Video game consoles are highly entertaining for kids and adults alike. A good console allows you to both play a variety of games and often becomes an entertainment hub for the whole family. The US market has the top products from the major console manufacturers.

If you haven’t already done so, it is a good time to buy a video game console for your home. Current models are highly advanced, allowing you to connect to the internet and designed for continuously higher quality games. Playing is more immersive and interactive than ever before. Having reviewed the top consoles on the market, we created the following guide to help you choose the best console for your children and family.

Key Facts

  • All leading manufacturers design top quality video game consoles. Ultimately, their functions are what differentiate them, each being tailored for different players and their specific needs.
  • Flexibility and mobility are key for manufacturing companies, as is audiovisual quality.
  • You should consider the age of your child when buying a console, and take full advantage of the parental control functions these platforms provide.

Ranking: The best game consoles on the US market

In the following section, you’ll discover our selection of the best game consoles currently available on the US. We will introduce you to the most important features of each model to help you make the best decision. Here is our top 5 ranking:

No. 1: Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch console incorporates unparalleled technology, which is the key reason that it leads our ranking. On one hand Nintendo Switch provides all the regular high-level technology of a home console.  Additionally, it can also be used as a handheld device. This versatility not only enhances the gaming experience, it also makes it very easy to transport with you and play where ever you go.

Additional highlights of the Nintendo Switch are its detachable controls and motion detection systems, which are key features for active gaming.  More importantly – the game selection you will have access to is very wide from the newest games such as Yoshi’s Crafted World, and Super Mario Odyssey to games that have now become retro such as the Legend of Zelda.

No. 2: Playstation 4 Pro (PS4)

The Play station 4 is one of the more popular consoles on the market, and for good reason. It has an extensive range of games. The themes such as horror, adventure and education ensure something of interest for a variety of different users and tastes. Further, its extensive subscription program provides countless options for the most enthusiastic gamers.

This console differs from Nintendo Swtich insofar is that it is a home based console. That said you can use it on different screens within the same home such as TVs, your computer, or to a PlayStation Vita, the brand’s handheld console. Certain games are also compatible with virtual reality goggles.

No. 3: Xbox One X

Xbox One X by Microsoft is a solid console option.  It serves as a multifunctional family entertainment system, rather than just a gaming console.  In addition to a wide range of games the console can also be used for other purposes.  For example, with integration with Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video, it can also be used as a high quality viewing system.

In addition to is multi-functional use, other key features of Microsoft’s are it audio and graphic quality. Gaming in 4K resolution is a real treat.  The console comes with a remote control and access to wide range of gaming options. We hope this console will be shared fairly and won’t become a source of family conflict!

No. 4: SUPER NES Classic Mini

The SUPER NES Classic Mini is a smaller version of the all classic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), that was released in the early 80s. It allows older players to enjoy games from their childhood years such as Super Mario Kart, The Legend of Zelda and more.

Mini retro consoles are increasing in demand both amongst adults and children.  Sega plans to release its own version, while Sony already has a version of the classic PlayStation at the on the market. Nintendo no longer produces the Classic Mini, so we suggest purchasing one while these products are still available.

No. 5: New Nintendo 3DS XL

The New Nintendo console is a highly popular handheld console.  It has a wide game selection from all the Nintendo Classics, and additionally the large screen makes play easier on the eyes for gamers who enjoy long sessions.  Additionally, the console can also be used almost like an iPad with access to the internet and regular applications.

This console is especially compatible for travelers or individuals who have long commutes.  Its interface, design and game selection all but ensure your journeys to be much more exciting. This console can be purchased in either black or blue.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about game consoles

With so many options on the market, buying the best console for you and your family requires careful research. Naturally, most parents want to know which console is also best suited for their children. In the next section, we answer some of the most common questions so that you have all the information you need to make the right decision.

Most modern video game consoles are connected to the internet.
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Can I supervise my children while they play?

All the products we featured in our selection offer different possibilities of parental control. While you naturally can’t know exactly what your child is doing on the console, parental supervision functions give you the possibility to authorize certain games and block others. You can even set a limit on game time, and pick at which hours your children can play.

The parental control features of the Nintendo Switch, for instance, are excellent. You can put a different time limit for each day of the week, and the system will send a notification to your child when it’s time to stop. You will even receive a monthly report with information on which games your kid most enjoys and how many hours per month he spends on playing.

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Did you know that Iwatani and his team created Pacman while eating pizza?

At what age can my child start playing video games?

There is no clear answer for this question. Opinions diverge significantly regarding the minimum age required to play video games. Throughout childhood and adolescence, it is very important to prioritize outdoor play. Screen time should also be closely monitored and limited, in particular with children under the age of five.

Age ratings are essential when you’re deciding which games your children can play, but don’t rely on them alone. Do your own research, and follow your own judgement and common sense. As we detailed earlier, parental control functions are an invaluable tool to make sure your kid plays safely.

Take a look at the game genres offered by each console before settling for a specific model.
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What are the benefits of video games?

While playing outside should always be the priority, that doesn’t mean video games don’t offer several benefits when it comes to your child’s cognitive, motor and social development. Here is a quick list of the key advantages of video games:

  • They test analytical and problem-solving skills: Video games push players to constantly make decisions. Many games – in particular those that immerse players in deep narratives – require analysis and planning. Children are also taught to follow rules.
  • They teach how to focus on several activities at once: The majority of video games demand of players that they be alert and pay close attention – especially adventure games. Children have to tackle problems without losing sight of their energy level or other potential obstacles.
  • They contribute to the development of social skills: Your child can learn about healthy competition when playing against other children, while co-operation games will train them in teamwork. They will even develop powerful bonds with others. That being said, you should always monitor their interactions when they play online.

Should I invest in a last-gen game console?

The latest home consoles offer greater technical capabilities. The Xbox One X, for instance, gives you the possibility to play games and watch movies in 4K resolution. In that regard, it is completely worth investing in the latest console if you already have a 4K TV: the gaming experience will be all the more immersive.

Older consoles are more affordable. However, you have to consider that manufacturers eventually stop producing games compatible with them. If you want to enjoy the latest games, we encourage you to choose a relatively new console. That way, the selection of games available to you will keep expanding.

Remember to pay attention to age ratings when buying games for your kids.
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Can you surf the internet with a game console?

Yes, the majority of modern consoles offer an access to internet. As a matter of fact, several products in our selection are designed in part for online gaming, like the PlayStation 4. Video game consoles can be used in a vary similar way to tablets or smartphones once connected.

This connection gives you the ability to access new function and applications. It allows multiplayer gaming with players from all around the world. You can also subscribe to online services that give you access to exclusive content, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime.  This quick access to browsing the internet means it is important for you to monitor your children.

Shopping Criteria

The leading manufacturers in the video game console industry are constantly reinventing themselves to offer very the best platforms possible. This is great news for us, as it means that all consoles are top quality devices, each bringing a little something different to the table. The following section will introduce you to key aspects that you should take into account if you want to buy the console that’s just right for your needs:

  • Age of your child
  • Playing context
  • Game selection
  • Additional uses
  • Technical demands

Age of your child

The game selection is diverse; therefore, all consoles can truly be enjoyed by children, teenagers and adults alike. That said, certain characteristics makes different models tailored for more specific age groups.

Age group Needs Most appropriate consoles
Children (6-10 years of age) Fun and simple games designed for short periods of play. Flexibility of use and mobility. Strict parental control. Nintendo Switch
Preteens (9-12 years of age) More elaborate games, but still suitable for children. Consoles that allow family games. Xbox One S, PlayStation 4
Teenagers and adults More complex games, with captivating plots. Consoles with more powerful technical capabilities, tailored for avid players. Xbox One X, PlayStation 4, Super NES Classic Mini

Playing context

Leading console manufacturers are committed to flexibility and mobility . Your kid’s playing routine, as well as your own if it applies, should be considered when choosing the right console for your family.

Handheld models will become your best ally if you want to entertain your children during long trips. For versatility, you can opt for the recent hybrid console, the Switch; or you can stick to a purely portable device like the Nintendo 3DS.

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A home console like the PlayStation 4 is ideal if you’re looking for something that the whole family can enjoy.

Game selection

We’ve briefly discussed this earlier, but we want to emphasize: research well game selection of the consoles before settling for a specific model. It’s always good to have an idea of the genres or specific games that your child and your will be interested in playing. While the majority of games now have versions for each platform, there is a slight variation from one console to the next.

Home consoles that offer greater audiovisual power and capacity tend to have more intense games with more mature content: this is the case of PlayStation 4, for example. The Nintendo Switch, on the other hand, features a larger selection of games for younger children. Certain iconic games are also exclusive to specific consoles – the Mario games are only available on Nintendo devices.

Children, teens and adults can play all video game consoles.
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Additional uses

Your whole family will have endless hours of fun with a powerful console and a good selection of video games. Keep in mind that most consoles sold right now can provide other types of entertainment too. If you want everyone in your household to enjoy your new device, think about a console that is a true entertainment hub.

This will come in the form of various applications.  As we mentioned, you can watch your favorite series and movies on Netflix– both of which are at your disposal on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One X, for example. The Nintendo Switch is ideal for your child to watch their favorite videos on YouTube, which is especially handy while traveling.

Entertainment apps are available on both home and portable consoles.
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Technical demands

The console you’ll need to buy for your family will also be determined by the overall technical quality you want. It is recommended to opt for a powerful console like the Xbox One X or PS4 if you want top quality graphics. You’ll be able to reap all the benefits of your 4K TV or Blu-Ray movie collection.

On the other hand, if you’re only worried about game content or if your child and yourself are simply casual players, you can opt for simpler consoles. Older console versions like the PlayStation 3 are more affordable than the PlayStation 4 Pro, for example. With a similar game repertoire, the main difference will reside in the power and resolution they offer.

Summary

Video game consoles are no longer tailored just to gamers. Every family member can truly benefit from a quality console. Modern consoles are designed to be home entertainment devices.

Keep in mind the age of your child and the game genres available when you’re looking for a console for your household. This will help you protect your child and also enable you to make the right purchasing decision. All game consoles now feature parental control functions, so make sure you use them to determine what content your little one can have access to.

If you liked our guide on video game consoles, feel free to recommend this article on your social media, and leave us a comment in the section below!

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