After Sydney (our amazing intern who happens to be majoring in video game design) came out with an article on The Best Video Games for Kids (that aren’t mass warfare)…..we got a ton of questions about the best gaming consoles for kids. What sparked was some lively debate (all the gamers in this house had something to say), and it basically came down to Playstation vs. Xbox.
But I’ll let Sydney get into the details. Not only will she explain who Nintendo is best for (and why it didn’t make our list of ‘best consoles’) but she gives some tips for choosing which console is right for your kid. Here’s Syd….
Hi! So….picking out a gaming console is hard especially if it isn’t really your thing. And as Shana mentioned, it comes down to choosing between an Xbox or a Playstation, and the thing is…they’re practically the same. But before we get into that…..
Why not Nintendo?
Full disclosure: I’ve never been into Nintendo besides owning a Wii strictly for Rockband, Guitar Hero, and Just Dance. There’s plenty of articles comparing the Switch, PS4, and Xbox One though and I’d check this one out for info and the tech differences. Nintendo is good at making handheld games. The GameBoy, Nintendo DS, and now the Switch are great for gamers who are one the go (or kids who need something to do on long trips). BUT, to me it’s not the best for use as a home console. It’s memory storage is 32 GB, compared to the 1 – 2 TB of storage on an Xbox or Playstation and its max output is Full HD. That being said, I can’t discount the cool titles they have like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (it’s gorgeous!), Mario Kart 8, Splatoon 2, and Super Mario Odyssey. I like the way the article I linked puts it; I see the Switch as a secondary console to either an Xbox or Playstation, or something for mobile use.
So that said…
The Four Questions To Consider When Choosing between a Playstation and an Xbox?
When trying to decide between the two (very similar) consoles, it helps if you ask the following questions:
1. What do your kid’s friends have and how would they play together?
They’ll most likely want to play together and they can’t do that if they don’t have the same generation and brand of console. The PS4 and Xbox One both have subscription based online capabilities, so you’ll have to pay to play online. If they’re more into couch co-op (where they sit next to each other and play the same game with two controllers) I think either console will work since their game libraries are pretty much the same.
2. What type of games do your kids like to play?
If I’m being honest, Xbox and Playstation don’t differ too much in this section. They both have access to similar games and the only thing that’s super different is their exclusive titles list. Here’s the Playstation 4 list of exclusive games like Ratchet and Clank, Journey, and The Last Guardian. And here’s the list of exclusive games only for Xbox One (like Halo, for example).
3. What was the last console you owned?
If you owned a console before and you’re looking for an upgrade with the newest generation, chances are you’ll want to stick with the same brand. BUT keep in mind, the Xbox One offers backwards compatibility with older some older generation discs. The Playstation 4 offers an online game library that you have access to with a subscription. If you want to keep your older Xbox games and be able to play them, the Xbox One is most likely better for you.
4. Are your kids into PC gaming?
This is more of a minute detail but if your child is getting more into PC gaming, Xbox controllers do run with Windows so they can hook the controllers right up to their computer to play. Playstation controllers need third party drivers (they’re super shady don’t do it) to work on computers since Sony has not released an official driver of their own.
My favorite console right now is still the PS3. Yea, it’s a generation old and they’re no longer producing new games for it, but playing online with friends and family is free! There’s also tons of multiplayer titles for couch co-op (local) and online multiplayer. This console has some of my favorite titles on it and I just….I love it, ok?
Please. Xbox or nothin. If I can’t dominate my boys with my mad Halo skillz (I spent years honing my craft), than what’s the point? (Raines did just beat me the other day, but it was a fluke.) . But seriously, there’s something to be said for nostalgia, and playing with the same console you grew up with is an awesome way to bond.
Gang, if you happen to be reading this on Black Friday….the PS4 is 33% off at Target, the Xbox One S is $90 off at Amazon, or get the 1TB Xbox One with Halo bundle for $50 off at Target (there’s a ton of bundle options at Target, most are on sale for Black Friday). The Nintendo Switch doesn’t seem to have any Black Friday Deals, but there’s a bundle with Splatoon2 (one of Syd’s fav games for kids) at Amazon.