Parent's Guide To Buying Games & Consoles

Parent’s Guide To Buying Games & Consoles

Understanding game consoles, how they work and which one is best can be tough. And then there’s working out which games are suitable, and whether online safety is a priority. At JB Hi-Fi we can take you through all that, and much more.

What are gaming consoles and how do they work?
The best place to start with gaming consoles is at the beginning. There are three main brands of consoles – Xbox (Microsoft), PlayStation (Sony) and Nintendo. JB Hi-Fi has them all, including the huge range of games and accessories that can be added to them. PlayStation and Xbox are similar, in that when you buy them you get the console itself and usually one, sometimes more, controllers. You’ll need to connect them into a TV or computer monitor, which is done the usual way. Nintendo consoles can be a bit more flexible, and can be connected to either a TV, or come with a smaller portable screen, which means they can be taken anywhere.

What are the differences between the consoles?
PlayStation and Xbox are top of the pile when it comes to both popularity and power, and therefore are attractive to a wide range of people. They have games for most ages, including younger children. Their sports games are family friendly and can be used by kids of most ages. No matter which console you choose, there are a lot of M or R-rated games on the market, which include things such as violence or coarse language. All games have to, by law, be clearly classified, which makes finding suitable ones easy.

Nintendo can be a great console for younger children. They tend to have a larger range of family-friendly games, as well as ones for older kids. With evergreen classics like the Mario Brothers and Pokémon, they can be a great place to start for a younger child who has been pestering you to buy their first game console. Nintendo consoles are also portable and can be taken in the car, or on holidays, with little fuss. They also come with more compact versions that can almost fit in a pocket.

What should you ask before choosing the right console?
One of the first questions to ask is what kind of console, and games, would suit your child, given their age and interests. Ask their friends about what games, and what consoles, they have. Kids like to connect and play against each other online, so having the same kind of console is important. Speaking of online, a lot of parents have a lot of questions about online safety and the suitability of games. When it comes to the games, check the classifications. The eSafety Commissioner explains the classifications and the differences at each level.

There are a lot of shoot-‘em-up games available that can be quite violent, and there are plenty around that include coarse language. As we mentioned before, the classifications can be clear, so making sure they buy, and play, suitable games can be easy. You can also set parental controls on what kinds of games they can download, which can give you that extra peace of mind. All major game and console companies understand the dangers of multiple-player online games, especially when it comes to kids. Parents can’t be everywhere, but you can monitor what they are playing and who they are playing it with. You can monitor what they play, sometimes from a separate app, which is one way to keep an eye on things, and the companies themselves have strict policies around online conduct. They will ban or suspend players for inappropriate behavior, so it can be a good thing to encourage your child to report anything they don’t like.

Most online multiplayer games also make it easy to play with people you know or to choose those you have played with before, adding that extra level of security. Most parents are also keen to ask how long their children should play on the consoles. You can set time limits with new consoles, and you can restrict access based on a number of things, including age. But, don’t be afraid to ask these questions, or any others, of our in-store staff. They can answer them for you, or show you where to go to find out more.

What games and accessories do I need?
Setting up a console may not be just as simple as walking into a JB store, picking one off the shelf, grabbing a game, and going home to set it all up. If more than one person is likely to play at one time, you may need an extra controller. It can also be good to have a third one handy in case friends drop by. Depending on which console you choose, you may need docking stations, which recharge the controls when they’re not being used. There can be a heap of different kinds of controls for each console, including special edition ones, and you can even buy extras such as steering wheels for relevant games. Then there is the massive range of headphones, the carry cases, and a heap of different kinds of cables that give you extra flexibility. There are even upgraded controllers, special gaming seats, and a whole range of keyboards and mice.

Game add-ons are also an important part of modern gaming. As well as downloading whole games, you can download special in-game extras that can unlock new features or, for example, give soccer players extra skills and abilities. Check them all out to get an idea of the kinds of things we are talking about. We also have a heap of exclusive gear and great prices on big sellers.

Setting up your games console.
Imagine…it’s Christmas morning and under the tree is a new console. Oliver and Sophie come racing into the room, see the square package, and fight over who will open it. They see a brand new games console, two controllers, and a collection of games. The first thing they want to do is play the new Lego game and…the console needs a software update. DOH!

To ensure that the kids can play the console on Christmas Day, you need to set it up and ensure that the software is updated, games downloaded, and controllers charged. You may also want to set up parental controls to limit the games your children can play. We recommend that you give yourself at least 24 hours to ensure that all these activities can take place. The time needed will depend on your technical expertise and the speed of your WiFi.

Console Controllers Games
Nintendo Switch
Nintendo 3DS
One – playing by oneself
Two – playing on a couch
Three – group playing together
Sport (e.g. FIFA, AFL, NBA)
World building (e.g. Minecraft, The Sims)
Action & adventure (e.g. Mario Bros, LEGO)
Shooter (e.g. Call of Duty, Star Wars Battlefront)
Role-Playing (e.g. The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy)


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