There are six major video game consoles available at retailers right now; Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii, and Nintendo DS. It can be hard to choose which one is right for you. And after you add in the old consoles too, it makes the choice even more overwhelming. Don't worry too much though. Just ask yourself a few simple questions outlined below and you can easily decide which system is right for you. The points to consider are price, graphics, game selection, and other capabilities.
Price - Probably the single biggest factor for someone choosing a video game console is the price they have to pay to purchase the system itself. Prices range from $599 for the Playstation 3 down to $129 for the Nintendo DS. And if you really want to save money you can buy past generation consoles like Playstation, Nintendo 64, and Super Nintendo and spend no more than $20 for a used system. The prices for games should also be factored in when making your choice. PS3 and Xbox 360 games are usually $59.99 new, while Nintendo DS games sell for $29.99 new. Games for old systems are hard to find at regular retailers, but they are usually quite a bit cheaper if you buy them online.
Graphics - The graphics are always improving with the newer video game consoles, so the newer systems will always have the best graphics. The Xbox 360 and PS3 have the best graphics and can display in High Definition if you have a TV that can display it too. The Wii does not have the same graphical capabilities as the other two, though many casual gamers will not be disappointed. The PSP and DS have less graphical capabilities than the home consoles because they are portable. And the PSP can display graphics quite a bit better than the DS.
If you are considering older systems, each generation is roughly at the same level graphically no matter which system you choose. Playstation and Nintendo 64 are about the same, as are Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. But Nintendo 64 will be quite a bit better than Super Nintendo, which is better than original Nintendo.
Game Selection - The main reason you buy a system is for the games, so you have to be sure the games you want to play are on the system you choose. Some systems have very wide selections of games because they were so popular, like Playstation 2, Playstation, and Super Nintendo. With these systems you can almost always find a game in the genres you like. If you really like a particular series of games (Mario, Halo, Final Fantasy, etc) you need to be sure to pick the system that those games come out on. Mario games are only on Nintendo systems, N64, Gamecube, Wii, Nintendo DS, and Super Nintendo to name a few. Halo is only on Microsoft's systems, Xbox and Xbox 360. Meanwhile, Final Fantasy has changed systems. You will find old Final Fantasy games on Super Nintendo and Playstation, and the newer games only on Playstation 2.
Other Capabilities - Many systems have features unique to them that might be important to you or change game play dramatically. For example, Wii has motion-sensing controllers so all the games use movement to control the characters instead of a regular joystick. Likewise, the Nintendo DS has two screens, one being touch-sensitive, and is portable. If portability is important to you be sure to choose one of the portable systems PSP, Nintendo DS, Gameboy Advance, or Gameboy. If online play is an important feature, you should probably choose the Xbox or Xbox 360. They have the best online features.
After considering all these questions you just need to decide which are the most important to you and then choose the system that best fits that criteria. If you are on a tight budget but want a wide selection of games to play, you should choose Playstation or Super Nintendo. The systems and games are very cheap now and thousands of games were made for them. If you want the best graphics and online games, you should probably choose the Xbox 360. It has some of the best graphics and the best online setup.
Once you have weighted all these options you should be well on your way to choosing the best system for you. Now go buy it and start enjoying your gaming purchase.