Get the Right Gaming Console Now!
By Randeep Singh
You love gaming, and you want to get a console so you can spend your weekends shooting zombies with your mates. But with so many great consoles out there, which one's the best? The answer is that there's no one console to rule them all. It's purely a matter of priorities and what fits you personally. Many gamers, in fact, prefer a well loaded PC with an NVIDIA card for their gaming solutions. To understand which console is right for you, let's understand them first.
The Wii is just what you need to get fit if you are not too much of an outdoors person. This is a great console for those who are just about getting into gaming, or fondly remember their Nintendo days. With a host of party games like, well, Wii Party, or the popular Legend of Zelda and Mario Kart, the Wii will make you the best host ever. But if you are looking for a complete entertainment package with great graphics and an online community, this is definitely not the product for you. Says Prateek Sen, an obsessive gamer, “Wii is the perfect party device. Every week I have a Wii night at my place where I play tennis with my mates. Since it involves a lot of physical movement, you do feel like you’ve burnt a few calories and had fun while doing so.” With the Wii, you could also end up spending on accessories like extra remotes or chargers. The console supports up to four Wii remotes and Nunchuks while the system comes with only one of each. And yes, the Wii only works with big screens or projectors. For those living in tiny bachelor pads, count this out.
For the hardcore gamer who takes his Halo and Gears of War very seriously, there's no better console out there than the XBox 360. With the new Kinect add-on, the Xbox now has a motion control that's better than the Wii. “Kinect really simplifies the interaction with a machine,” says Jacob ‘Skrybe’ Cherian, former editor of the gaming magazine Skoar. For added functionality, the XBox has WiFi and offers streaming Facebook, Netflix and Twitter applications. If you have a Windows PC then you can also stream digital media from the networked computer through DLNA. The XBox also comes with a USB port allowing you to plug in photos, music or movies, and can also play DVDs. The Xbox also has a great online community - the Xbox Live - with well over 20 million members, making it the most complete online console experience available today. A gold membership to Live costs an annual fee of $50 (Rs. 2500). For accessory geeks, the Xbox is also great, since you can always look out for additional controllers, wireless headsets, charging docks, and messaging keypads. But there is one major drawback -- it doesn't play Blu-ray disks.
Like the XBox, the PS3 is also a complete home entertainment solution. While it did have its share of troubles when it first launched, the PS3 is now racing ahead, with an array of titles like Uncharted, Killzone, InFamous and LittleBigPlanet. Among a lot of gamers, the PS3 is a clear favourite. In addition, like the Xbox, you can hook up devices via the USB port and play your movies, music and photos. The PS3 also offers Home, a Second Life kind of virtual world game which comes handy if you have had enough of the real one! In-built Bluetooth means that you can use any headset for chatting. But the deal-maker here really is the Blu-ray player, which allows you watch movies in incredibly detailed HD quality. The PS3 also supports Netflix, Hulu Plus and HBO content (some of which might require a few tricks to access, since they're technically all for the US market). “I would personally go for the PS3. The games are way superior. The processing speeds are fantastic and its use as a media server is unmatchable,” says Skrybe. For those into Wii style motion control, the PS3 also offers the Playstation Move, which has a growing number of titles.
Having covered all these consoles, it’s a surprise that PC gaming still beats them when it comes to gamers' popular vote. This is primarily to do with cheap, upgradeable processing power. A PS3 comes with its much-touted 550 mhz cell chip, but in terms of speed, it's nothing compared to any old PC's 1 ghz chip. Recently, a survey found that on an average, gamers spend up to 8 hours gaming on a PC, as compared to 3 to 4 hours on consoles. Apart from better graphics, PC games also come cheaper. The downside to PC gaming though is that it’s not really a social activity, so you're pretty much seen as the loner geek hunched over his PC monitor with a keyboard and mouse! You can certainly forget about hosting a party for your mates with Crysis on a PC as the centre of attraction, but if you're really looking for the most hardcore, single gamer or online multiplayer experience, this is the right way to go. But remember that the online experience could still be a little like the old days -- full of looking for servers and dealing with dropped connections.
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Randeep Singh has been a men's lifestyle journalist for over a decade. He is a regular contributor to Maxim, FHM, Man's World among others, and believes playing guitar is god's gift to mankind.