First, a little background. I love video games. I love making video games and I love playing video games. I grew up with the Atari 2600, Commodore Vic-20, 64 and 128, various iterations of Windows, now Mac and iProducts. I am a fan of all Robotron-style games, an avid lover of Centipede, and I was the guy who could make it all the way through Jungle Hunt (or Jungle King, if you prefer that version).
These days, with many jobs, a wife and 2 small kids, my gaming is typically limited to the family-friendly variety. So, this review is really geared toward those in a similar situation, looking for the perfect family-friendly console to complement their entertainment setup. Though my wife and I enjoy playing fighting games like Tekken, and I personally enjoy first-person shooters, those are not the sorts of games that are happening in our home. Realistic violence is not what we're looking for right now, period.
So here goes...
Wii is awesome because anybody can play it. Whether you are entertaining a 2-year-old or a 72-year-old, everyone can enjoy the Wii. There are plenty of family-friendly games... in fact, the family-friendly selection eclipses the violent collection of games by far. The controllers are easy to use, and the motion control (accelerometer in the controller, basically) is tightly integrated into most games and really fun.
The graphics on Wii games tend to be a bit pixel-y. There's no HD on the current version, so the resolution is simply limited. Occasionally, excess light will get in the way of proper controls, and sometimes the pointing and aiming doesn't work too well. (We recently replaced our Wii after a few years of service, and we found that the new sensor worked MUCH better than the old sensor in this respect.)
PS3 has awesome graphics, HD display, familiar controllers. It has exclusives on games that are really special, like Little Big Planet. The PlayStation Network, though it has been "taken down" recently, is really the highlight of this system. The ability to play games with friends and family over the network, and to do it easily and without having to pay extra, really makes this system a gem. Wonderfully easy and accessible features like Netflix streaming video and YouTube tie the knot on this awesome system. The game selection includes family-friendly games as well as games with more realistic violence and all that... the selection really lends itself to any gamer's situation. AND... it's a freakin' Blu-Ray player! I love my PS3.
If you want the motion controller (PlayStation Move), you need to fork out the big bucks. I haven't tried it yet, and I probably won't because a) it's a lot of money, and b) the system is fun enough without it. But this is hardly a liability. I love my PS3.
Well, it has great graphics. It has some decent network integration, but only certain features are available without a paid subscription. It has the Kinect motion sensor where you are the controller, which is kinda cool for a little bit... but read on...
Kinect motion sensor, in my opinion, is an abysmal failure. I bought XBox 360 because of Kinect, and I'm insulted that Microsoft thought that it's ready for market. It's like selling me a prototype for top dollar and hoping that some day someone will come out with a game for it that actually works well enough to float the system. The fact that you have to pay extra for XBox Live Gold just so you can play with friends online is really lame, and the vast majority of the games are of the kill kill die die variety. It's too bad... and yet, they do sell a lot of these units, so I guess someone must like it.
And the winner is...
If you've read this far, I'm sure it will come as no surprise that, if I were stranded on a desert island with nothing but a big-screen HD TV, a Gamefly account (with a mailbox) and an internet connection, I'd want the PS3 by my side :) It's got the best selection of games, awesome graphics, beautiful integration of technologies... I love my PS3.
Just my opinions, I'm sure different folks will have some reasons to feel differently, so of course evaluate your own situation before your big console purchase. And there's that.