Video game consoles are the perfect entertainment for children, teens and adults alike. Indeed, a good console doesn’t simply allow you to to play an incredible variety of games: it will also become a true entertainment hub for your whole family. The Australian market currently has excellent products from the major console manufacturers.

Now is the right time to invest in a video game console for your home. Each new model is more advanced, allowing you to connect to the internet and designed for higher quality games. Playing is more immersive, adaptable, interactive and realistic than ever before. We’ve designed the following guide to help you choose the console that best suits 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 profit of the parental control functions available on these platforms.

Ranking: The best game consoles on the Australian market

In the following section, you’ll discover our selection of the best game consoles available on the Australian market right now. We’ll 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

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Launched in early 2017, the Nintendo Switch hybrid console has absolutely revolutionised the console market, and this is why it tops our ranking. It offers the capabilities of a home console, but is mobile like a handheld console. You can easily switch from one style to the other and enjoy different forms of play. Your child can therefore use it at home with friends or family, and take it everywhere for on-the-go playing.

The selection of games featured on the Nintendo Switch has something for every member of the family. The system’s detachable controls and excellent motion detection allow your children to play actively. You’ll have access to some of the most classic video game series like The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros, with new versions designed specifically for the Nintendo Switch.

No. 2: Playstation 4 Pro (PS4)

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This is the latest version of one of the most popular consoles in the history of video games: the PlayStation 4. After more than a decade on the market, the selection of games available for the PS4 is absolutely incredible. You can find any genre, from children’s educational games to adventure, horror or sports simulators. Its subscription program will satisfy even the most demanding players.

While it remains a home console, it stands out for the mobility of its gameplay. You won’t be able to move the console around, but its Remote Use feature allows you to move to other screens throughout your home. It can connect to other TVs, to your computer – either PC or Mac – or to a PlayStation Vita, the brand’s handheld console. Certain games are even compatible with virtual reality goggles.

No. 3: Super Nintendo – Consola SUPER NES Classic Mini

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We’re ready to bet this console will fire up parents more than children. This is a mini version of the all-time classic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), released in the early 80s. It allows nostalgic players – you parents – to enjoy games from their childhood or teenage years. It comes with 21 pre-installed games, which include the great Nintendo titles such as Super Mario Kart, Final Fantasy III, The Legend of Zelda and much more.

Mini retro consoles are very much on-trend. Sony released a version of the classic PlayStation at the end of 2018, and SEGA has announced a mini version of the Genesis for September 2019. Despite its incredible success worldwide, Nintendo announced in November of last year that production had stopped. This is why it’s about time for you to get your hands on this console before it goes missing from the market. And yes, your children will love the games you enjoyed during your childhood too!

No. 4: New Nintendo 3DS XL

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Another product of the Japanese giant Nintendo, this console is the fourth generation of the 3DS family, one of the most popular handheld console series in the world. It features a larger screen for more comfortable playing, and the game repertoire is huge and naturally includes Nintendo classics. The great thing is that you also have access to other apps, such as YouTube or even Netflix.

Past customers have absolutely loved this handheld console, some going as far as saying that it might just be the greatest ever. We’ll let your children and yourself be the judges of that, but one thing’s for sure: your family has hours of gaming ahead, and it’s a great companion for all your trips and outings. Available in metallic black or blue.

No. 5: Xbox One X

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Last but not least, here comes the Xbox One X. It is the Microsoft equivalent of Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro, and it
is ideal for those looking for more than a simple video game console. From the very beginning, it was developed with the idea of turning it into an entertainment centre for the whole family. The console provides access to different applications that have become indispensable, such as Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video.

The latest version of Microsoft’s console stands out for the audiovisual and graphic quality it brings to games and movies. You’ll particularly notice this when playing games created for 4K resolution. It comes with one remote control, and the game repertoire on the Microsoft Store is basically endless, which means you’ll find something to please your children and yourself.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about game consoles

Whether you’ve never had your own game console at home or you’re an avid player, buying this products always requires time and much analysing. Most parents have many questions regarding which console is most adapted for their children. In the next section, we’ve answered some of the most common ones 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 authorise 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 absolutely outstanding. 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?

Opinions diverge regarding the minimum age required to play video games. Throughout childhood and adolescence, it is very important to always prioritise 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?

The preconceptions regarding video games are now a thing of the past. As we said before, playing outside should always be the priority, but 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?

Your personal needs will ultimately determine this. 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.

As you can imagine, older consoles are necessarily more affordable. However, you have to take into account that manufacturers eventually stop producing games compatible with them. If you want your child and yourself to be able 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. First of all, 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. As you can imagine, 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 on the market is incredibly diverse; therefore, all consoles can truly be enjoyed by children, teenagers and adults alike. That being said, certain characteristics and the predominant video game genres of each console 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

The place and time when your child will play is naturally a key factor in your decision. As we mentioned before, leading console manufacturers are indeed committed to flexibility and mobility, but it is true that there is still a fairly clear division between home and portable devices. 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 emphasise on it: have a look at the 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 yourself 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. But you should also 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, which are available on both home and portable consoles. As we said earlier, you can watch your favourite series and movies on Netflix, or listen to music on Spotify – 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 favourite videos on YouTube, which is particularly handy during travelling.

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

Nowadays, video game consoles are no longer tailored to avid players only. Every family member can truly benefit from a quality console, as they now offer many features for all ages. 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 kid while making 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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