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Holiday season will be battle of video game consoles

November 15, 2012 7:29:36 PM PST
This time every year, video game makers bring out their hottest new releases in time for the holiday shopping season. And this year, there are three major video game consoles fighting for a spot in your living room.

Video games aren't just Dan "Shoe" Hsu's hobby, they're his job. As Editor-in-Chief of GamesBeat, he's required to have a Playstation 3 and two Xboxes. And he'll be among the first in line for the latest console, the Nintendo Wii U

"I think they're doing the right thing with the Wii U, by trying something very different," Hsu said.

The Wii U is the first home gaming console with a touchscreen tablet controller. It has the HD graphics and lifelike shooting games that were missing from the original Nintendo Wii. So, a recipe for success?

"They're gonna have tough time with this, competing against Microsoft and Sony," Hsu said.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's Playstation 3 have both been out for a few years -- and their followers are fiercely loyal.

"Since the first PS, I had PS one, two, and three, you know," shopper Alberto Sanchez said. When asked if there was anything that would make him switch to the Nintendo Wii U or an Xbox 360, Sanchez answered, "If it's free."

And although the Wii U will definitely have games with blood and bullets, Nintendo's been a little too good at marketing to families.

"Nintendo's generally for the family," shopper Craig Highsmith said. "See, I'm a single man, so I like the Playstation 3."

So, which console is the best? Well, there's not really a clear answer. More than anything, it depends on what you plan to do with it.

"Between Xbox 360 and PS3, they're very comparable in terms of power and what kind of games they play," Hsu said. "They both have some family friendly stuff, they're both more well known for their hardcore stuff.

If you want to play online against other people, Hsu says Xbox could be your choice. He says Xbox Live is the most thriving online game service. But it'll cost you $50 a year.

Playstation's online service is free. And while both consoles let you watch Netflix and Hulu Plus, Hsu says the Playstation is more elegant to watch movies on. And it's the only one that doubles as a Blu-ray player. It also has more games from small, independent publishers.

So what about the Wii U? Well, Hsu says some stereotypes are true, "If you have a family, you have kids, Wii U is probably the best way to go, because you know the Nintendo games are gonna be there, you know Mario's always gonna have a presence on Wii U."

But the console war is heating up just as a major change is happening. Games are moving from your sofa to your cell phone. And they're becoming cheap, or even free.

Hsu wonders how much longer these $300 boxes, with their $60 games, will be able to survive, "Is there a future for a traditional standalone dedicated home console that plugs into your television in to the living room? We'll have to see."


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