What’s the Best Game Console for Kids?
Originally written by Caroline Knorr and published on Common Sense Media
Looking for game consoles for kids? Whether you want portability, virtual reality, or family-friendly games, new game consoles offer a range of options to suit your needs.
If your kids are at the age where you’re considering buying a game console, now might be the right time. Whether you want the immersive virtual reality of the Sony PlayStation or the portability of the Nintendo Switch, today’s consoles offer more realism, interactivity, and flexibility than ever before. The question still remains: Which console is best for your family’s needs?
Best for Families with Young Kids: Nintendo Switch
With such games as Super Mario Party, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, Octopath Traveler, or Mario Tennis Aces (don’t forget the tennis rackets!), as well as cool activity packs, such as the Labo Customization Kit, Nintendo maintains its position as the best option for families to use together. The Switch works both as a stationary console that plugs into your TV and a portable gaming device with two built-in controllers and a touchscreen. While the Switch does offer its share of mature games, the console includes parental controls so you can help your kids regulate their use. Check out the Best Nintendo Switch Games for Kids.
Best for Tweens and Families: Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PS3
Both of these are older platforms, but there are plenty of games for them (although not necessarily the latest and greatest). Plus, you can find used and discounted models your kids can practice on before you invest in pricier, newer consoles.
For families with a mixed age range of kids, the 360 or PS3 may be better choices than newer, more advanced machines, such as the Xbox One or PS4, as it’ll give your younger kids some good options while keeping your older ones entertained. Of course, such violent games as Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty Black Ops 3 (Xbox 360 | PS3), and Resident Evil are available for each, but so are such family-friendly titles as Lego Dimensions and FIFA 17.
Here are some of our favorite games for families.
Best for Tweens, Teens, and Serious Gamers: Microsoft Xbox One S, Xbox One X, Sony PlayStation 4, Sony PlayStation Pro
If your kids are really passionate about games, then these machines are the best — if not the only — choices. Keep in mind that, though there are plenty of games for each console designed for tweens and younger, the vast majority of Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 games are intense and mature.
Sony has the edge for serious gamer families with its PlayStation VR headset (check out this bundle) designed to work with the PS4 and PS4 Pro. PSVR provides a totally immersive, virtual reality game experience.
Xbox One S is a better choice for families who already own a lot of Xbox games, as it will play some Xbox 360 titles.
For more game suggestions, take a look at some of our lists (Thought-Provoking and Nonviolent Games for Tweens and Teens, Nonviolent Games for PS4, Nonviolent Games for Xbox One, and the best video games for teens).
Have personal experience with kids and any of these games or consoles? Let us know on Facebook! We’d love to hear from you! And don’t forget to SHARE this helpful info with other parents trying to find the best game consoles for kids!
Spine Media has an affiliate partnership with Amazon so we may get a share of the revenue when you purchase through our website.
Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsense.org and sign up for our newsletter to read more articles like this.