Game console buying guide
For the avid gamer, picking out a new console is as instinctive as button bashing during a first person shooter – most of them know what they like already. For an emerging gamer however, it’s much harder. With all the techy talk, limitless game titles, and the never-ending debate over whether the PS4 or Xbox One is better, choosing a console can be particularly daunting. This guide should help make that decision a little easier.
Today’s consoles are light-years from the humble Sega Mega Drives and Nintendo Game Boys of the past. As popular entertainment goes, gaming has actually overtaken film and music, offering immersive blockbuster-like experiences through cutting-edge technology. These are the most desirable consoles currently on the market:
Sony launched the PS4 back in 2013. Lookwise, it’s similar to the Xbox One, in that it features an all-black angular futuristic design, with both matte and glossy bits - though there’s a white version available too.
Without getting into the technical jargon, it’s an extremely powerful console that can easily handle the best games with ease. Through an Internet connection players can take advantage of online gaming, and access cloud storage and the PlayStation Network. This allows the PS4 community to share content with one another, as well as buy and download games. Because some find this preferable to buying a physical copy, the console is available in two versions – one with 500GB memory storage, and one with a larger 1TB capacity. The console also doubles as a Blu-ray DVD player, and can support online TV streaming services, such as Netflix and Now TV.
The Xbox One was also released in 2013. It’s similarly powerful to the PlayStation 4, though its technology is sometimes regarded by aficionados as slightly less impressive – however, the debate rages on. In any case it also has no problem handling the latest and greatest games, and comes loaded with additional features. Players can immerse themselves in online gaming, as well as access Xbox Live – a similar sort of deal to the PlayStation Network. The console can also play Blu-ray & DVDs, and access television services such as Netflix. Unlike the PS4, the Xbox One provides backwards compatibility, allowing you to enjoy selected titles from your old Xbox 360 games collection. Memory-wise, the Xbox One also comes in 500GB and 1TB versions.
Because neither the PS4 nor the Xbox One is the clear victor in the battle of the consoles, it’s worth pondering all the pros, cons, and features if you’re deciding between the two.
Exempt from the console wars but ever popular, the Nintendo Wii is a family-friendly games console, exercise aid, and party centrepiece all in one. What’s more, it’s considerably cheaper than the PS4 or Xbox One.
What makes the Wii so unique is its emphasis on motion control gaming. With the use of a Nunchuk accessory, you’ll be able to swing a racket in tennis games or wield a sword in fantasy games – making everything that bit more immersive.
Nintendo Wii U
The Nintendo Wii U is the Wii’s successor. It provides all of the above, but with more advanced technology and a better all-round performance. It also comes with a GamePad controller, which features a built-in touch screen. Best of all, it’s backwards compatible with many original Wii games.
Handheld game consoles
On-the-go gaming can help while away the hours on long flights, train journeys, or even on holiday while you’re basking on a beach. Despite their compact sizes, today’s handheld game consoles pack in some impressive features, such as Internet browsers and multiplayer play.
First launched in Japan at the end of 2011, the slim and light PlayStation Vita is one of the most popular handheld game consoles out there. Its built-in screen boasts razor sharp graphics, while its dual analog sticks, buttons, and tilt sensors make the best out of a variety of games. The games themselves are sold in stores as PS Vita cards, while some titles can be purchased and downloaded online via the PlayStation Store.
The 3DS is the PS Vita’s arch-rival. A far cry from Nintendo’s iconic Game Boys, it offers exceptional graphics, surprising power, and a wealth of games to choose from. Its compact fold-up design features simple button controls, as well as a separate touch screen in addition to the main display. Like the PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS games can be bought in a card format in store, or purchased and downloaded online. Alongside new releases, the 3DS is also backward compatible with older DS and DSi titles too.
If state-of-the-art gaming isn’t a priority and you just want to have fun, both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 consoles are still sold today – and for considerably less than the latest generation models.