We’re on year 3 of head to head competition between the three ultimate entertainment gadgets – Nintendo’s Wii, Sony’s Playstation 3, and Microsoft’s Xbox 360. Will sales keep up even in today’s tough economy? Who knows? But if you really do want a console for the holidays, you should definitely be looking now.
Google Trends (trends.google.com) is a useful gadget for tracking interest in a topic – it displays the relative search frequency for different terms. In this case we’re looking at Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360.
Indications are that the Wii keeps its lead, though the PS3 is catching up. Nintendo’s insistence on actually making a profit on their game consoles has resulted in a steady production rate, meaning a likely shortage for the holidays for a third year running. There are a number of Wii finder web sites such as wiitracker.com and outtastock.com that can help you track one down. And supply on EBay is plentiful, with prices above retail, but not terribly so.
The Wii not only has an innovative controller, it also supports the very popular Wii Fit (also hard to find), which can definitely help you work off those holiday pounds.
This is the year for High Def, and there’s no doubt that Blu-Ray is the winner in the media wars. If you’re planning on getting a Blu-Ray player, you might as well spend a few extra dollars and get the PS3 (which has a Blu-Ray player built in). One thing to watch out though – the newer PS3 units do NOT include PS2 compatibility! So don’t be too quick to throw out your PS2 until you’re sure your PS3 is backward compatible.
And what about Xbox? Some of its games have a strong following (Halo), and this season it is the least expensive console with an entry level (no hard drive and no compatibility with original Xbox games) unit coming in under $200. A Pro unit will run you about an extra $100.
Bottom line is that any of the units are a good value – if you consider the cost per hour of entertainment. And if your budget is tight, look for used PS2 consoles at about $75 or less, with plenty of great used games at a fraction of the cost of the newer ones.