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Christmas is just around the corner so whether you’re making a wish list or reading one, you’re thinking about which next-gen console to buy. There have been a few years of hype but it’ll all come down to this holiday season when all three next-gen consoles go neck-to-neck for the winning numbers.

First, let’s discuss what point we’re at. So far, the only console to hit retail shelves has been the Xbox 360 from Microsoft. It has been released for about a year now and will be the oldest and most established next-gen console. The Xbox 360 core-system sells for about $299.99 and boasts a symmetrical triple-core CPU, a powerful 500MHz ATI graphics processor, HD compatibility, and comes internet-ready. For those of you who are technically challenged, that means this is a very powerful system.

The next console is the Nintendo Wii. Now, the Nintendo Wii isn’t nearly as powerful as its two competitors (in fact, the Wii’s graphics haven’t changed since is predecessor, the Nintendo GamCube), but the Wii does boast at least one definitive feature; its controller. The Wii controller looks more like a television remote than it does a gamepad. However, don’t let that fool you. The controller also has a motion sensor which allows it to do many different things. All-in-all, the Nintendo Wii could become a revolution in the gaming world. Another nice feature is the price, which runs at only $250. The Wii is scheduled to launch on November 19th.

The last console we’ll look at is the Playstation 3. As many of you already know, the Playstation 2 was the most successful console of its time; which leaves extraordinarily high expectations for the Playstation 3. The PS3, although priced at a hefty $410 for the core system, boasts an impressive Cell Broadband Engine, 256MB XDR Main RAM 256MB GDDR3 VRAM, 20GB hard drive, and blu-ray/HD compatibility. So, just like the Xbox 360, you’re looking at a very powerful system. Scheduled to release on November 17th, the Playstation 3 will be the most expensive next-gen system on retail shelves.

Now for the main question: Which system should I buy? Well, that all depends.

If you’re looking at cost, you’re best bet would probably be the Xbox 360 a multiple number of reasons. For one, although the Xbox is $50 more than the Nintendo Wii, it’s a far more powerful system with a much wider selection of games. So you might say you get more “bang for your buck.” Also the Wii controller package (the Wii remote + the nunchuk attachment) costs a total of $60. So, if you’re looking to buy extra controllers, you’ll be spending more on the Wii than the Xbox.

If you’re looking at sheer power, then you may want to wait a while to make your decision. You see, on paper, the Playstation 3 is about twice as powerful as the Xbox 360. However, there have been countless rumors on the problems developers have been having with the Playstation 3 chip. There may be a design flaw that weakens the system. So, even in the case of power, you’re safest bet would be the Xbox 360. Since it have been around a year already, it is certainly a more reliable system.

However, other than cost, the biggest part of your decision would be based on who would be receiving the console. If you’re buying a new console for your children, consider their age. If they’re young, the phenomenal next-gen graphics and HD compatibility may not faze them. Instead, they may just be looking to play some games. Since there will be more child-oriented games on the Wii, and the Wii has a more interractive gaming experience, the Wii will probably be your best bet in that department.

Overall, this writer would strongly suggest either the Wii or the 360 depending on your audience. Right now, it’s far too early to tell anything about the Playstation 3. And with a price so heft, there’s nothing really attractive about the system that the 360 doesn’t already offer.

Technorati Tags: Next-Gen, Console, System, Nintendo, Wii, Microsoft, Xbox, 360, Sony, Playstation 3, PS3, Games, Holidy, Season

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