Which Console Should I Buy?
Holiday 2017 Edition
by the Video Game CriticNov 12, 2017
With several new consoles released just this year, it's time to update my Holiday Console Shopping Guide. Depending on your gaming habits it may be hard to pick just one! The three basic consoles I'm focusing on are the Playstation 4, the Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch.
Microsoft Xbox One
The Xbox One was originally released in 2013, but several upgraded models have been released in the intervening years. Most recently Microsoft began shipping its Xbox One X which features support for 4K graphics. It also has the ability to play older Xbox One games in an enhanced mode. The Xbox One has a strong online ecosystem and the best controller on the market.
Like the Playstation 4, most Xbox One games require installation onto the system's hard drive before they can run. If your hard drive becomes full, you'll need to delete some older games to make space, which is a hassle. A big-budget title can consume well more than 50GB of hard disc space. There are usually numerous "updates" to download as well. This tends to undermine the expectations of most console gamers, who expect to just put in the game and play. Fortunately the newer systems come equipped with a 1TB hard drive.
Though impressive on the hardware front, the Xbox One has suffered from a lack of exclusive titles. Since most of its software library is already available on the Playstation 4 it has fallen behind in the console race. Still, it does have several valuable exclusive franchises including:
- Gears of War
- Forza Motorsports
- Dead Rising
The Nintendo Switch was released in March 2017 to much fanfare, and to this date remains difficult to find in stores. The system succeeded Nintendo's Wii U which never gained much traction in the marketplace. In addition to an all-star lineup of famous Nintendo properties, the Switch has the ability to be played as a portable. You just lift the system out of its "dock" (which connects to the TV) and play using its own screen. Unlike the Xbox One and Playstation 4, its media comes on postage-stamp sized cards instead of optical discs, allowing for a surprisingly compact design.
The Switch has no hard disc, precluding games from installing themselves on the system. In my opinion this is a good thing, but it could potentially prevent some of the larger big-name titles from appearing on the system. Its 32GB of internal storage is used for system software and game patches. In general the Switch requires less maintenance, making it appealing to old-school gamers who just want to plug-and-play.
The Switch isn't as powerful as the other systems in terms of hardware, but fortunately its first-party exclusives aren't the kind that require much memory or horsepower. Games like Mario Odyssey and Zelda: Breath of the Wild are enough to keep most gamers occupied for months. Exclusives include:
- Mario Odyssey
- Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Mario Kart 8
Sony Playstation 4
Originally released in February of 2013, the Playstation 4 has been the default console for the current generation. As the Wii U faltered for Nintendo and the Kinect bogged down sales of Microsoft's Xbox One, the Playstation 4 racked up astronomical sales. There's nothing spectacular about the console but it is powerful enough to run any game on the market and has the widest selection of titles. The latest iteration of the system is the PS4 Pro.
Like the Xbox One, most Playstation 4 games install themselves on your hard disc and receive regular updates over the internet. Some of these "updates" can be bigger than the original game! But while the Xbox One doesn't know how to behave while offline, the PS4 seems to handle the condition more gracefully. Like the Xbox One, the latest models come with a 1TB hard drive.
It's the games that count and the Playstation has them in spades. Not only can you count on all the big-name (non-Nintendo) titles, but also a lengthy list of exclusives including:
- Ratchet and Clank
- Until Dawn
- The Last Guardian
- Gran Turismo Sport
- Horizon Zero