Which video game console should you buy?

December 30, 2014

If you’ve decided it’s time to get a video game console, then you’re faced with the debate over which kind to choose. There are home and mobile versions and several competing gaming systems, each with pros and cons worth considering before you buy.

Types of video game consoles

Video game systems differ in operating format, access to content and user interface.

Home game consoles

Home consoles connect to your TV for playing video games and streaming online content. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are the dominant manufacturers. Their latest consoles compete closely in price, have differing features and offer video game titles exclusive to their own systems as well as popular cross-platform titles.

  • Sony PlayStation 4 – The PlayStation console is a multimedia hub, with access to an online gaming network, a subscription service for exclusive products and streaming of movies and other video content. PlayStation was the first console with a built-in, Blu-ray player for watching full HD movies.
  • Microsoft Xbox One – The newest Xbox console can play Blu-ray movies and also be programmed to control your cable or satellite box for a totally integrated entertainment system.
  • Nintendo Wii U – The latest generation of the Wii console has a built-in browser for network gaming and connecting to online streaming services including access to Nintendo’s exclusive catalogue of interactive sports games for users of all ages.

Portable game consoles

Mobile gaming consoles provide access to your favourite video games when you’re travelling or away from your home console. These lightweight devices have built-in screens, control pads and speakers.

Video game console features

Sleek physical design and distinct peripherals distinguish some consoles from their rivals.

  • Game controllers: These ergonomically designed handheld devices provide wireless control of game play
  • Design: A streamlined, low-profile console box fits neatly into your home entertainment system
  • Internet access: A must-have feature for collaborative online gaming with friends
  • Multimedia: An integrated Blu-ray player can replace a separate unit

Factors to consider when buying a video game console

While it’s tempting to splurge on a top-of-the-line console, do a little research before you take the plunge.

  • Age group: A simpler game console is more suitable for younger users, while teens and adults prefer a full-featured model
  • Games: Make sure your console platform has an extensive catalogue of games and supports the latest titles
  • Capacity: Consider how many controllers the console allows to be connected at one time
  • Software compatibility: The next generation of your older game console may not be backward-compatible with your existing games library

Establish a budget and consider which console features are most important to you. Backward compatibility is becoming increasingly rare with next generation hardware so invest in the most advanced technology with the greatest long-term potential.

Which video game console should you buy?
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