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Black Friday 2012 is less than five days away, and gamers are no different than soccer moms and couponers when it comes to seeking the best video game deals - unless you count the technical research involved in choosing the best new consoles for the current season.
Xbox 360This year's Black Friday Video Game Deals are pretty tame for Microsoft's Xbox 360 hardware -the new slim console with 4GB of memory (and a free headset) is only $169 at Radio Shack's Black Friday event, and although it's not brand-spanking-new, this would be a great opportunity to upgrade from the original 360 if you've still got one. It will play all the same games, the casing and power brick respectively are each about an inch smaller than the old system, and whatever saved games you have on your old hard drive are transferrable with the purchase of a $10 memory transfer cable. Slim also has built-in Wi-Fi and more USB inputs than the old system. Overall, it's easy on the bank account and virtually eliminates the frustration of seeing that red ring of death ever again.
Xbox 360 bundlesThis year's holiday console bundles come with the Xbox 360 S (slim) and while Best Buy is offering it with 250GB for $199, Sam's Club and Meijer have the 4 GB bundle with Kinect for the same price, $199! Xbox has always been a great system for families with kids, and Walmart has the 4 GB bundle with Skylanders this year for even cheaper- $149. Combine that with Microsoft's Xbox Live Gold Family Pack (FOUR Gold Live accounts for one year, just $99 total), and you've got a full year of online interactivity for the whole family.
PS3Sony has a lot of good deals on games for the PlayStation 3 this year, and the bundle with 160GB of memory is comparable in price to the Xbox at $199 from Walmart, for its holiday bundle. It comes with two games, and... that's about it. Considering last week's announcement from Sony that they've sold 70 million consoles since the PS3 was released, they may not necessarily need to improve the platform just yet. Best Buy and Meijer have the 250GB holiday bundle listed for $199 this Black Friday, and at Sam's Club you can pay a little extra ($249) for the two controllers to be included.
Wii UThe real excitement for this year's game enthusiasts is in the new Wii U and its newfangled GamePad controller with an LCD touch screen interface, removable/rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack, motion detector, front-facing camera, stereo speakers, microphone, stylus and a built-in universal TV remote. That may be a full plate of mouthwatering new high-tech features, but if Nintendo's past holiday releases are any indication -the Wii U may make for an elusive deal-hunter's quarry. The Wii U deluxe bundle comes with the console and GamePad controller, just like the basic bundle, but also includes the closest thing we can find to a holiday special -the Deluxe Digital Promotion. Expected to begin in December, for a limited time only, the promo gives Wii U deluxe buyers 10% back in points for any purchases made online or retailer codes used after November 18th through December of 2014! Points can be spent on downloads and online content through the online marketplace. Wii U was released Sunday, November 18th, and while Black Friday specific prices have yet to be seen for the console itself, Wii U's release does mean good things for anyone interested in owning it's predecessor -the Wii. Wii systems are available this Black Friday for as low as $89 at Sam's Club or $129 for the system plus two games at Toys R Us.
OuyaThere is one more contender for this year's game console market, but it isn't coming from any of the big three named above -and it won't be coming to your house until April of 2013 if you order it now. It is, however, going to be shaking things up for the gaming industry at a jaw-dropping $99, available for pre-order at their website only. If Android's mobile application ambitions were a challenge to Apple's dominance in that market, the new Android-based console gaming system Ouya may turn out to be just as interesting. Aside from the openness and affordability of Ouya's developer kits, the console is alleged to offer all games free-to-play with paid content or consumables to produce profits. It's too early to guess whether or not the system will take off like current offerings from Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft -but if it's Kickstarter (more than $8.5 million dollars raised) is any indication, 2013 will continue to be an interesting year for gamers everywhere.
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