Games consoles are an integral part of our home entertainment set-up, providing high definition graphics, integrated Blu-ray players, cloud gaming networks, and motion-sensitive wireless accessories. Gaming is a billion pound global industry and one that thrives on innovation and cutting-edge technology.
Consoles come with many additional costs: games, controllers for multiplayer games and subscription fees for online play. Many suppliers provide bundle deals that include some of these extras, but you can also buy the consoles separately, costing between £100 and £500 depending on the manufacturer or the generation.
Next generation, or next-gen, is a term to describe the latest console model. Older models are still very popular consoles too, and new games are constantly being released for these versions. Most consoles are backward-compatible, so you could save money by buying older games.
Consoles come in a neat, sleek design so that they can fit neatly into your TV cabinet. Generally small, lightweight and monochrome, some have a freestanding vertical design whereas others lay flat. The accessories are predominantly compact too, designed to fit neatly away for storage.
Whether it’s a round of golf with friends, a fantasy football tournament or a first-person shooter you’re after, you’ll find it. There’s a staggering selection available, with game releases taking on a Hollywood-style status.
All you need is an internet connection to play with other games around the world. You can also play on your network with your friends by linking your consoles. Some consoles also have integrated web browsing and access to social networks.
Consoles are becoming more and more like multifunctional exercise entertainment systems. People are getting fitter and healthier by playing computer games.
There’s a growing catalogue of fitness and exercise products, including dance, aerobics, yoga, boxing, bowling, and tennis. Motion controllers and remotes, sensor bars, eye cameras, interactive motion gaming, and even 3D fitness gaming are increasingly popular additions to consoles.
Some consoles work on a hard disc whereas others work on an internal memory. The recommended hard disc capacity for your games console is between 120 GB and 250 GB. Some consoles have a flash memory of 512 MB to which SD cards can be added, for storing music, games, photographs or videos.
Games consoles are now commonly used as a high-quality multimedia display system, with large storage facilities for videos, music, and photos. You can organise and create slideshows, zoom in and out of photos, and even view photos in 3D (although you’ll need 3D glasses and a TV that supports 3D stereoscopic display). You can also watch on-demand TV and DVDs through your console.
Compared to ten years ago, graphics are amazing on all leading consoles. If you’re after the best graphic capability for hardcore gaming, make sure you check the individual specs. Resolution is usually between 480 and 1080 pixels; the higher the resolution, the better the graphics.
Handheld consoles are extremely popular with younger gamers and with high-quality dual screens, online gaming and film watching, they’re an ideal first console. You can expect to spend under £100 for the latest model of handheld console from competitive retailers. Games only cost between £10 to £20.