I have an entire household of video game junkies. We don’t all like the same game genres – I tend to be more oldskool with Legend of Zelda and Tetris Attack/ Tetris Party while Curly likes shooting zombies and fantasy games, The Khan likes Lego Batman… You get the idea. We jumped on the Wii and Wii Fit bandwagon early. When Microsoft introduced the Kinect feature for XBox 360, I was intrigued. So, like I usually do, I found a reason to get one. Which is our preference?
Let’s start with the Wii. The Wii has been around since late 2007. At its inception, it was revolutionary for the interactive nature of the controllers. You get to bowl in Wii Bowling, you can run around (literally) in some of the games. I loved that it helped get the kids and grownups off the couch. We have spent many happy hours playing our Wii. Adding the Wii Fit and related games increased our family’s enjoyment. The boys like the skiing, snowboarding, hula hoop and other active games. I also like that our game cube games will work in the Wii and that for a few dollars, old school games like Metroid Prime and Super Mario World are downloadable. Before Blu-ray, we streamed Netflix on the Wii as well.
Enter the XBox 360. For years, I did not see the value of an XBox. The games were 100% sedentary, very few games available for younger children and very few games I would allow the older kids to play. Fast forward to last year and the introduction of the Kinect. The Kinect is designed for interactive play with something akin to a webcam, but better. The player’s movements are actually tracked by the Kinect device. Your dance moves, your running and jumping, all of it. You’re in the game which is fun to play and to watch. It is also quite simple for younger players to master.
Highlights of the Wii:
Up to four players can play making it great for larger groups.
Interactive controllers including mats for dance and adventure games and the Wii Fit board.
Lots and lots of games targeted at younger players including educational games (I have been known to use the UDraw tablet to get the Khan to write his spelling words).
Proprietary game characters including Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong.
Classic games available for download.
Option to play some games online if you wish.
Drawbacks of the Wii:
For many of the active games – Zumba, Dance Party, etc. all players really have to do is shake the wiimote. This kind of defeats the purpose and makes the game significantly less fun.
Most serious gamers I know that play more complex games like FIFA, Call of Duty, Mass Effect do not like Wii controllers to play them on.
Multiple controllers required for a variety of games. We have the UDraw, the Wii Fit Board, our old game cube controllers, classic controllers, the steering wheel for Mario Kart and the Active Life Explorer Mat along with several WiiMotes with and without Motion Plus. Don’t get me started on Rock Band.
Highlights of XBox
Kinect device provides much better interaction between players and games. You have to dance in dance games. You have to run and jump if the game calls for it.
Netflix and Hulu are streamable on the XBox. You can also watch DVDs on the XBox.
Serious gamers prefer the XBox controller and graphics to those of the Wii.
XBox Live connects you to gamers worldwide including family and friends far away (or up the street, I guess).
Kinect games open up options for younger players that involve actual play rather than sedentary video game play. Carnival Games and Wipeout are a couple that younger kids really like.
Drawbacks of XBox
Games are expensive. That seems to be the trend, though. New games are now around $60. I remember when $40 was a lot.
Not a lot of traditional game offerings for younger players. Nintendo seems to have this wrapped up.
So which do we prefer?
An informal poll in the Sharp house, points to the Xbox as the favorite. The Emperor highlights the Kinect options opening up a wide variety of games, better graphics and XBox Live. I do love the Wii, personally, but that is because of the variety of games we’ve acquired over the years.
In practice, we’re playing a roughly equal amount of both. Mainly because of the variety of Wii games is larger than XBox at our home and more people can play Wii at once. XBox, however, is a better choice if you’re playing games to get fit. And comparatively, the Kinect is just more fun.
Wii is best for:
Families with young children (age 4+).
Casual Game Players.
People who like Party Games: Game Shows, Board Games, etc.
Families / Gamers who like to play in larger groups – up to 4 supported by Wii.
Gamers who appreciate the classic games available for download to the Wii. Note: If you don’t like Mario and Zelda, this might affect our relationship.
XBox is best for:
Families with slightly older children (age 6-7+) with Kinect.
People seriously intending to use a game console to get fit.
Serious gamers playing Role Playing Games and First Person Shooters.
Also consider which console your far away friends have. If playing with them is a goal, you need the same console they own. None of the big 3 are compatible with each other.
Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way for this ifpost (I wish someone would pay me for my opinion!). This is an honest comparison of products I own.