• Type of games played
• Number and variability of games
• Controller types
• Media playing and storage
• Web enabled content
• Exclusivity of titles
• Backwards compatibility
• Social and online options
• Number of controllers / players
So what will it be - Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, something else? Or are you more of a casual gamer and just want to bring it out when friends are over? It's plain to see that there is no “go to” video game console for everyone; there are simply too many options to consider one clearly superior over the other in all circumstances. The important thing when making the decision to buy a game platform is that you should think about exactly what you're going to use it for, and who will be playing.
An incredibly important aspect to think about when making a purchase is what sort of games you want to play. There are specific games that are only available on certain platforms, and if you want to play any of them you need to be aware of this in advance. For example, if you're a fan of first person shooters your best bet will be the Xbox One according to most players. The ever-famous Halo series is only playable on an Xbox - it simply is not available elsewhere. The RPG ‘Fable’ is another example of an Xbox exclusive game. The PlayStation 4 houses many stand-alone games if you prefer these instead of series, with the exception of the Final Fantasy legacy and a few others. Downloadable content will range between all the consoles, but it will always exist and be a component on some level. Some game developers will produce for all platforms, however offer more DC packs for a specific game store which can vastly change the overall life and playability of a game.
With similar graphics engines on both the Xbox and PlayStation, it truly boils down to what sort of gamer you are. PlayStation users tend to be broad players who dabble in a little bit of everything, while Xbox users prefer an action based combat oriented experience. Wii fans are usually light-hearted more casual gamers, and just want to have fun without getting too intense.
One of the pressing concerns occupying more and more of the decision process is online playtime. A console like the Xbox One offers a wide variety of online games, however to actually get online in the 1st place you will need to pay a subscription fee. The PlayStation 4 also offers some online game play, although not as immense, and there is no subscription requirement to play it online. The same goes for the Wii U.
The current gaming systems that are out are mostly similar in price. They essentially all offer similar extra qualities aside from gaming like streaming video, an in-game store, social components, etc. There are few requirements aside from online passes, an HD TV, and some free time. Personal preference will be your guide towards choosing the right system for you and your family.