This holiday all three major video game platforms Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 finally feature motion control. Unless you have an unlimited budget to purchase all three consoles, choosing the right one just got more complicated.
Motion control means your system has everything you need to turn your body into a living, breathing video game controller. And that translates to more realistic game play, whether youre golfing, racing, dancing or strumming a guitar. But while these current-generation systems each offer a high fun factor, expect each to also have a mix of pluses and minuses.
Cost: If you already own Nintendo Wii, pay nothing. You already have motion control. For new buyers, the cost is $199 for everything you need, including a Wii remote, a Wii nunchuck, the Wii MotionPlus accessory, and copies of Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort. The Good: Least expensive of all three devices, largest library of games. The Bad: Least accurate motion detection, given that the Wii has not been upgraded since release in 2006 and the new units feature the latest technologies. Does not play DVDs nor Blu-ray discs.
PlayStation 3 with Move:
Cost: If you own Sony PS3, expect to pay at least $99 f0r the Move Sports Champions Bundle, which comes with the PlayStation Eye, a Move Motion Controller and a copy of Sports Champions. For new buyers, the cost starts at $399 for a 320 GB PS3 system and everything in the Sports Champions Bundle. The Good: Is reported to be more accurate than Wii and second largest library of games. Plays DVDs and Blu-ray discs. The Bad: You need space for it to operate correctly, Sony recommends 5 to 9 feet between the player and the PlayStation Eye.
Microsoft Xbox 360 with Kinect:
Cost: If you own XBox 360, expect to pay at least another $150 for the Kinect add-on, which comes with the game Kinect Adventures a camera conglomeration that detects three-dimensional movement. For new buyers, the starting price is $299 for a 4GB Xbox 360, Kinect system and starter game. The Good: The only completely hands-free unit, plus you dont need to buy extra equipment for multi-player games as you must with Wii and PS3. Plays DVDs, but not Blu-ray discs. The bad: Reportedly reacts slightly slower than PS3 with Move, though still faster than Wii, and currently the smallest library with only 17 games currently available.
Bottom-line: If youre on a budget and already own one of these brands, stick with what you have for now. If you are in the market for a new unit, choose the one that makes the most of your money. For instance, if you also need a new DVD player, the XBox 360 might make more sense. If you need a Blu-ray player, the PS3 may be the best choice. And if you want to spend the least, consider Wii.