devices are comprised only of a single console, and can use only the games designed for them. Then there are consoles such as the Nintendo Wii systems that come in a wide array of styles that are meant to put an emphasis on a particular type of gaming or activity. This could mean that the system comes with special tools and accessories as well as a particular set of games, but which also means that the entire line of Wii games will work on the unit.

Handheld game consoles - This group comprises an enormous range of options. From the high-tech WiFi enabled units, to devices that play only a limited number of proprietary games, these are extremely popular.

Complete entertainment systems - These are the most up to date versions of the old-fashioned home based game consoles. Rather than simply playing games, however, these can play DVDs, stream online media, play games with others via Internet connections, utilize a diversity of games and accessories, receive various kinds of memory cards, and even have large memories to retain information and media content.

Making the Choice

When buying game consoles, for yourself or as a gift, it must all begin with what you intend to do with the games. Are they meant to provide the owner with a way of amusing themselves or even learning something as they play a game? Are they going to be the owner's only game console, and will that need to enable them to play games online with others around the world? Perhaps it is a system that is meant for an entire household to use?

It has to begin with the actual demands to be put on the system because that tells you precisely the kinds of features to seek. As an example, you might say that you want a device that is for the entire family, which can play regular TV or stream from the Internet, that will come with some popular games, and that allows players to compete against others through online gaming sites. If that is what you had in mind, devices such as the Xbox or the Sony Playstation are good choices.

If, on the other hand, the buyer wanted the ultimate in portable gaming, they would have to consider if there was a need for WiFi (usually at the 3G speeds or higher), optimal graphics, a large screen, and specific games. Sony has Playstation models and Nintendo has Wii units that can meet such demands.

Some Points to Keep In Mind

As you begin to shop around for game consoles, keep in mind that few of these devices are designed in a way that "shares" technology. For example, none of the home-based consoles can use software meant for their competitors. Additionally, even some of the same units, which have been upgraded, can play games from earlier versions. As an example, Playstation games from older models may not work with the latest generation.

A high-speed Internet connection is usually the key to success as well. It is not recommended that you even consider investing in high-end game consoles of any kind if you do not have access to high-speed Internet via a broadband or fibre optic connection. The transfer speeds must be capable of handling huge amounts of data, and that means you should explore the system requirements before making the investment.

When you can afford modern game consoles, you should know that they can really serve as a focal point for household entertainment. The best systems have their own Internet channels or networks that allow users to play games, interact, and even surf the Internet.

Many high-end game consoles can be used to play DVDs and Blu-ray discs, access special television networks, store images and photographs, play music, and even access some social media.

Keep in mind that many complete systems utilize technologies such as Kinect or Wii that can monitor your movements. This means that the days of sitting on the couch can come to an end, and truly interactive games are available.

Financial Considerations

There is a lot to consider when buying a game console, and the purchase price is not where the financial issues come to an end. Keep in mind that some devices have various subscription fees (high-speed Internet, gaming stations, etc.) and these can be costly. On the other hand, these devices also stream media from the Internet, and affordable entertainment can be enjoyed with many complete systems.

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