What is the Best Video Game Console for Families?

What is the Best Video Game Console for Families?Unless they were a gamer themselves, it is doubtful that very many parents have ever said, “What this family really needs is a video game system.” But even if you have never uttered those words your kids probably have. So what video game console is best for families the Playstation 4, Xbox One, or the Nintendo Switch console?

All 3 video game systems are great, but unless you have your heart set on a certain video game title that is only available for a specific console you have a decision to make when it comes to what is best for your family. We feel that the Nintendo Switch is the easy winner when it comes to best video game console for families. So let’s tell you why.

Family Friendly Games

If you look around for video games for the various systems you will notice that there are a ton of family friendly games for the Nintendo Switch. That is not to say that the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 don’t have family friendly games, but most of those games are also on the Nintendo Switch. One example would be the Lego video games, which appear on all 3 consoles.

Where the Nintendo Switch gets a leg up is with its own exclusive games. There are a multitude of E and E 10+rated games for the whole family including Super Mario Odyssey, ARMS, 1-2-Switch, Pokken Tournament DX, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and lets not forget Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Splatoon 2.

Nintendo currently the following Switch Console Options/Bundles:

  1. Nintendo Switch – Neon Blue and Red Joy-Con
  2. Nintendo Switch – Gray Joy-Con
  3. Nintendo Switch – Super Mario Odyssey Edition
  4. Nintendo Switch – Splatoon 2 with Neon Green/Neon Pink Joy-Cons

Split Screen & Co-op Games

A result of the differences between the the games that are available for each console you will find that there are fewer family friendly games that are split screen or co-op where 2 or more people can play at the same time.

While some of these games exist for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, you will notice the a much larger number of the popular games for these systems will require you to play online if you want to play with a friend or family member.

3 Modes/Ways to Play

Wii U GamePad

Wii U GamePad

When compared to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 the Nintendo Switch is the clear-cut leader in terms of portability and flexibility in how you can play games. The Wii U which, was the predecessor to the Switch, had it’s game pad, which reminded a lot of people of a tablet, but you couldn’t take the game pad on the road to play games unless you brought the Wii U console along to. In other words, the game pad was simply an accessory to the console. It wasn’t the console.

With the Switch Nintendo has taken the concept of the GamePad it had with the Wii U to the next level. With the Nintendo Switch the beefed up looking tablet isn’t an accessory to the console IT IS THE CONSOLE.  While at first glance the Nintendo Switch might seem like a glorified tablet this powerful little console offers versatility that the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 simply cannot match.

With the Nintendo Switch you no have 3 ways to play.

TV Mode

If you want to play video games on your television all you need to do is place the console (the part that looks like a tablet) into the charging dock and it can connect to your TV. This is the way most people think of playing with their video game consoles, but with the Nintendo Switch you can do so much more.

Handheld Mode

Nintendo Switch in handheld mode

Many families will have their video game console set up on the television in their family room. So what happens if the parents want to watch television and one of the kids wants to play a video game? Thankfully the Nintendo Switch has you covered if this happens at your house.

All you need to do is to remove the console from the dock and attach the Joy-Cons (controllers) and you have a handheld gaming system. With its’ battery life of over 6 hours, a 6.2 inch high definition screen, speakers, and headphone jack the Switch doesn’t take a step backward just because you are playing it in handheld mode.

In fact

Tabletop Mode

Nintendo Switch in tabletop mode

In addition to the handheld mode there is the tabletop mode. Using the Switch in tabletop mode is very easy to do. First, you disconnect the joy-cons (controllers) from the sides of the console. Next you use the integrated kickstand to prop the console up in an upright position on a tabletop. you can disconnect the joy-cons from the console.

The handheld mode is great so why would a person want to switch to tabletop mode?

Handheld mode is terrific if you are the only person playing or watching the screen. However, if someone else wants to see the screen or if you want to play a multiplayer or split-screen game being able to prop the Switch up on its’ kickstand so everyone will be able to see the screen is the way to go.

You might think that a person should just play in TV mode if they want to play multiplayer or split-screen games, but the Switch was made with portability in mind. With that said, Nintendo wanted to design the switch to allow the users to be able to play theses games when they are not at home.

Connecting Multiple Consoles – Welcome to the Party

Another exciting thing you can do with the Nintendo Switch is connect multiple consoles to play a game together with your friends. Depending on the game being played you can connect as many as 10 consoles together with 1 or more person being able to play on each console. One thing to note is that each console you want to connect needs to have its’ own copy of the game you want to play together.

Here is an example of two consoles being connected to play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe together.

What About Streaming Video?

The Nintendo Switch was designed to first and foremost be a gaming console. When it was launched it did not support streaming video services like Netflix or Hulu.

The Xbox One, PlayStation 4 as well as previous Nintendo consoles the Wii and Wii U supported streaming video services. So it felt like a big deal to learn that the Switch didn’t support streaming services – especially given its’ portability. For example, with the Wii U if mom and dad wanted to watch one show and one of the kids wanted to watch something on Netflix all kid needed to do was take the Wii U GamePad and they could watch Netflix while the rest of the family got to watch what the wanted as well.

However, upon closer examination the Switch’s inability to support streaming video services didn’t really seem like that big of a deal.  Most homes have either a smart television or a smart DVD or Blu-ray player to access these services. Plus, you can also access these streaming services on smartphones, computers, and tablets. So it isn’t as if people won’t be able to access these services another way if the Switch doesn’t support them.

That being said, Nintendo recognized that some people have expressed disappointment that the Switch doesn’t currently support these streaming services. In late 2017 Nintendo added support for Hulu so hopefully the ability to stream Netflix and other streaming services isn’t far behind.


So if you are looking for a video game console that promotes the family playing games together and helps eliminate disputes over the television the Nintendo Switch is the hands down choice for you and your family. You can click here to learn which Nintendo Switch console is best for you.

Here are some popular Nintendo Switch console options. Two of these options are bundles that include one or more free games:

Nintendo Switch - Gray Joy-Con
List Price: $299.99
Price: $299.99
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About the Author DanGettel