Talking tech since 2003

If you’re a parent looking to buy one lucky child a new game console this Christmas, you’re likely being told to look at one of two choices – Microsoft’s new Xbox One, or Sony’s new PlayStation 4, both of which launched across the world just this month. But what if I told you that there was another choice, a better choice; what if I told you that the only console you should really consider buying your child this Christmas is the Nintendo Wii U?

Indeed, Nintendo’s newest console and successor to the wildly successful Wii, the Wii U, strikes me as the perfect gift for any family this holiday season. Despite being seen as somewhat of a “lesser” system than the other two big players in the space, the Wii U is certainly a contender on its own right, with a killer software library that provides an excellent value to any family, particularly one on a budget. Here’s why.

1) The Wii U has all the games your children want to play – and the ones they didn’t know they wanted.

Indeed, the Wii U had somewhat of a poor launch library of games – but the last year has done plenty to bolster up the Wii U’s software library, making the competitors’ libraries seem all the weaker. No matter how old your children are, there’s a game for them; Skylanders Swap Force, one of the biggest games of the year, is friendly for all ages and a superior next-generation version is available exclusively on the Wii U. Your children will also enjoy hits such as Super Mario 3D World – the next installment in the long running Super Mario franchise, Pikmin 3 – an excellent strategy game, Viewtiful 101 – a highly rated super hero action game, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, a high definition remake of what is often considered one of the greatest games of all time, all exclusive for the Wii U with more to come.

Or, if you don’t mind your family getting in on some of the more mature titles out there, the Wii U ships with support for plenty of the top games of the last year, including – yes – Call of Duty: Ghosts. Not to mention Batman: Arkham Origins, Assassin’s Creed IV, Monster Hunter 3, and Injustice – all of which deliver experiences equal to or better than the competitors’ versions with support for the Wii U’s GamePad controller.

2) The Wii U is easier on your wallet, both in the short term and in the long term.

Indeed, buying a game console these days is no cheap affair. While the Wii U is certainly cheaper than the competition upfront at $299 – the PlayStation 4 will run you $399 while the Xbox One an almost ridiculous $499 – the Wii U will also save you a whole bundle of money in the long term, too.

While both Sony and Microsoft require you subscribe to a pricy monthly or annual subscription service in order to enjoy online functionality such as multiplayer gaming and entertainment functionality, Nintendo offers much the same functionality totally free of charge. That means you won’t have to drop $10 a month for Xbox Live Gold just so your son or daughter can have the privilege of playing online, offering you a savings as much as $120/year.

3) The Wii U supports all the games you already own.

Chances are, you’ve got an extensive library of Nintendo Wii games already cluttering up your living room shelves. Unlike the competitors, both of which lack even the most basic of backwards compatibility with their previous respective systems, the Wii U supports every single Wii game ever made. Meaning that while all your Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 games would suddenly go to waste upon the purchase of an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 unless you’re okay with keeping that old dusty console plugged in, the Wii U can effectively replace the Wii in your home entertainment unit, no problems, no questions asked. Nintendo even makes it easy to transfer game saves and Miis to your new Wii U with nothing more than a blank SD card (at least 512 MB), which you probably already have laying around the house somewhere.

4) The Wii U is the ultimate digital entertainment device.

Between Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and YouTube, and more likely on the way via future software firmware updates, the Wii U supports many of the instant video streaming services you’re likely already subscribed to. So that means from within just one box, your family will be able to switch between playing Wii games, Wii U games, and watching that movie that’s been sitting on your Netflix List without even getting up off your couch or switching the input on your television’s remote all in 1080p high definition. And remember, while the Xbox One requires a pricey Xbox Live Gold subscription in order to access Netflix, it’s totally free on the Wii.

Of course, the Wii U doesn’t necessarily offer the sort of photorealistic graphics that the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 does, but honestly – when is the last time you’ve looked at a video game and scoffed at the graphics, and will your young one really be aware of what amounts to a minor difference? The Wii U is already more powerful than the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and the Wii of days passed, and will provide your family with years and years of entertainment value – all for just $299. What could make for a better Christmas gift than that?

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