Guide on choosing which video games system to buy

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If you are trying to decide between which console to buy out of the XBox 360, PS3 and Wii, bear in mind the following:

Xbox 360: average cost £300, Xbox Live cost £35 a year, games cost £20-£50 (only special editions cost £50, normal cost is £40-45).  On Xbox Live Marketplace you can buy MS points to download themes, pictures, music and arcade games, as well as extra levels etc.  Soon you will be able to buy/download movies and TV shows.  The Xbox 360 has 'achievements' for its games, which unlock when you complete certain tasks in games, and this gives you a gamerscore for the world to see.  Your account can be edited, maintained and tracked on the Internet (  The Xbox 360 has a seperate HD-DVD player (costing £130) which you can use to play HD-DVDs.  The Xbox 360 Elite will be out soon, which has a bigger hard drive (120Gb compared to 20Gb), HDMI output (better picture on a HD TV) and different internal architecture which makes the machine quieter and less prone to overheating.

PS3: average cost £425, Playstation network is free, games cost £30-£50 (average of £45-50).  On Playstation 'Home' you can create a virtual you where you can walk about in your own virtual home.  Your accomplishments are displayed on 'your' walls as videos which you can play back.  The PS3 has built-in Internet and houses a Blu-Ray disc player, which enables you to play Blu-Ray DVDs. 

Wii:  average cost £180, games cost £30-45.  The Wii enables you to play/download classic arcade content and is the first console to offer the gamer the ability to wave the controller around in order to control the character on screen.

Honest opinion:  which console to buy?!  Well obviously I have written more about the Xbox 360 because I have one but I will give you my honest opinions based on what I know.  It depends basically on what you want a console for. 

The 360 is currently the most popular console because it has the best games (lots of them) and has the best online service (Xbox Live is fantastic).  The achievements system is original and very addictive and has now been copied by Sony because it is so good.  The games are its biggest draw and there are lots more brilliant games in the pipeline.  Some owners have had overheating problems with the 'four red rings' which you might have heard about - this results in the system not working at all.  Microsoft have now recognised this and extended the warranties to three years.  I have to say that I have not encountered this problem, whether this is just luck or the fact that I take care of my system and I have bought an intercooler (for £15) that plugs into the back of the console and blows cool air into the Xbox.  I have had NO problems and I know many that haven't, it's only the vast minority.  Obviously in the near future the 360 Elite (costing £330) will have far less problems. 

Re; the PS3, it is hugely expensive due to the Blu-Ray player inside.  It currently does not have many games out for it, and certainly does not have the same quality of games out for it that the Xbox does.  This may well be because it is still a new machine and the programmers are yet to get the best out of it.  It will be at least another few months before the decent games start to come, and probably a year before there are enough to compete with the Xbox 360's games.  In the long run though, the future of its games should be bright.  The Playstation network is free compared to the Xbox's paid version, although it is currently not as good and is quite unstable, disconnecting people randomly.  Also the reason the network is free is so that independent producers have free reign to make their own charges in the future.

With the Wii, it is a huge seller because of its cheap price and innovative design.  Its original games are fun to play, if not as challenging as the games on the other consoles.  The problem about the weak wrist-strap has been well publicised in the news and has resulted in a lot of broken expensive TVs!

Basically I would say that all three consoles have their merits and it depends what you want them for.  If you want the best games and the best online friends/gaming service, you should get the 360.  If you want the most powerful machine that will give you the most options in the future and eventually will give you some great games and an improved online network, you should get the PS3.  If you want a console that is mainly for your children and/or you wouldn't mind using it to keep fit, or just have a laugh, get the Wii.  I think the Wii will eventually lose pace with the other two because it has the least to offer in terms of gameplay, but for now it is a great option to keep the kids happy at a reasonable price.  Things between the 360 and PS3 are set to get very competitive and it will be interesting.  I would not give up my 360, but at the same time I am getting a PS3 at Christmas and look forward to enjoying both!  In the early stages the PS3 is not worth getting, but by Christmas there should be some decent games out for it and the network should be much improved.  The choice is yours, hope this guide has given you some help of some sort.  Cheers!  Happy gaming!

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