With so many different options these days on mobile and we it’s easier than ever to get involved with video games, but console-exclusives and dedicated, unique and sophisticated hardware mean that the traditional means of playing games are still something that might not want to miss out on, if you want to experience everything that the industry has to offer.
Want to get yourself a video gaming console, and are wondering which one to go with – or whether to wait entirely for something new? For some inspiration when getting started, here’s a short hardware overview of some of the different options out there at the moment from Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft.
The Big Three – Standout Points
You’ve probably already heard of the PlayStation, Xbox and Switch systems, but what are their standout selling points? Here are some unique features:
- The best-selling of the bunch, the PlayStation 4, holds the mantra “this is for the players”, and has sold over 100 million systems to date. Taking the simple, bread and butter approach to gaming, with a sleek user interface and recognisable controller design, the PlayStation feels familiar to gamers that have grown up with the company, and leaves them to focus on the magic of the games themselves. That’s not to say that it isn’t innovate in its own right, however, as additions such as the controller touchpad have allowed for a much more accurate range-of-motion in some games and even while typing, something the fans have been thankful for over the years
- The Xbox One, despite a bit of a rocky launch revolving around packed-in kinect cameras and the desire to be your home’s entertainment centre rather than just a game system, has proven to be a worthy competitor to the PlayStation this generation, and has its own powerful back catalogue of games that are not to be sneered at. Currently if looking to buy a system, you can opt for the slimline S model, or the more powerful X model if wanting to play and watch in 4K.
- Despite launching later and not being as powerful as the other two consoles in terms of hardware, The Nintendo Switch’s unique offering has taken the world by storm, and is selling gangbuster numbers all around the world. With detachable controllers and a built-in touchscreen, the system can be played on the television, or removed from its dock entirely and taken on the go – a full console-quality experience wherever you want, whenever you want.
What about the games themselves?
So, it’s all well and good talking about the consoles and what they offer, but what about the software and games that go on the consoles themselves – The most important part? Sure, Nintendo has Mario and Microsoft has Master Chief, and in the past boundaries and barriers have been higher when it comes to versions coming out on different systems, but new consoles are changing how game development studios operate.
Nowadays, video game development is a lot more incremental than it was before, and consoles are a lot similar than they have been in previous years, making it easier for ports and versions to come to other consoles, and release subsequently on multiple platforms at the same time. This allows development companies like Abstraction to make premium experiences, regardless of the platform or hardware. It’s good news all around for gamers that want to experience all of the best titles, without having to break the bank to get all of the main systems.
With the Nintendo Switch still in its prime (after a slow start from Nintendo with the Wii U in 2012-13), the eight generation of video game consoles is far from being done, but many companies are still looking forward as to what’s next on the horizon. Here are a few different products to look out for in the coming months/years:
- Microsoft have announced their next generation of Xbox console, named the Xbox Series X, and perhaps unsurprisingly it’s their most powerful system yet. With a large rectangular shape the next Xbox is quite reminiscent of a PC, and it’s slated for a holiday 2020 release date – so if you want to be able to play in 4K at speeds not possible on prior kit and you’re willing to pay, it might be worth waiting.
- Sony have also announced their PlayStation 5, having recently revealed the logo for the hardware, but we’ve yet to learn about the price point, release date, or what it will even look like. Some prototype designs and patents have been leaked, although the final product never looks the same anyway.
- Having just recently released the fully portable Switch Lite last year, Nintendo have stated that they have no intentions to release another model in 2020. That doesn’t mean that they won’t announce one, however, and rumours revolving a ‘pro’ model with a better quality screen and innards are starting to circulate.