Family entertainment: Holiday tips for parents

(BPT) -

Surprisingly, more than 62 percent of parents play video games with their children at least once a week, according to a recent study from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). Many parents say picking up a controller and jumping into a game lets them reminisce about their own childhood while also providing a fun opportunity to connect and socialize with their kids

For those of us who have been out of the game for a bit, here are some tips for finding the perfect gift for the whole family.

Future proof your living room

With so many devices vying for your attention, it can be difficult to know which entertainment system will offer your family the best value for the long term.

The PlayStation 4 system is much more than just a gaming device. It offers plenty of entertainment options for the whole family. With a PlayStation Network account, you can get access to stream favorites like Christmas with the Kranks and Jumanji, or queue up your go-to holiday playlist while you and the kids bake gingerbread treats. Like your smartphone, game consoles connect to many of your favorite apps - including WatchESPN, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, and Spotify - so you'll never have to worry about finding something everyone can enjoy.

And if you want to experience the latest trend with the teenagers in your house, you can add PlayStation VR, the new virtual reality system that transports you out of your living room and into a virtual game world, to your list.

Choosing a family friendly game

But how do you know which game is right for you and your family? Similar to movies and TV shows, video games are rated by an independent organization - the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) - to help you make informed choices about the content your family plays. An "E" rating signifies a game is generally suitable for all ages. Whether you're looking for a space adventure like Ratchet & Clank, a sports game like MLB The Show 16, an artsy experience like Bound, or a slapstick LEGO adventure based on familiar franchises like LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, LEGO Marvel's Avengers and the LEGO Harry Potter Collection, there are many worlds waiting for you and your family to explore.

Additional information about video game ratings can be found at

Bundle up

So for those of you purchasing a video game console for the first time this holiday season - keep an eye out for bundles that include the console along with a game and/or accessories. Bundles give you the most bang for your buck, and many of your favorite retailers - including Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, Target and Wal-Mart - offer steep discounts during the holiday season.

One of the hottest items you can buy this holiday is the recently released, slimmer, more energy efficient PlayStation 4 bundled with a copy of one of the highest rated games of the year, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. In fact, according to Adobe Digital Insights, the PlayStation 4 was the top selling electronics product on Cyber Monday.

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