Find a PS5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch for the kids? Here’s how to set it up
It’s no secret that one of the most popular tech giveaways is a video game console.
No matter which retailer you visit, it’s likely that the product pages for Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X all have a similar message: sold out.
But some consumers have been fortunate enough to acquire a new video game console, whether through that timely Twitter follow-up, or through a determined internet search testing your ability to quickly press a refresh. Navigator.
If you’ve bought a new video game console for your kids, don’t start racing right away. You want to make sure it’s set up and ready for them to enjoy right out of the box.
Here’s how to set up each console to be ready for Christmas morning, a birthday, or any other time of the year.
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The first question to ask is where will this device live? Your living room? A family room? A child’s room? Wherever it is, make sure it has enough space to prevent overheating.
How to set up the PlayStation 5
After carefully removing it from its box, plug it into a TV and connect it to the Internet. When you start for the first time, the console should tell you to choose a Wi-Fi network and connect.
You will probably also need to update the console’s system software. If you are not prompted, you can go to Settings, System, System software, and then update it.
You may also need to connect the system’s wireless controller with the supplied cord so that they pair. The PS5 controller has its own firmware, so you may need to connect it to update.
Once online, you will be asked to join the PlayStation Network, which allows users to download games or play with friends online. If your kids already have an account, just log in. Otherwise, you will be prompted to register by providing your email and creating a password. Because PSN is a subscription service, you may also need to add a credit card (you can also choose to purchase PlayStation gift cards to add funds).
A nice advantage of the PS5 is the ability to play older games. If you know what games your kids are playing that they previously owned a PS4, you can choose to download them ahead of time.
Once you’re ready, turn the console off completely and return it to the box for her to unbox and enjoy.
How to set up the Xbox Series X (or S)
The process here is simpler, thanks to your smartphone. Connect the console to your TV, then turn it on.
Next, you’ll want to access the Xbox app, available for iPhone and Android. In the app, you’ll choose to set up a console, then enter the code that displays on your TV.
After that, you choose your Wi-Fi network and then sign in or create an Xbox account to use services like Xbox Live to play and download games online. You may also need to update the console software during this process.
If you’re new to Xbox, their controllers require two AA batteries, which are included. Insert them into the controller and press the Xbox button to turn it on. It should automatically pair with the console. If not, press the pairing button on the console and controller – look for the button with three))) next to it.
Newer Xbox controllers also require their own separate updates, so you might need to install those as well. The console will send an alert telling you if it’s time to update.
As with the PS5, you can download older games if you upgrade from an older Xbox. Do not hesitate to do this before turning it off and putting it back in the box.
How to set up the Nintendo Switch
This process will depend on whether you get the Switch model that connects to the TV (the Switch and the OLED Switch) or the Switch Lite. For models equipped with a TV, connect to the TV first using the Switch docking station before continuing. Also make sure the Joy-Con controllers are connected.
You will then receive prompts for the system language, connecting to Wi-Fi, and creating a nickname and icon. You might also need to update the switch software.
After setup, it is possible to register them for Nintendo Switch Online, play against other players online with perks including access to older Nintendo games.
What about parental controls?
Since you’re getting this for kids, chances are you’ll want to consider parental controls. The benefits of using them limit what games they can play, whether they can spend money on games, and even how much time they can spend playing then.
Parental Controls on the PlayStation 5 offers a robust set of options that parents can change through a web browser or directly on the console.
Xbox parental controls are available through the console or the Family settings app for smartphones.
Nintendo Switch parental controls can also be accessed through the device or a separate phone app.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @ brettmolina23.