Wii, X box, or Play Station?

We are thinking of getting a gaming system for the kids for Christmas. The kids are 5, 7, 10, and 12 years old.

Which do you think would be best… the X Box, Wii or Play Station?

Wii

Yeah, if it’s for the kids, generally the Wii is going to be the best for them unless they’re hardcore gamers already.

Go with the Wii, though you should expect the 12 year old to start lobbying for an Xbox or PS3 in the next year or two. I’ve got 5, 7, & 9 year olds, and they like the Wii.

Reported for a move to the Game Room BTW. Though once it lands there you’ll get a bunch of people telling you to buy a gaming PC instead.

The number one answer to this question is:

Whatever their friends have.

Pure and simple. You can’t trade games if your friend has a different console. You can’t play online together if your friends have a different console. It is, IMO, the single most important factor when buying for kids that age.

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OK, we’ll move this.

IMHO>Game

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If you’re new to gaming, the Wii is a great console to try out, even for parents.

I’m an avid gamer (working in the industry and all) and it’s my favorite of the three.

Whatever you get, the kids will want a different one. The grass is always greener…

But I vote Wii. I have one and enjoy it.

The Wii’s nice for four kids (for a lot of reasons) but also because it supports 4 controllers all playing at once. The Wii box only comes with one controller, so you’ll want to make sure you pick up extra remotes. Then a game like the New Super Mario Brothers or Mario Kart that they can all play at once.

If you don’t want to spring for three extra controllers at once, you will want to pick up at least one, to play the sports games together.

Right now, there’s an extra attachment just out called the motion plus. It’s a doohicky that plugs into the end of the remote controller and allows for more precise movements. It comes with the game Wii Sports Resort. It’s optional but when you’re shopping for the Wii, you might want to ask around about to see if there’s bundles for it.

This is the right answer. If they’re going to play video games with their friends, they need to have what their friends have.

However, with 4 kids, the chances are high that their friends will have different platforms. I prefer the Xbox 360 over the PlayStation 3 (don’t own one) and the Wii (I own one).

I actually disagree with this, or at least to the extent that it should be the primary deciding factor. As a kid, I owned a Super Nintendo while my best friend owned a Genesis. This essentially doubled our library of available games, adding even more diversity than had we all owned the same systems. Granted, we couldn’t share games, but we hung out often enough that it wasn’t an issue (dunno if the case would be the same for the OP’s kids.)

That aside, with kids as young as the OPs, they have no business playing online on either the 360 or PS3, unless one doesn’t mind them being exposed to the darker side of humanity on a constant basis (overt sexual references, racist remarks, colorful swear words, direct insults, the list goes on).

…Unless you’re talking about the darker side of humanity with his own friends.

With the 360 or the PS3 (I think the PS3, at least), you can put consoles together on a LAN and have a sleepover party. Or, to say it another way, if your kids and their friends have multiples of the same systems and multiple games, they can get together with those systems and games (and TVs/monitors) and play against each other until the early morning.

If I could pick the system that I’d want when I was a kid, it’d have been an Xbox 360. That may change when better consoles come out, but that’s what I’d have wanted. I can’t say that I’d have minded a Wii, but I think my heart would be set on an Xbox.

Don’t forget we’re talking about a 5 year-old here, in addition to a 7 year old. Unless things have changed drastically since I was a kid, the shit they’d hear on Xbox Live is much different from what they would have heard from their friends.

This is likely less the case for the 10 and 12 year old, but that doesn’t justify exposing them to what is really an ugly side of gaming. All I know is that, were I to have kids, they’d all be playing offline at that age, and several years beyond.

Munch is generally right - the system that their friends have will let them play online and swap games - but with a few caveats.

Specifically, what do you want to use the system for and who is going to use it?

If you want the system to act as an home media hub, with a Blu-Ray player and that can stream video and audio content from a home PC, you want a PS3.

If you want to use it as a social centre for the kids with Twitter, Facebook, Last.FM etc., the 360 will be your friend. This may not be as effective for a large family, because if they want to use things like Facebook the FB account is associated with a single online profile which has an associated annual charge.

If you’re looking for something exclusively for games, it’s going to be the 360 again. Especially as the next generation of consoles is about 3-4 years away and in my experience the Wii has a sort of dead zone between the ages of about 12 and 55. Also, you don’t want the 360 Arcade model. It’s cheaper up-front, but a false economy - you want one with a hard drive. If you’ve got a wireless set-up at home, you might want to consider a wireless adaptor as part of the cost.

If you want something that the small kids can enjoy and the older kids won’t overuse, it’s going to be the Wii - but the older kids will be campaigning pretty hard for a “real” games machine in fairly short order. With that said, except in pretty specific situations the Wii is this decade’s fondue set or breadmaker. It gets used a handful of times and then stays set up but never touched. It doesn’t help that in the US this is the only one that doesn’t have a Netflix linkage.

You assume they’re playing online. Because of their ages, I don’t assume so, at least not without a lot of parental supervision.

Okay, I think we’ve mis-understood one another. I thought you had advocated online gaming when you posted “This is the right answer” in response to Munch, who had mentioned online gaming.

I’m guessing that’s not the case? Were you only replying to the bolded section?

At any rate, I don’t think the 360 (nor the PS3, but less so) are very good local gaming machines, short of setting up a LAN, which is a PITA. And even then, most of the multiplayer games (short of perhaps the racing ones) are rated for gamers far older than even the 12-year old.

So, setting up a lan, with a switch and Ethernet cables is a PITA?

Yeah, I was responding to getting the system that his friends have. The online part is strictly a parental thing, and you can mute anyone that’s not your friend on Xbox Live, so if you want to make sure it’s not an issue, you can sharply mitigate it.

It’s much more than that. First, you’re assuming the OP has (at least) two TVs they’re willing to give up for a night. Secondly, someone has to bring their console over, cables and all, plus a second copy of whatever game they want to LAN up. After hooking up all that shit, then you have to get it on the network, which–for the 360 at least–may not be that feasible if one of the TVs isn’t near the router (unless you’ve purchased a $100 wifi adapter.)

There’s a reason not many people play on LANs–don’t get me wrong, I loved playing Halo back in the day on one–but it’s more of a ‘once every few months at most’ thing than it is a selling point. Plus for kids at that age? I don’t see it happening.

All I’m saying is for the age-group we’re speaking of, a Wii makes so much more sense provided it has actual multiplayer games that should (on paper) appeal to almost everyone in that age group (while being age appropriate) and doesn’t require one to setup a LAN.

Really? While I’ve done LAN parties with my PC before, that was either using a spare monitor, or bringing my own (12 lb.) monitor. I can’t imagine that anyone has a spare TV they can bring over with their console.

And even if they did, would a parent let their kid just take a TV to a friend’s house?

And, oh yeah - Wii all the way. I mean, I wouldn’t buy one - that Wii-mote is quite annoying for someone used to a PS controller - but kids love it, and most of the kids games are definitely geared toward single-system multiplayer, which you can’t really say for the PS3 in my experience.