Games consoles: what are the main gaming contenders?

  • 23 January 2013
A PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Wii and an Xbox 360

Gaming and games consoles are a huge business, making console and games producers millions every year. So who are the industry's big players?

The big three console companies are Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.

Microsoft: Xbox 360 & Kinect

Microsoft are the guys behind the Xbox 360 and Kinect.

The Kinect for Xbox 360 was released in 2010 and was the first modern console that allowed you to play without any controllers - you just move your body around.

You can play against other gamers online using Xbox LIVE but you have to pay a membership fee.

Sony: PlayStation, PSP, Vita

Sony make the PlayStation 3 and the handheld PlayStation Vita.

PlayStation Move allows gamers to play with wireless controllers, like the Nintendo Wii.

The PlayStation Network allows you to play online games, chat to friends and surf the web.

The handheld PlayStation Vita has a touchscreen on the front and a touchpad controller on the back. It was released in the UK in February 2012.

Rumours are now flying around the internet that the new PlayStation console, the PS4, will be called Orbis and may be released at the end of 2013.

Read more: PlayStation 4 'Orbis' rumours

Nintendo: Wii, DS, 3DS, Wii U

Nintendo are the brains who brought us the Wii, the DS and the Wii U.

The Wii U is Nintendo's first console to output crisp HD graphics and has a unique touchscreen controller with its own screen.

Most people say that it's pretty simple to use, so it's good for gaming beginners!

The 3DS was the first handheld console to let gamers play in 3D without needing to wear special glasses.