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Black Friday 2010 Gadget Battle: Best Video Game Systems

Updated
By Josh Smith, dealnews writer

For Black Friday 2010 you won’t see a new video game console on store shelves, but there are some updates to the Sony PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 which may give the Wii a run for its hold on movement-based gaming and give the 42% of Americans who already have a video game console a reason to upgrade.

We’ve rounded up the top video game consoles for a showdown quarterfinal. This is just the second of our Black Friday 2010 Gadget Battles, where we'll be sorting through the most coveted buys of the season in eReaders, video game systems, HDTVs and mobile computers. We will crown one overall best choice, by our experts and by you.

Here’s what you need to know before you buy a video game console this year.
  • Motion Tech and Price: Each of the video game consoles use different technology to pull off motion-based gaming. Some use a combination of cameras and microphones while others use accelerometers or other motion-tracking technology. Different methods lead to variations in the amount of movement needed and preciseness.
  • Game Selection and Price: Overall game selection is quite broad, though some consoles have a larger collection of first-person shooter games (like Call of Duty: Black Ops) and graphically-intense games while others have more casual family friendly offerings. If you are buying a movement-based video game console be sure to see how many games it has that you would want.
  • Online Gaming: Each of the consoles now offer some form of online gaming, but there are restrictions and drawbacks that make some more appealing to others. The prices also range from free to $59.99 a year.

CONSOLE DETAILS

Wii
Red 25th Anniversary Model w/ New Super Mario Bros.
$199
PRICE OF MOTION: $19.99 for regular Wii Remote / $39.99 for Wii Remote with Motion Plus.
MOTION TECH: Accelerometers, sensor bar and orientation with Motion Plus combine to turn movement into on screen action.
OPTIONS:
  • 1,138 standard games, 26 support Wii Motion Plus, Majority support movement, ~500 WiiWare games.

  • Free online gaming with limited voice chat on newer games.

  • No single friends list.

  • Browser allows you to surf the web and watch YouTube videos.

  • Provides easy access to Netflix streaming.

  • Has tons of games and a low price for movement based gaming. A great choice for casual or family gamers, but not a strong candidate for FPS fans.
OVERALL VALUE: Moderate

xBox 360 Kinect
$199 4GB model /
$299.99 4GB and Kinect Bundle /
$299 250GB model /
$399 250GB with Kinect Bundle
PRICE OF MOTION: $149.99 with one game.
No additional remotes needed
MOTION TECH: Three cameras combine with voice and facial recognition to track your body and respond to movement and voice
OPTIONS:
  • 780 standard games, 15 Kinect games available, 26 more announced for ‘11 and beyond, ~350 Xbox Live Arcade games
  • $59.99 a year for online gaming with system-wide voice chat and a single friends list across all games and the system. Limited video chat with additional accessory.
  • No web browser, but access to Netflix and ESPN3 for live sports. Users can rent or purchase HD movies and TV shows. Hulu Plus will be available in early 2011.
  • Requires a yearly subscription for online gaming, but the new motion technology looks promising as does the voice recognition and ability to control your 360 with your hands. Throw in ESPN3 support and incoming Hulu Plus in 2011 and you may be able to cut back your cable bill and play games!
OVERALL VALUE: High

PlayStation 3 Move
$299 160GB model /
$324 250GB model /
$349 320GB model /
$399 320GB with PlayStation Move Bundle
PRICE OF MOTION: $99 with one controller and one game. Additional controllers $49.99.
MOTION TECH: Precise 3D tracking of Move controllers mean more realistic movement is needed to control in game characters.
OPTIONS:
  • 649 standard games, 41 Move games available, 21 more announced for 2011 and beyond, ~300 PlayStation Network games
  • Free online gaming with voice and video chat, a unified friends list as well as video chat with additional accessory.
  • Web browser, Hulu Plus and Netflix support as well as the ability to rent or purchase HD movies and TV Shows. May be the most well-rounded console on the market today.
  • Offers free online gaming as well as a wide mix of intense FPS and action games with family fun games to hit a sweet spot. The downside? $50 for each additional Move controller and higher up-front initial costs.
OVERALL VALUE: High

Now it's your turn to vote! Tell us which of these is your choice for the best buy, and we'll calculate that into our decision as we move into the semifinals. If you've got more to say that just picking your choice, join us on our Facebook page and continue the discussion.






Josh Smith is a freelance writer who writes frequently about technology and consumer electronics and is based in Ohio. Follow him on Twitter — @josh_smith. You can also sign up for an email alert for all dealnews features.



For more great Black Friday coverage:

Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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