Tech-Friendly: Parents: Hold off on PS4, XBox One or Wii U unless you know what the kids want

December 11, 2013

By Paul Gorski

I used to be a video gamer years ago, grew weary of it and never looked back. My teen-age son, who wishes to remain nameless, does follow the current gaming news. Even though I’m not a gamer, I had heard about the latest and greatest video game consoles: the Sony PS4 and Microsoft’s XBox One, and wondered why one of these devices hadn’t made it to his Christmas list.

One, he told me, they are not readily available. Many stores are out of them because they are so popular. Two, they cost quite a bit. And three, there are not many games available for them. He’s so practical.

I mentioned the relatively new Nintendo Wii U and had heard they had dropped the price on those, and they were readily available. His answer, “There’s a reason for that, no one wants a Wii U.”

I decided to challenge my son’s statement and started doing some research. It does seem that “high-end” and/or older gamers (older than 10 to 11 years of age) may not be interested in the Wii U, and sales have been so poor that Nintendo did indeed drop the price to $299. The Wii U commercials seem to feature younger children, too.

However, there are some online columnists and Nintendo fans out there who steadfastly support the Wii U as a great, all-age, family console, pointing out that the Wii U now ships with two popular games: New Super Mario Bros. and New Super Luigi. Even I recognize those names from my old gaming days.

So, what is a parent to do? My son recommends that unless your child has specifically asked for a Wii U or other console, get them another gift. Don’t guess, as it may be a pricey mistake. Wait until next year to see how popular the consoles are and which new games are released. Then, make a new video game console a birthday present. Sounds like good advice to me. (And I do think he directed it at me.)

If you do get a gaming console for your child, sit down and play some games together. Recent studies indicate playing video games with your children can have a positive impact on family relationships. See: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanshapiro/2013/12/04/research-says-parents-and-kids-should-play-video-games-together/.

Merry Christmas!

Paul Gorski (www.paulgorski.com) has been a technology manager nearly 20 years, specializing in workflow solutions for printing, publishing and advertising computer users. Originally destined to be a chemist, his interest in computers began in college when he wrote a program to analyze data from lab instruments he hard-wired to the back of an Apple Iie.

From the Dec. 11-17, 2013, issue

3 Comments

  1. Paul Gorski

    December 11, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Hello,

    Here’s a link to the technical specifications for these gaming consoles:

    http://www.ign.com/wikis/xbox-one/PS4_vs._Xbox_One_vs._Wii_U_Comparison_Chart.

    Not only specs, but some reviews. Again, unless you know what your recipient wants, I’d hold off. Gamers are particular about their toys.

    Paul Gorski

  2. Bitcrusher

    December 11, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Hold off till next year, or a couple months, not only will more games come out, there will be more console available. I would go with the PS4 as it has the best value in my opinion, but there is steam boxes coming out and you can upgrade the hardware as you like and play PC games as well. The new controller Valve have designed are quite impressive with two touch-pads and buttons on the bottom of the controller to allow you to have access to more buttons while keeping your fingers on the two touch-pads. The best thing about the steambox is that the games will be for the most part backwards compatible, support modding and Steam has tons of sales.

  3. Paul Gorski

    December 12, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Thank you “Bitcrusher” for your comments, sounds like you’re an experienced gamer.

    Readers: The “Steam Box” is very new, sent out to a select group of testing reviewers in 2013; a final product, or rather series of products, is due out in early 2014.

    Some articles on the Steam Box:

    http://www.theverge.com/2013/11/4/5063760/we-try-the-steam-machine-valves-video-game-console-of-the-future

    http://www.ign.com/wikis/steam/Steam_Machine

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