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Ask Slashdot: Best Console For the Kids This Holiday? 267

First time accepted submitter undulato writes "I've got an aging, fat PS3 with only a couple of games that I still play on it but three kids under 9 who love Skylanders, iPet, Lego whatever etc. We all watch movies on it and it has been pretty much the centre of our entertainment world for a few years now. I've already got a spare HDMI monitor we could use for a screen so my question is — should we go for a new console this Christmas? Just buy another controller or two and a new game or two for PS3 and be done? Or get the still pretty viable Xbox 360, or even plump for a cheap Wii or even a Wii U if we're feeling flush. What do you think?"
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Ask Slashdot: Best Console For the Kids This Holiday?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @02:17PM (#42067331)

    Just get some PS3 games imo

    • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:19PM (#42067815) Journal

      It sounds like they are into the whole casual thing, which if he doesn't wanna get more PS3 games I'd say put together one of those E350 AMD DVD player sized PCs together, slap on Steam, and let the kids go to town.

      Let me tell ya with two teen boys Steam is like manna from heaven, the Xmas sale is always full of great games dirt cheap, so i can just tell them "here is what you have to spend, go nuts" and let them load up. Of course they both have decent gaming PCs but for casual gaming the E350 not only works great but slap a 1Tb drive in it and its a great media tank as well. with all the indies signing onto Steam they could have new games practically every day for cheap or free and the E350 kits are dirt cheap.

      But buying another console now would be retarded, we all know they are all gonna release new systems (Nintendo already has) soon and until you see which are the winners and which the losers buying a console now would just be dumb. You either get ancient tech like the X360 or a console that frankly could turn into another Gamecube, whereas the E350 will look nice in a TV cabinet, will let you play netflixs and watch all your shows, and with Win 8 just $40 the 10 foot UI for kids is one of the few things Win 8 is actually good at so it seems like a no brainer to me, get the HTPC.

      • by godel_56 ( 1287256 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @06:31PM (#42068973)

        It sounds like they are into the whole casual thing, which if he doesn't wanna get more PS3 games I'd say put together one of those E350 AMD DVD player sized PCs together, slap on Steam, and let the kids go to town.

        The AMD APUs use the system memory for video, so if you go that way, get the fastest memory the motherboard can handle (and make sure it's properly recognized in the BIOS). This really does make a difference in maximum frame rates, and the extra cost is peanuts.

        • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Thursday November 22, 2012 @09:52PM (#42070223) Journal

          Thanks godel, I forgot to mention that and it is VERY true. i have the EEE E350 netbook and changing out the 2gb of 1066 for 8gb of 1333 (hey it was only $8 difference between 4Gb and 8gb so I went for it) I can not only play videos smooth as butter in 1080P over HDMI but I can even play HL 2, L4D, even played far Cry 1 on lowest settings just fine, but personally if I'm on the netbook I like the RPGs like Torchlight I and II, those work great on the Bobcat.

          And of course that is on a netbook where you have to deal with heat, I've built the E350 barebones for offices and cheap HTPCs and without being squeezed into a netbook those chips are just great, idles less than 6w, 18w under load, no noise, and you can just do so damned much with them!

      • Let me tell ya with two teen boys Steam is like manna from heaven

        What Steam games can these two teen boys (or the OP's single-digit-year-old children) play together on one machine with two Xbox 360 gamepads?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @02:20PM (#42067355)

    Easiest "Ask Slashdot" ever. More child friendly games are available for Nintendo's platforms than for the PS3 or Xbox 360.

    • by I-am-a-Banana ( 940550 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:06PM (#42067717)
      So I have a 12 and 8 year old. They got a paper route and saved bday money and bought themselves a used WII, for which I paid to get a dance pad and extra controller for them, and got rock band 2 for and XMas present for the Mrs. The WII offers them great non-bloody violent games to play (they love zelda and mario) however they use the WII for Netflix just as much as game time. The WII offers Netflix with out having to pay for "Xbox gold". We also have the XBox 360 and Kinect. With the Xbox they love the Lego starwars and the kinect games. However I have to keep them out of the other games that I have had donated to me like Gears, Halo and Dead Space (luckily I can leave them on the shelves and they know not to touch them). We do limit their screen time, and sometimes we tell them that they have to play an active game (dance dance, kinect adventures, Dance Revolutions, or even fruit ninja). Kids really get into the games and they can work up a sweat. OK I can work up a sweat with them too... The difficult part is when your kids feel left out and not understanding when their 11 years old buddies are all talking about playing the latest Grand Theft Auto and Call of duty game. My kids know why they are not allowed to play them, and they completely understand it, but it does make them a bit of an outsider and harder to fit in. The WII I find is more intuitive, especially with Netflix, and has less chance of having inappropriate games. The Xbox's kinect is a blast, but again I have to pay the XBox gold tax to do certain things...
    • No. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by s0nicfreak ( 615390 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:27PM (#42067875) Homepage Journal
      I have 3 kids under 9 and one over 9. We have both a Wii and a 360. Two Wiis in fact. Both the Wiis are gathering dust, probably not turned on in over a year. The 360 on the other hand gets TONS of use from the kids. While the Wii has lots of shitty games DIRECTED at kids, the 360 has tons of GOOD child friendly games.
  • by MonsterOfTheLake ( 880659 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @02:21PM (#42067369)
    or a skateboard. or a bicycle. They don't need another video game console. They need to go outside and play.
  • PC? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @02:22PM (#42067375)

    Just get a semi decent PC and a few game controllers. PC vs Console aside, since Nintendo just released a new system and the other gaming consoles are starting to show their age, investing in one now seems counter intuitive. If you have enough money that it doesn't matter, I'm not sure why you don't just have one of each already. If money is tight enough that that isn't an option, then you really don't have a leg to stand on pushing to get a new system in the first place.

    This feels more like fishing for a current idea of how consumers feel about the consoles than a legitimate question. Unless your kids (or yourself) are dying to play games that aren't on the PS3 that you already have, or are having issues with Sony, there's no reason to move to a new system at all.

    • Just get a semi decent PC

      Seconded. One advantage of a PC is that it's really easy to run the multitude of free-to-play Flash games on relatively kid-safe sites such as Nick, PBS, and the BBC.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Just get a semi decent PC and a few game controllers.

      And what exactly would you play on it? There's tons of great games for the PC but they're 99% one player/machine with mouse and keyboard. At best you'll get a few console ports who kept the console controller scheme as an option, in which case you might as well get a console. Personally I'd not want to buy a 2005-2006 generation console today which leaves the Wii U, but I guess that's also a budget issue. Indications are that the Xbox720/PS4 won't come until around 2015 so there's little point in holding ou

    • Yeah because kids like sitting arond a desk waiting for updates to be applied.
  • After many years of begging I finally broke down and got a xbox 360 to replace the aging Wii. I got the Halo 4 version since my son loves the Halo games. The game is rated teen but him and his friends have been playing it for a couple of years now. BTW he's also 9 (turning ten early next year). Now he just has to wait until Christmas and no he doesn't know he's getting it.

  • It's cliché, but true. What games are they interested in? Do you play multiplayer games and are you willing to pay for Xbox Live Gold subscription? Do you have a media room set up that is good for Kinect? 360 shares most of it's software line up with PS3 so if those are the games you're playing little point in getting it (it would be quite a different situation if you didn't already have the PS3). For Kids, Kinect may be a good value, but that depends if you actually have the room to use it proper
    • 360 is cheap but if you're playing multiplayer you have to factor in the subscription too.

      Only if you plan on playing online multiplayer. Some adults prefer playing online with strangers because adults are less likely to have time to arrange their schedules to visit friends in person. But this household has three single-digit-year-old children, and I don't see how it'll be hard for them to arrange their schedules to play with one another using multiple gamepads connected to one machine.

  • by SilenceBE ( 1439827 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @02:31PM (#42067439)
    The skylander, lego, ... are also available on the PS3 which you have. The differences between the ps3, xbox 360 and even the wii u is to small to imho shell out money to get an extra console or to get your money worth.

    I had the xbox 360 and the PS3 for example and to be honest the difference was so neglible that I ended up selling one. The wii I also had but I had more use of it as a paper weight then a gaming machine. Great first party titles but that was also all and I don't have the feeling that with the WiiU it will be a different case.

    I would go for some games or even saving for when the nextgen machines arrive. For me that makes economical more sense.
    • Plus Lego LOTR has just come out and if they kept the cooperative play system the same as the last Lego Star Wars then it is great for one of the younger children to play with an older sibling
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just buy another controller or two and a new game or two for PS3 and be done?

    I'm seeing more and more kids who are taught this "need" to have the latest a greatest gadget. Teach to use their things until they're beyond repair or so archaic that the sytem can't be used anymore.

    Also, try promoting a healthy lifestyle. If they want entertainment, encourage them to go out a play - get some physcial exercise. Teach them to go and play a team sport (or try to get on a swim team or soccer/football) and make friends that way. Because I have a sneaky suspicion that your kids are already show

  • by Kergan ( 780543 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @02:33PM (#42067461)

    Your kids probably want an iPad, a WII-U or an iPod Touch if surveys are anything to go by:

    http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/consumer/u-s-kids-continue-to-look-forward-to-iholiday/ [nielsen.com]

    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      Your kids probably want an iPad, a WII-U or an iPod Touch if surveys are anything to go by

      Only because of advertising. Engage your kids, get them finding out more details rather than just the rosy picture in the latest expensive ads, and they may reach a different conclusion that they will be happier with (Or not.... The Wii-U and iPad 4th gen are pretty highly compelling game platforms; I don't believe the same could be said about the iPod Touch).

  • Use Steam (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @02:38PM (#42067521)

    Use Steam and a Linux Box, later, your sons will play less and learn more, because they will have all the free tools to learn.

    • by pspahn ( 1175617 )

      Kind of what I was thinking, but the things they learn may prove rather practical since they will have to learn how to make stuff work in Linux.

      I highly doubt I would have found interest in working with zeroes and ones as a career had I not been given a crappy Sperry IBM clone and some games that never ran unless you figured out what TSRs and extended memory were and how to manipulate them.

      Kids will learn how to learn better if they are given things that only 'sort of' work' (some assembly required).

  • Much more versatile than an TV console (drawing, reading, map, educational games, movies) and you could get tons of simple games/apps for only a few bucks each.
    And you can use it in the car for long travels.

    And it does not "compete" with the PS3 for which you could still get games.

    • I'd actually recommend an ipad mini. My kids have had an ipad 1 for years and absolutely love it, but I got them a mini and its much more suited to them. The littlest (2) looks hilarious carting the big ipad with protective case around... It's like half his size lol. Plus it's cheaper than a 2nd gen! Plus, the iPads can use the TV, kinda like a WiiU, so you don't lose too much from a console, and you gain a ton (like CHEAP apps and great educational software - my 4 year old learned how to spell almost entir

  • etch-a-sketch (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ath0mic ( 519762 )
    6.25 x 4.5 inch display, infinite battery life, no software updates required... all for about $15.00
  • by TheSkepticalOptimist ( 898384 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @02:55PM (#42067641)

    Why don't you ask your children what console they want? Chances are they will be very disappointed by whatever group consensus you will get from Slashdot, which will probably be some Linux based 10 year old shoebox computer running Steam beta...

    Yep, 5 comments up "Use Steam and a Linux Box"...sigh.

    • My kids that are under 9 actually love using Linux and Steam.
      • My kids that are under 9 actually love using Linux and Steam.

        My kids love watching movies in French. :)

    • by c0lo ( 1497653 )

      Chances are they will be very disappointed by whatever group consensus you will get from Slashdot, which will probably be some Linux based 10 year old shoebox computer running Steam beta...

      Yep, 5 comments up "Use Steam and a Linux Box"...sigh.

      I dissent. The best console for kids is no doubt LCARS

      • The best console for kids is no doubt LCARS

        Last time I tried that, the antimatter injectors got stuck and polarity of the positron flow was reversed! We never did get it to work right...

  • Atari 2600 (Score:3, Funny)

    by JoeWalsh ( 32530 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @02:57PM (#42067663)

    It was good enough for granddad; it's good enough for anyone.

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      Sigh, it's sad when people are referring to Atari owners as grandfathers.

      • by c0lo ( 1497653 )

        Sigh, it's sad when people are referring to Atari owners as grandfathers.

        Why, you don't have grandkids yet?

        (wink) Well... I told yea... you should have exit that basement of yours more often.

        • by guruevi ( 827432 )

          Given my age I am on the border of that possibility but I didn't come out of my basement quite early enough for that so I won't have grandkids (hopefully) for another 20 years or so.

  • by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @02:59PM (#42067675)

    very broad generalization follows

    Playstation and Xbox have mostly single player games.
    Wii has more multiplayer games.

    • That is not really true if you expand your horizons beyond the big name games. My kids play TONS of multiplayer games on the 360. They have not touched the Wii in over a year. And, to tell the truth we have a modded Wii and could pirate any Wii game. Nothing has grabbed their interest...
  • by BoRegardless ( 721219 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:00PM (#42067689)

    Some studies have shown if you "get" music you do better with math and that today is needed almost no matter what occupation you have.
    No batteries, no internet connection, small, portable, not too loud, pleasant once they learn a bit, nothing be reeds as accessories to buy. What could go wrong?

    • Re:Clarinet (Score:4, Funny)

      by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @06:01PM (#42068787)

      What could go wrong?

      This one time, at band camp...

    • What are you, Woody Allen?

      Seriously, I think music would be a great way to get kids working out more than their thumbs this holiday season.

      I myself would go for a Yamaha or Casio electronic keyboard. Why? Because a clarinet, trumpet, saxophone or other band or symphonic instrument tend to be noisy. Unless your kid's a born Mozart, you and your neighbors are not likely to get a moment's peace when the kids first starts to practice. Electronic pianos have head phones or line out connectors so your kid can pra

  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:06PM (#42067721)

    Use it as an opportunity to teach valuable shopping, reasoning, and persusasion skills.

    Research each console, titles for each console, and options; find pluses and minuses.

    Ask the 3 kids to make "Features/Advantages" and "Disadvantages" lists for each console, each one to pick the console they find most compelling, and tell the story.

    If there's a disagreement have a discussion, and requirement for the kids to persuade each other/ come to unanimous agreement on which console they want.

    Then take your kids' opinions under advisement, in making your final decision....

    • If there's a disagreement have a discussion, and requirement for the kids to persuade each other/
      come to unanimous agreement on which console they want.

      IOW, one vote for boxing gloves instead of a console.

  • so it looks like the financial market says don't count on a screaming boatload of new games in a couple years. Panasonic is a hurting critter, too.

  • by Tei ( 520358 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:24PM (#42067843) Journal

    New consoles are going to release in a year!. Buying a console now (except the Wii-U) is the worst thing a gamer can do!.

  • ... why don't you ask them? I'm dumbfounded how this got to front page of slashdot, seems like a "no duh" kind of question.

    • Some people like to surprise their kids for Christmas.

      Personally, I talk to mine throughout the year, interact with them daily, and through that learn their interests and wants....
  • by David_Hart ( 1184661 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:34PM (#42067933)

    If their friends have a PS3, then get a PS3. If their friends have an XBox, get an XBox. Why? Because they can then share games...

  • by gallondr00nk ( 868673 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:48PM (#42068031)

    Apart from the Wii U, which is more a half generation on from the PS3 rather than the next generation, essentially you'll be replacing like for like. Another PS3 or 360 will seem like a bad choice a year down the line when the PS4 is coming up for release.

    That said, if you want games for your kids, why not think about the original Wii? They'll be dirt cheap now the U is out, and there's plenty of games available.

    Also wow, there's a fair amount of moralising here tonight.

  • Tell the kids NOT to give up until they've beaten SMB1, SMB3, and LifeForce. At least.
    It's like spelling, and math - everyone should do it.

    Then we're on to PC: Doom2, and then Quake1. It's ok to use OpenGL.
    Half-Life1 (BlackMesa is ok)
    UnrealTournament1 with Hi Res Pack

    First Person Shooters are important for learning that no matter how good you are,
    you will always die by some lucky headshot from across half the map. And
    from this they *know* that the actual Military is just a shortcu

    • Screw that. Require them to beat Impossible Mission. On a C64. Don't tell them about the bug that can render the game unwinnable.
  • NES

    You'd be surprised how many kids prefer old skool games.

    • It's like the old iPhone theory. New ones coming out does not modify the awesomeness of the original. I've had 10 year olds go berserk just as much as I did at that age over N64 games. Games are games, lol.
  • Ask your kids. They may well already know of games they want to play / are playing with their friends.

    I don't see the point of just buying another console unless you know of games you want to play on it. There's no point buying solely in anticipation of good games in the future because you may as well just save the cash and buy when those games do come out.

    Difficult to comment on the option of buying more games and controllers as you don't say whether there's any games you wish to buy nor if you need any mo

  • More ps3. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @04:09PM (#42068125)

    Why bother debating on it? Just get more ps3 games, you already have the system.

    I see a lot of comments saying nintendo is better for kids games and thats not true, nintendo is better for shovelware games. Sure nintendo has some good kids games but no more than anyone else since the vast majority of games on nintendos systems are complete garbage where some developer craps out a family friendly game that is a complete waste of time.

    Ps3 has a lot of great games for kids and adults. Ratchet and clank hd collection, sly cooper collection, rayman origins, little big planet, little big planet 2, all of the "lego" theme games on it, skylanders, skylanders giants, ratchet and clank a crack in time, modnation racers, sonic generations, playstation move heroes, epic mickey 2, disney universe, wonderbook, and dozens more. Plus the dozens and dozens of smaller games you can buy cheap on the playstation store.

    And if you mean aging as in your ps3 is aged since you bought it yes, but its hardly aging in techology sense. Last of us and beyond two souls are coming out and still advancing what can be done on it.

    If the ps3 is such a big part of your family and you already have a library of games for it then why change it out while its still in its prime?

  • Get a wii if money is tight or get the Wii U so you get access to the new games and the ability to play Wii games.
  • Game Boy Color :-) They're about $30 lol. Age does not somehow make them less awesome as an absolute measurement compared to modern PSPs and stuff, merely as a relative standpoint. But for $30, get that GBC and Pokemon Gold out lol.
  • I got a PS3 early, but not $600 bleeding edge early. 6 months $450 with 13 free Blu-Rays early.

    We use it mostly for watching Blu-Rays in a home theater system. We have not gotten many games for our daughter and have tried to steer her to the more puzzle solving or physically active ones. She has not been much of a gamer, but the Playstation Move works good enough (though expect to do a lot of fiddling every time to get the camera and wands working just right) and they do tend to her favorite games.

  • Get a Nexus 7.

    Costs US$199, most games are under $5. Goes with the kids in the car, in the bedroom, but still easy to confiscate and lock away.

    Far better selection of educational games, not just twitch reflex shooters.

    Serves double duty as a media player. Movies, music, Youtube.

    Serves triple duty as an internet research / learning tool. How do volcanoes work? Look it up.

    With Android 4.2 you can set up individual user accounts for each child & parent, so the whole family can use it. But

e-credibility: the non-guaranteeable likelihood that the electronic data you're seeing is genuine rather than somebody's made-up crap. - Karl Lehenbauer