I was recently asked what console I'd recommend if someone were looking into picking one up. To quote Alanis Morissette, "isn't it ironc?" See, I was just thinking about the unholy war between the three titans of gaming--Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo--and, long story short, I figured now would be the best time to choose sides. Let it begin.
As already stated, the struggle for glory lies between Sony's PlayStation 3, Microsoft's XBOX360, and Nintendo's Wii. Of course, I feel everyone should go the Nintendo route, just so they can say "sorry, I can't hang out tonight; I'm going home to play with my Wii!" Alright, I'm kidding. But seriously, I have a blast saying shit like that in public. *cough* Getting back on track...
Let's start off with functionality.
I can't say a whole helluva lot about the PS3 because, honestly, I haven't really played one. I have heard, however, that their interface is similar to the 360's but, instead of working on it being functional (i.e. user friendly), they made it more flashy. Just something to think about. On the other hand, if you've played a PS or PS2, then the controls shouldn't be too drastically different.
The XBOX360 is still, in my mind, at the top of their game when it comes to functionality. The dashboard is easy to navigate and that takes precedent over the glitz and glam. Controls aren't dissimilar to the original XBOX. That--and the fact that they're fairly easy to use--makes the 360's a great choice for returning gamers and new gamers alike.
The Wii is pretty user friendly. A newcomer to the gaming world can pick up a Wii remote (and nunchuk) and, within a half hour or so, be ready to throw down with the best of us. Sadly, there's a catch (more on this later, though). The Wii's user interface is pretty interesting/entertaining, seeing as you can design your Mii to look you like your you...er, just "you." No kidding. Mine's actually kind of creepy in how similar it is.
My verdict: XBOX 360
So now we know how user friendly they are, but what about the fun-factor?
The PS3 is marketed towards a range of age-groups but it definitely leans more towards the adult community. PS3 games are rated T or M a lot more often than on the Wii but they're basically on par with the 360.
Like the PS3, the 360 is a more adult-oriented system. Games are, more-often-than-not, of a mature nature. I will throw favor to the 360 in the fact that their multiplayer setup is acres better than the PS3's (again, as far as I know).
The Wii is the, for lack of a better term, ugly-duckling of the group. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's a bad system, I'm just saying that it's marketed completely differently. First, the new innovative controls make for an entertaining time (for those watching as well as playing). If you're not into waving your arms all willy-nilly then you still have the option of going "old school" and hooking in a regular controller. My problem with the Wii is that it is more of a "party system." I can't sit down and play the Wii as a hardcore gamer; instead, I play the Wii when I have a group of people around--it's something fun for everyone to do.
My verdict: A tie between the 360 and the Wii (depending on your style/tastes)
What's that? Your social skills are suffering? You play with others (no sick reference intended)? Multiplayer it is.
The PS3 has online capabilities, most notably the multiplayer. Plug into an internet connection, purchase your online pass, throw a game in, and have a blast. Oh, sorry. Yeah, you need to pay to play online.
Sadly, the 360 is the same; no freebies here. I can add that you can get 3 months of XBOX Live for about $20 (not sure on the PS3).
I haven't used any of the online capabilities of my Wii yet but I'm sure it's something similar. Use the inter-web to be sure.
My verdict: A three-way tie
Other online capabilities, comin' atcha!
Again, I'm not real sure when it comes to the PS3 but I would assume they would have a lot of the same download features as the other systems. I'm 97% sure I remember hearing you can download older (or new but more simplistic) games and save 'em on your harddrive.
With the 360, I know you can download those things. Plus, you're able to rent movies as well as download demos and customization tools (skins, icons, etc.), and chat with your friends.
Wii, well, pretty much the same as above. Games, social-networking, etc.
My verdict: I'm pretty sure the PS3 is right up there so I'd say a 3 way tie again with the the 360's tounge (or disc tray) pushing it an extra inch or two over the finish line.
My, my, miscellaneous.
There is one big thing that I think the PS3 did right: they included a Blu-ray player in their system. That means, right out of the box, you're getting a gaming machine and a Blu-ray player (which go for about $300 alone). What I'm trying to say is that you're basically spending $300 for a big, beautiful Blu-ray (gotta love alliteration) player and getting a bonus next-gen gaming machine for an additional $100.
The 360 slipped up here, however. Microsoft's system had a built in DVD player and offered the option to buy an additional HD-DVD player (now extinct) to sit along side. That means you spend your cash and then spend even more cash to get HD quality movies that then end up going bye-bye. Sorry Microsoft, you stepped in it here.
The Wii is...meh. Not much else besides their big selling point: "you control the game by movement!"
My verdict: PS3 wins it
I know what you want to know. "How much is this gonna cost me?"
The PS3 is the bank breaker of the 3. They've come down quite a bit in price but they're still sitting at around the $400 mark. On top of that, games are $60. Add in extra controllers, high def movies, and your internet and you're looking at a $500-600 setup.
The 360 comes in second place (any way you look at it) with a price tag somewhere between $300 and $450 (depending on the gizmos and gadgets you want right out of the box. Adding in games ($60 as well) and controllers and internet, you're looking at anywhere from $400-600.
The Wii is the cheapest initial purchase at only $250 dollars. You're getting a more hands-on type of gaming and yet the graphics aren't as good as the competition, the games are more kiddie-oriented, and the overall usage is built more for groups than individuality. That means you have to buy extra controllers (not to mention nunchuks are sold separately from those). On the upside, games are $50 instead of $60. Your Wii should be up and running with only $350-400 dollars missing from your account (or food budget).
My verdict: you get the most bang for your buck buying a 360.
OVERALL: If you're looking to get a next-gen gaming system, you really need to do the research. I gave you a lot of the basics but there's really so much more. Certain games are only released on certain systems. If you want Halo, buy a 360. If you want God of War 3, buy a PS3. If you want Mario, the Wii is for you. Do HD movies hit your happy-switch? Probably gonna want a PS3. Are you a social whore? XBOX Live will pimp you out like no other. Do you want a bit more exercise in your life? Swing for the fence in Wii Sports (just be careful not to hit anyone in the face--or balls). It's really a toss-up. I have a 360 and a Wii and, truth be told, I'd still like to get a PS3 (if only for the few games I can't get on the other systems and the Blu-ray). If you want my opinion, my vote is for the 360. My last verdict said it all: you get the most bang for your buck with the 360 (if only it had the Blu-ray).
Still, once more I must stress, look into these things yourself. Remember, this is mostly the info I have in my memory. Don't take me at my word, I may have misquoted some of the information so it's best if you double-check my info and judge for yourself. Find out what kind of games you want and then find out what system you can find those games on. Look at all your options. Go into Gamestop and talk to the sales people. Visit Gamespot and research games; read reviews.