So, Game Informer recently posted an article stating how much buying game consoles are really costing you. While it is a noble effort they totally screwed up. They assume with every new console you buy you are going to buy a matching TV. F-That. Here's how I feel it should look. To start off with we are going to do a couple things differently...after the break.
Now the interesting thing is they list MSRP for every thing. Of course as gamers we know not to pay top price for game consoles, accessories, and games as the price of these things falls so rapidly. In fact we've all seen a game we really wanted be 60 dollars one day, but then not even a month later drop to 39.99. It happens. So let's compare. Here's the original article from Game Informer if you want to compare results [source]. So let's start with TV's.


So Game Informer recommends these TV's
  • 3D TV: Sony BRAVIA 46”, 1080p, 3D LED-LCD HDTV $2,500
  • Sony BRAVIA 46”, 1080P, LCD HDTV $1,000
  • Sony BRAVIA 32”, 720P, LCD HDTV $450
So these are pretty top of the line TV's for the purpose they are giving. A lot of gamers will buy multiple systems. So really, the need for all these TVs are negated, and yes I understand they are under the assumption that this is for people who are just buying one system and want the TV to best match it. But honestly, what if you buy a Wii, and decide to buy a Xbox 360 later? The one they recommend for the Wii would give you less than stellar performance for that machine. So in my opinion it's better to buy a TV that satisfies the need for all three systems without going overboard. For that I recommend..
32" LCD Vizio HDTV(Model E320VL). It's got tons of features and is in the $299-$350 price range, and gives you 1080p, and SRS TruSurround sound. With this you will get every thing you need to satisfy all the needs for all three consoles (minus 3D...but who knows how long 3D will truly be viable at this point.)
You can see all the details here [source]

Xbox 360

So here's what Game Informer originally posted as what they thought you would need:

Console: Xbox 360 S (250 GB, includes wireless controller, composite AV cable, one month Xbox Live Gold membership, headset): $300

HDMI Cable: $10
HDTV: Sony BRAVIA 46”, 1080P, LCD HDTV $1,000
Extra wireless controller: $50
Controller batteries: Duracell Value Charger With 4AA Pre-Charged Batteries $17
Game: $60

Estimated Total: $1,137 + console = $1,437

Motion Control (2-Players)
Kinect (includes Kinect Adventures): $150

Estimated Total: $150

Grand Total: $1,587

Xbox Live Gold account ($60/year; $25/3 months; $10/1 month) [Silver is free, but limits online activity]

While some of this is true, we've already eliminated the TV from the mix. So that will bring the overall price down by 1,000. So here's the revised list.

Console: Xbox 360 S with 250GB hard drive, wireless controller, composite AV cables, headset, and one month of Xbox live. ($300)...Also keep in mind that Microsoft regularly runs specials where they'll come out with a limited edition packed with a certain game, or even a value pack packed with two different games (such as the Halo 3/Forza combo pack or the family packs that have Lego Indiana Jones/Kung Fu Panda for instance)

  • HDMI Cables ($3): Seriously. Don't buy this from a brick and mortar store. You can go to Amazon and get HDMI cables for $2-3 max.
  • Extra Controller ($50): No getting around this one if you want the official wireless controller. There are other controllers out there that are third party, but I highly recommend sticking with the official. It's one of the best on the market.
  • Controller Batteries: Now here's where my decision will be different. They want you to get a Duracell battery value charger, which surprisingly is the only value they really provide in the whole article. However, I HIGHLY recommend getting an official rechargeable battery + charger. It's known as the Play and Charge Kit through Microsoft and it's about $20. 
  • Game: Since they are talking about Gears of War, I just want you to know that if you pay $60 for Gears of War today you are not a smart shopper. Instead pick up the Gears of War Triple Pack for ($29.99). It has Gears of War, Gears of War 2, and the Gears of War 2 All Fronts Collection.
Estimated Total: $103 + Console = $403

Motion Controller: If you want to get in on the cutting edge of Xbox 360 gaming you'll want a Kinect. It's their new foray into Motion Sensing Gaming and it's pretty legit. (I'll do a review later) That will set you back ($150). It does however also come with Kinect Adventures, so you'll have a game right from the go.

Online Service: This is where Microsoft is slightly different than the rest. They have two versions of their service. Xbox Live Free which allows you to download things from the Live Marketplace, as well as chat with friends. However, to play games online you need to upgrade to Xbox Live Gold which runs about $60 a year. However, they are always having deals, and if you catch it at the right time you can get it for about $45 at the time of this writing.

Final Cost: Console + Extras + Motion Controller + Online Service =$613
So this is less than half what Game Informer thought you should spend on the Xbox 360, and even then it's about the price of a typical PC.

Playstation 3

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