The release date for the Nintendo 3DS isn't until March, but there are plenty of sweet titles available for Nintendo's current dual-screen console. The release schedule includes compelling hardcore (Golden Sun: Dark Dawn) and casual (Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs) titles alike. The standard 3.25-inch DSi retails for $169, while the larger 4.2-inch DSi XL costs $189. Both devices feature cameras for snapping photos and uploading them to Facebook, as well as online gameplay and game downloads. Other titles to keep an eye out for this holiday include Atari's Greatest Hits and Call of Duty: Black Ops.
Sony fans looking to take the PlayStation experience on the go will find more than enough goodies to dig into this holiday. Titles such as God of War: Ghosts of Sparta, a new Kingdom Hearts game, and Patapon 3 all have PSP fans excited. However, knowing which PlayStation Portable to buy can be confusing. Sony currently offers the PSP-3000 ($169) and the PSPgo ($249). The latter device is more compact, and loses the Universal Media Disk Format in favor of content downloads.
Besides being a bestselling personal media player and mobile Internet gadget, the iPod touch doubles as a great gaming device. Major publishers such as Activision and Electronic Arts have ported best-selling console and PC games such as Madden 11 and Plants vs. Zombies while making them touch-friendly. Plus, games typically cost only a few dollars and many are even free. When it comes to multiplayer action, Apple answers the call with the new Game Center, a gaming social network that matches gamers up automatically with other people around the world. It also includes leaderboards and achievements.
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The futuristic Kinect add-on promises to make this leading console even more compelling. It consists of a webcam-styled peripheral that tracks user movement in 3D space. Early Kinect games such as Dance Central--a dancing game from Rock Band developers Harmonix--have received strong reviews from critics. The device will be sold alongside Kinect Adventures--a party game similar to Wii Sports--for $149 or with a 4GB Xbox 360 for $299. Sans Kinect, the 4GB unit retails for $199.
Earlier this year, Microsoft also released a redesigned Xbox 360 that sports a streamlined design, a 250GB hard drive, and internal Wi-Fi. It costs $299 and, like the 4GB Xbox 360, features online multiplayer through Xbox Live (starting at $7.99 per month). Plus, your gamer can access cool content including movies and TV shows via Netflix and Zune on Xbox Live Marketplace (prices vary).
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While the Wii has no major hardware updates in the pipeline, it does have a massive slate of releases featuring some of Nintendo's best-known franchises. Titles and characters such as GoldenEye: 007 and Donkey Kong are practically synonymous with video games, and Nintendo hopes to bank on these franchises once more this holiday season. Metroid Other M is also creating a lot of buzz.
Unlike the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Nintendo currently sells only one version of the Wii. It retails for $199 and features Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, a controller, nunchuk, and Wii Motion Plus (a controller add-on that improves motion recognition). Online play is also included for free, and your gamer can purchase Nintendo Points--virtual money used to buy games on the Nintendo DS or Wii--through the console's online store or at most major retailers.
This holiday, Sony is all about the PlayStation Move, the company's entry into the motion control arena. The promise: capture a full range of motion and pair it with full HD graphics. For existing PS3 owners, the $100 starter bundle consists of the motion controller, the PlaySation Eye camera, and the Sports Champions game. The controller features a large sphere at the end that gets tracked by the camera. If you want to give your gamer all this goodness wrapped up with an all-new console, get the PS3 Sports Champions Movie Bundle ($399).
Besides the Move bundle, the PlayStation 3 comes in 120GB ($299) and 250GB ($349) versions. While online multiplayer has always been free, Sony also launched PlayStation Plus earlier this year. The service costs $49.99 per year, but offers discounts, free games, and other benefits to users. Plus, the PlayStation 3 features support for Netflix.
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