If you’re holiday shopping for a video game enthusiast this season, your work is cut out for you: this is also the season to release the new gaming consoles.
Sony’s Playstation 3 is up first on the list. Easily the most powerful of all the next generation consoles coming out, this bad-boy comes with everything from Bluetooth 2.0 controllers to a Blu-ray DVD player right out of the box. This time around Sony will be offering the Playstation 3 with all the bells and whistle for around $599, while offering a dumbed down version of the Playstation 3 for $499. The main difference between the two consoles is hard drive space, as well as other nifty features such as Wi-Fi and a memory stick input slot.
With game franchises such as the Final Fantasy series and Grand Tourismo, the Playstation 3 looks to be a tough competitor in the console wars, albeit a steep price for the actual console. It gets released in the US on November 17th, but you probably won’t find one for sale until probably around Christmas time, if you are lucky that is.
The Nintendo Wii is roughly about two times more powerful than the Gamecube, it is still the most unimpressive when it comes to technical specifications of the three consoles.
This, of course, isn’t what Nintendo is banking on for their new console. With the release of this new console they also introduced a new style of controller, which is motion sensitive, so moving the remote (or Wii-mote as Nintendo calls it) creates the same motion in the game.
Say you were playing a sword fighting game. All you would have to do is hold the Wii-mote in the word position and swing it as if you were actually sword fighting, and those motions would appear in game in real time. Same thing goes for golf, baseball and shooting games (think Duck Hunt)
Another huge feature for the Wii is the online virtual console. Nintendo has teamed up with the likes of Sega and the makers of the Turbo-Graphix 16 and is allowing people to download classic games to their Wii console.
From the Sega Genesis to the Nintendo 64, classic console games are going to be available for download at launch date, while Nintendo is working to get licensing for games from third-party manufacturers. Look for the Wii just two days after Playstation 3’s launch for around $250.
Next up is Microsoft, which isn’t launching a console, as they have already released their Xbox 360 and are hoping to steal market share from Sony and Nintendo by having such a head start on the competition. With the release of the 360 already a year behind them developers have had time to hone in on the capapibilities of the machine and have just start to put out games with extremely high production values. One game of mention, Gears of War, is expected to be the high selling point for the 360. All in all the console wars have begun and only time will tell who will come out on top.