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Xbox One vs Playstation 4 vs Wii U, which is the best for you?

Updated on February 13, 2015

Frankly, looking at each console and trying to decide can be exhausting. It seems every week there are waves of news around what system to buy and what makes each so great. So how do you choose? If you've chosen one, how do you know if you'll be playing that one over the other you should have bought? Well, hopefully we can answer these questions with a few brief observations.

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Let's talk prices

Price is the biggest issue. Like the Ipad, Surface, and Android devices the consoles are really no different. You may spend a whopping amount on an Ipad, but significantly less on software than the other two. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo's consoles are no different. You'll easily fork out plenty of dough for the next several years if you're not careful, but looking and waiting for the best purchase can be key.

Being an early adopter of the Wii U, I spent $300 (less taxes and all that) and came home with zero games. My thought was I would buy a hard drive and buy games digital, because having little ones knew the pain of a scratched disc. So after searching for a compatible hard drive (Nintendo recommends quite a few on their site) it cost another $80 (excluding taxes and shipping). I then bought a couple games at 50 bombs and there you have it, a total of $480. Now for comparison, Nintendo games are typically $10 - $20 cheaper than other consoles. The big problem is they will stay full price for a decade, so don't expect to wait a year and find them in the bargain bin.

Now, a year later I came across an opportunity to get a PS4 for super cheap. However, if you went to Costco and picked it up for the $460 bargain price with a year of playstation plus and an extra controller, you are looking at spending around $460. It comes with a hard drive and the games are usually pretty reasonable. I downloaded Warframe and a few other 'free to play' games, received 2 free games from Playstation Plus and BAM! Still $460.

Xbox One is an interesting one. Clearly not ready to drop $500 in its first year, most people waited for the inevitable price drop and Kinect exclusion to buy this beast. Coming in at $350 and with a nice Microsoft trade in program was able to get the system for $250, but had to drop another $40 (special) on 1 year of xbox live. For those who don't know, Xbox Live is an annual membership that usually costs $60-$70 at any given time that gives the Gamer the ability to play online (for a year) and get a couple free games each month (Microsoft's version of Playstation Plus). Here's the American dream killer... the controllers require batteries... That's right. Batteries. Like the ones from the 90's where you're watching the Energizer bunny go back and forth. In the generation of cell phones and Ipads, you will become a regular at the small battery rack in general stores. So where does this put us? Ah yes. $290 with a couple free games each month, with a potential to cost a lot of money in the long run.

Here's how I see it. Xbox One has become the cheapest solution for gaming entertainment, but with the potential to cost a whole lot more. They are spinning so many specials as of late, that it would be absolutely crazy for anyone to go buy one for the suggested $350. This puts Xbox One as the clear winner for price.

Current asking price:

Xbox One $350 vs Playstation 4 $400 vs Wii U $300

Realistically:

Xbox One $350 + Live ($70) + 2 games (Free!) + Batteries ($20) = $440

Playstation 4 $400 + PS Plus (1st year is usually Free!) + 2 games (Free!) = $400

Wii U ($300) + 2 games (comes with the system today) = $350

...So depending on how you mix the numbers or look at specials, each has its own reasonable price point. What this really displays is that each of them is priced to sell around the same amount of money. Think of this as looking at your Verizon vs Sprint vs AT&T cell phone services. They change a few things here and there, but in the end are all very comparable.

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Graphics! Ooh Awww!

Time to admit something. This is going to greatly offend the geeks all over the world, so I'll apologize ahead of myself. Here goes... The graphics on all three consoles appear just as good. That's right, I said it. If one game came out on top it would probably be Tomb Raider Definitive Edition on Playstation 4, but in the end they are all very comparable. Not sure how Nintendo did it, but the Mario Kart and Smash Bros. games look incredible, if not better than what we've seen so far to date on the other consoles

Why is that? How can the system that is so underpowered by the technology sector's standards still rise to the top in graphic quality? Something that Iwata and Miyamoto (two famous Nintendo developers and representatives) have always spoken to in their design is the frame rate. Nintendo continues to keep all of their games at the optimal display settings of the console itself. One of the big issues that the twins face is that their development teams are mostly third party. That is, teams that make games for their systems are generally not building it from the ground up on the console. In fact, most of these games will start as PC and are then ported over to these systems. This puts Nintendo at the forefront of leveraging their technical hardware, even if it isn't as powerful on the inside.

Nintendo will always push the limits of their hardware. This is a guarantee. And with that guarantee comes pricing that rarely diminishes and a quality that is known and admired throughout the industry.

Having purchased several games like Assassin's Creed Unity and Titanfall, I was disappointed to say the least that Microsoft and Sony were not able to keep up with Nintendo.

Who's playing what?

Those of you who have kids know the importance of restricting certain content to their developing minds. Being mindful of this, all three systems do a great job creating security setting solutions that assist in all types of restrictions. We have not personally had to set any restrictions on our consoles, but its nice to know that if there was certain horror games coming up or pictures, that we could adjust those settings in a whim (I love technology).

My kids love to play video games, but with the exception of Minecraft on Xbox One and Playstation 4, there are very limited outlets for them to play on those devices. Given this stage in our family's life, it's clear to say that Wii U rises to the top every weekend.

When family arrives and there is an opportunity to play, we can easily incorporate anyone (even my grandmother) to pick up the Wii U pad and draw some pictures for everyone's laughing delight as we play Wario's version of Pictionary. There is absolutely no beating the social aspects of the Wii U, from the group game settings and the built in kid friendly social network Miiverse.

I absolutely enjoy playing video games on all consoles. I think each system has some features of its own that help it rise to the top in certain circumstances. From Xbox One's accessible applications like Pandora, it has the showcase to be a very important entertainment option. Playstation's seamless interface and incredible price options, you think you were shopping an all new digital Walmart of video games. But in the end, the pricey Wii U with its limited hard drive, supposed power limitations, and big clunky controller always ends up being the big winner at our house. The Wii U is just plain fun, and in the end, that's why we play, right?

Reader's decide

So what do you think?

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    • dogpigfish profile image
      Author

      George 3 years ago from Des Moines, Iowa

      Good points and thanks for the tip. I'll be giving Halo a whirl once the price feels right. I think it's interesting to note that my Playstation 4 has more updates than what I've seen from the Xbox One, so it may just be a feature to accommodate developers. It's unfortunate to say the least that a lot of games from Playstation 4 and Xbox One have not been ready and require a lot of patching afterwards. But, in the end, I'm certain gamers like us would rather have something to play than not.

    • tommylop profile image

      Tommy 3 years ago from Colorado.

      Each system has it's ups and downs. For family games I do believe Wii U probably has the biggest bang for the buck. Unfortunate a lot of the name online games will go to other consoles, some of them bug me. I don't like the install wait on my xbox one or the amount of patches I need to wait for it. But playing Halo on it looks fantastic, even if the online turn out buggy.

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