The eighth generation of the console wars is currently under way between Sony's PlayStation 4, Microsoft's Xbox One, and Nintendo's Wii U, but if you're not familiar with either of the three consoles, choosing one might be a bit confusing.
Luckily, each console has its own strengths and weaknesses, depending on what you might be looking for in a console. Is the variety of games important? Is a removable hard drive important? Do you want to use it for things other than gaming? How about the inclusion of a Blu-ray player?
Let's start off with the people's choice, according to sales figures: The PlayStation 4. The PS4 has so far sold a total of 20.2 million units as of March 1, beating out both other consoles by a considerably large margin. Although Microsoft hasn't reported on Xbox One sales since last November, that number hover just below 10 million units, while the Wii U reports 9.2 units sold as of January of this year.
But if we're talking about the availability of games, the Wii U would top that list with 457 games currently available for the system. This impressive number tops the PS4's 443 and the Xbox One's 333 and features the largest number of exclusives by far with 120.
Looking at hardware, the comparisons get a little more complicated. The PS4 and the Xbox One both include a Blu-ray player, DVD player, Game DVR, 8 GB of RAM, an eight-core processor, and a 500 GB hard drive, but the Xbox One and Wii U both feature external storage capabilities through USB while the PS4 does not. The PS4 does, however, feature a removable hard drive, which helps solve that problem.
The Wii U's hardware is not quite as impressive with only 2 GB of RAM, a tri-core PowerPC processor, and only a maximum of 32 GB of storage. Luckily, the Wii U doesn't have mandatory game installs like the Xbox One does.
Looking at online features, all consoles have access to NetFlix, Hulu Plus, and a web browser, but the Wii U lacks access to Skype and the streaming capabilities found on the other two consoles.
When comparing all three consoles head-to-head, Crave Online took a look at several factors to determine which console was the best for 2014, including the controversies surrounding each console. The site pointed out that the Wii U's lack of third-party support severally limited the console, but in summary, the Nintendo console won overall.
"In terms of sales, PS4 has its competitors beat hands down," the article explained. "The Xbox One has also put in an admirable shift this year, giving us a selection of great games whilst also besting Sony's system financially at the tail-end of the year. However, consoles are all about the games, and in that department the Wii U has truly shone in 2014. With two colossal exclusive titles in the form of Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. U under its belt, along with the excellent Bayonetta 2 and a small selection of unique third-party games, Nintendo proved that its latest console can hang with the rest of 'em, even if it isn't shifting as many units."
Ultimately, it's up to your own preference. Since all three consoles are similarly priced (between $300-$400, depending on bundle deals and sales), you can decide which console to buy depending on what's important to you and your family.