Four years ago we published an article about integrating your gaming system into your home theater. Even though a lot of what was written in that article are still is relevant a lot has changed. The Xbox has become an all around entertainment box while also stepping into the world of Virtual Reality. The PlayStation has added streaming games to their online marketplace. The Wii has gradually improved their Wii Motion controller as well as released numerous hit proprietary titles.
Even though the Xbox 360 still has the same console name the system has received a notable upgrade with the addition of the Kinect. The Kinect is a long black box that is placed on top of, or in front of, your TV, much like the Wii Motion Censor, that adds movement and virtual reality to the platform. Games such as Madden and Star Wars have Motion and Voice add-ons that add extra functionality to games that have already been released. This is in addition to the hundreds of games specifically built to be used with the Kinect.
In addition to the new hardware component they have improved their Xbox live experience to be much more than just an online gaming platform. Not only can you download many full title games right to your hard drive but also you can watch live television (however you have to verify you are a cable subscriber). Since the launch of the iPhone and iPad Apps the ecosystem of products have become one of the major factors when picking a device. Of the three gaming consoles the Xbox 360 has arguably cultivated the best App and online experience. They are the only console to offer a full TV option as well as HBO Go, YouTube, Amazon Instant Video, ESPN, Hulu Plus, Zune and Netflix.
The Nintendo Wii started a revolution that made both Sony (PlayStation 3) and Microsoft (Xbox 360) rush to copy what the Wii brought to the market. Deciding to not focus on HD, which both their competitors did, they launched a product with SD video quality but a remote that could detect movement. Even though the first generation of the console was a bit clunky Wii Bowling became a standard at parties and get together. However, over the past 4 years both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 added movement controls to their platforms while Nintendo only gradually improved their Wii Motion controller. The only upside for Nintendo is that with the lack of high quality graphics games were able to focus more on motion and create truly stunning proprietary games such as Mario Galaxy and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess that gamers lovers and can not play on any other platform.
The Nintendo Wii has not ventured far into the realm of online gaming and content. They offer a number of old school titles as well as Netflix and Hulu, which you can argue is all you really need for online streaming. However, The Nintendo Wii still remains mainly a game console, while the Xbox has become an entertainment box. Coming this holiday season Nintendo will be releasing a new console, called the Wii U, which will add HD and a second screen controller. While both the PlayStation and Xbox have been quiet about the release of a new console (though both are expected to in 2013) it’s clear that Nintendo needed to solve the problem of SD video quality.
Lastly is the PlayStation 3. For a number of years the PlayStation was the number one gaming system you could buy. However, over the past few years it has fallen in ranks to both the Xbox, which is superior in online content, and the Wii, which is superior in proprietary games. Even though the PlayStation is a close third behind the Wii and Xbox 360 in unit sales it is the least unique of the three consoles. To fight the movement revolution they launched an addition controller called PlayStation Move, which added Wii controller like functionality.
Although the PlayStation is third in sales it combines functionality of both the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii which make it a formidable opponent for either. Even though it’s online marketplace is not as big as Xbox but it offers NFL Sunday Ticket, NHL Center Ice, MBL Gameday, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus as well as their own proprietary video streaming service called Video Unlimited. This is in addition to their Playstation Plus package, which is $49.99 a year that allows you to play streaming games. But the biggest asset to the PlayStation 3 is it is the only console that has a Blu-ray DVD player built in.
Whether it’s the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or the Nintendo Wii a modern day gaming console can be a huge addition to your entertainment center or home theater. Each console has sold over 50 million units because all three offer something that is valuable while remaining very different from one another.
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