We’ve talked about it before on the Game On Australia podcast, and again, the question was asked to me this week by a good friend with a child who’s ready to game on himself.
What console should I get for my child?
For the sake of, once and for all, drawing a line in the sand and having a destination to refer the question to in future, here is my humble guide on what console to buy your kids.
I’ll start with what I think is the most important thing you need to consider.
1) What consoles do their mates have?
This is the big one, as to me, gaming online with your mates is life! Seeing we’re not at a stage yet where we can game online cross platform, it’s the one thing you absolutely must find out before making the big purchase.
To me, it would suck if you’re three best mates had a PS4, and your folks bought you an XBOX. As gracious as you should be when getting a ding-dong console.
2) Does your child have any particular leaning?
This is the other big one. Depending on the age of your kid, they’ve probably already done a bit of research into what suits them best.
I’ve always been an XBOX guy, but that’s because I just didn’t gel with the original Playstation. I bought it one day, took it back the next.
Pete’s the exact opposite. Except he never actually ever owned an XBOX. He just always “got” the PS.
Now, there’s a new player in the market with the Nintendo Switch… and it could be something that speaks volumes to your kid… so it’s best to surreptitiously ask the question as to which one they would prefer.
3) What kind of games are they into?
You probably don’t really know, seeing they haven’t got a console yet. But you can make an educated guess based on their personalities.
For example, if they’ve obsessed with soccer, fair chance they will love FIFA… so, immediately, you’re down to the choice of an XBOX or a PS4.
4) Can you borrow or hire one for a couple of days?
Buying a console is a massive deal. It’s a lot of money. If you can borrow one or hire one for a couple of days, it can answer a lot of your questions.
5) How old is the child you’re potentially buying for?
This is a big one to think about as well. If they’re still relatively young (6 to 9 years), you might want to head down the Nintendo path… Nintendo have long been known for great games suited for kids and kids at heart.
The Switch also has parental controls, giving parents control over how much gaming can be had.
If they’re a bit older, either pre or early teens, you might want to think otherwise. The XBOX and PS4 are more suited to the adult market (although if someone bought me a Switch I would be stoked).
6) Do you have a dedicated gaming space for them?
If you do, then all good. Any of the major three will do.
If not, you might want to consider the Nintendo Switch, as it’s completely portable and versatile, being used as either a desktop console or hand held. It’s that clever!
This is also worthy of consideration for anyone who commutes as part of their day-to-day. If they catch a bus or train daily, you might want to consider the Switch, so they can take it with them.
7) Is it just to be a gaming console? Or do you want more?
Pete and I follow the strict rule that our gaming machines are exactly that… a gaming machine.
But, both the PS4 and the XBOX are media centres, offering lots more than just the gaming. So that’s worth a thought.
I know on the XBOX, for example, you can stream all sorts of services, play CD’s and DVD’s (remember them), and video files off a USB. It’s a versatile little beauty!
8) Does it depend on a deal?
It pays to shop around. There are heaps of peripherals to consider, so if you can save $100 on a console through a deal, you could put it towards another controller.
After all, we know Online Gaming is the thing now, but there’s certainly still magic in playing a game of FIFA or Pro Evo with your mates in the same room.
9) Look to the future?
The new XBOX is being released later this year and it looks awesome. Awesome enough to warrant holding off until it comes out? That’s what you have to look into.
10) Backwards compatible?
In my opinion, XBOX dropped the ball big time when the XBOX One DIDN’T play XBOX 360 games. Thankfully, they’ve gone a ways to rectifying the issue, but that’s worth considering.
A great game on the PS4 or XBOX for your kid 5 years ago, can still be a great game today, if they haven’t played it before.
At the end of the day, if you’re buying something as big as a gaming console for someone you love, it pays to try and find out as much as you can about what they really want. Hopefully, the above checklist helps make the process that little bit easier
Written by: @dantheinternut