Which Video Game Console is Best for Young Kids?

Updated on August 23, 2016
Chadwick G profile image

Chad started playing video games in the arcades in the 80's and is still at it.

Video games are a fun pastime for kids, but with all the choices out there it can be difficult to know which video game console to buy that will provide games that are appropriate for kids. For purposes of this article, I am going to be recommending systems for kids between the ages of 6 to 12. This article does not include hand-held gaming systems.

Nintendo Wii-U:

Nintendo, a family favorite for gaming since the 1980's, does a great job of providing games that are safe for all ages. The Wii-U prices in at $299.99 for the system, one game, and one Wii U Game Pad. The game that comes with the system depends on what bundles are currently being sold.

Pros:

  • With some shopping around, the Wii-U can generally be found cheaper than other consoles.

  • Almost all Wii-U games are family friendly.

  • Wii-U can play old Nintendo Wii games.

  • There is online play with some games, but Nintendo limits communication to in-game so that your children won't be exposed to profanity.

Cons:

  • The least powerful console

  • Some Wii-U games require the purchase of a Wii Motion Plus Accessory or a Wii Remote Plus Controller

  • Smallest game library. The games that Nintendo does make are gems but there aren't a lot of them in comparison to some systems.


Xbox One:

This system is the successor of the Xbox 360 from the last generation. There are a variety of Xbox One console bundles that can be purchased. The cheapest is $250 for an Xbox One with a 500GB* hard drive, controller, and a choice of one game from a limited selection of older titles. Newer bundles can go as high as $399 for a bundle with a larger hard drive and a newer game.

* - (If you need a quick lesson on hard drive space, bigger is always better. Some games require hard drive space and not having enough means your child has to pick and choose what games to play at a certain time).

Pros:

  • Large library of game genres to pick from.

  • System is more powerful than the Wii-U and on par with the Playstation 4.

  • Generally considered by gamers to have the best online gaming of all the consoles.


Cons:

  • Limited selection of kids games.

  • Many games focus on online play, which can expose your children to words and concepts you probably don't want them to know about.

  • Requires an additional online subscription to play games online and access other features. Normally around $40 for a year.

Recommendation:

The relatively small selection of kids games means this isn't the best choice for younger kids (ages 6 to 10). If your kids are older than that, the Xbox One is worth considering. They can enjoy the kids games now and in a few years start playing the games for older kids that are already available for the Xbox One.


Playstation 4:

The Playstation 4 and Xbox One share many similarities. Looking online it's almost impossible to buy the system without it being in a bundle. The average bundle prices are $350 for the console, one controller, and one new game from a selection of new titles.

Pros:

  • More system-exclusive games than Xbox One (i.e. more games that you can only play on the Playstation 4).

  • System is more powerful than the Wii-U and on par with the Xbox One.

  • Easiest of the 3 consoles to also use as a media player.

Cons:

  • Limited selection of kids games.

  • Many games focus on online play which can expose your children to words and concepts you probably don't want them to know about.

  • This console also requires an additional online subscription to play games online and access other features. Normally around $40 for a year.

Recommendation:

This system shares the same recommendation as the Xbox One. It's not the best for young kids, but it's a good console for kids to grow into if they are over the age of ten.

Final Recommendations:

For kids in the age range of 6 to 10, the Wii-U is the hands down winner. It's family friendly and has a slightly lower price point. This is a console you can give to your kids and not worry about it exposing them to inappropriate content. If you have an older child and worry that the Wii-U might not hold their interest, than either Xbox One or Playstation 4 are good choices. They are so similar that the deciding factor of which console to get should be your kid's input. Ask them what games they would like to play and see if there is one console that has more of the games they want.

This will be your kid when you pick the right console!

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Kevin 

        20 months ago

        Nice article. Thank you.

      • CYong74 profile image

        Kuan Leong Yong 

        23 months ago from Singapore

        You're right. Most articles I ever read puts Wii as the best for kids. Nintendo obvious knows they have this advantage and promotes it heavily.

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