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Christmas 2014 Gift Guide: Games consoles

We bring you a quick look at the best games consoles available this year.

Xbox and PlayStation

There’s less than a month left until Christmas Day so we imagine you’re already thinking of what gifts to buy for family and friends.

If you’re stuck for Christmas gift ideas for a gaming fan this year then you might want to consider treating them to a new games console.

We’ve put together this list of the various consoles that you should be considering. Stay tuned to EF for games gift guides for each of the systems below.

Microsoft Xbox One

Xbox One

It’s been a tough first year for the Xbox One but Microsoft’s successor to the Xbox 360 is quickly gaining ground on the PS4. The console has seen some price drops over the past year and the Kinect 2.0 is now optional. In addition to the big cross-platform games the Xbox One has a very strong line-up of exclusive titles. However be aware it isn’t backwards compatible with Xbox 360 games. The system has strong entertainment support including built-in Blu-ray, integration with your TV set-top box and most of the big TV apps are now available too. Expect to pay around £320 for the console, £60 more with Kinect 2.0, and £20-£45 for the games. It’s definitely worth picking up a console bundled with a couple of games. Additional controllers will set you back around £35 each. Xbox One remains our pick of the consoles this year.

Sony PlayStation 4

PS4

The Sony PlayStation 4 has had a better first year than the Xbox One and also seen many improvements. It has its share of exclusive titles but we feel it’s a little lacking compared to the strong line-up of the Xbox One. The Remote Play feature that allows you to stream games to a PS Vita remains a favourite feature. Expect to pay around £320 for the console with the games costing £20-£45 each. It’s well worth checking out the excellent PlayStation Plus subscription service which gives free games monthly. The optional camera will set you back £40 with additional controllers around £50 each.

Nintendo Wii U

Wii U

The successor to the Nintendo Wii has been around now for over two years and is finally finding its feet. This year we’ve started to see a much stronger line-up of games as Nintendo has started to roll out its biggest names. It’s the best choice for younger gamers and the Wii U Gamepad controller lets you play without needing to takeover the TV. It’s also fully backwards compatible with the Nintendo Wii allowing you to keep your Wii game library. The basic Wii U model starts at around £170 with the 32GB Premium Pack coming in around £240 with a game. Expect to pay between £20-£40 for the games.

Microsoft Xbox 360

New Xbox 360

The Xbox 360 was the top console of the previous generation and is expected to be around for a couple more years yet. We’re starting to see a shift of the big games to the Xbox One and PS4 but if you’re on a tighter budget or not ready for next-gen gaming just yet then it’s a fantastic choice. There’s an absolutely massive library of games available for all ages. New titles can still set you back £35 but there are plenty of cheap games to be had for as little as £5. If you don’t mind going second hand you can even pickup games for just a few pounds each. The latest 360 model has been given an Xbox One makeover and will set you back around £180. We’d recommend going for the 250 or 500GB hard drive version over the 4GB one as they give far more space. You might also want to consider a bundle with Kinect for another £50.

Sony PlayStation 3

PS3

Like the Xbox 360 the PlayStation 3 remains a brilliant choice and has plenty of life left in it yet. It’s far cheaper than the PlayStation 4 and there’s an enormous library of games on offer to suit gamers of all ages. You can grab the 12GB version for around £150 but we’d strongly recommend the 500GB version which can be found for under £200.

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