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Which video game console is best?

Choosing the best video game console is no easy task, especially given how expensive the current gaming device generation is. However, despite their price tags, modern gaming consoles are powerful, long-lasting devices that can do much more than simply game. And by choosing a system that features the games you want to play, you’re likely to get your money’s worth.

The Nintendo Switch features a wide range of game titles, comes with two controllers, and doubles as a handheld or TV game console.

What to know before you buy a video game console

Use

How you plan to use your video game console will determine which is best for you. If you simply want the highest-quality gaming experience possible, you may even want to consider a gaming PC. However, the vast majority of gamers can get what they need out of a gaming console, which also can double as a media playing device.

Game preferences

Your game preferences may also influence which game console works best for you, since certain consoles are better suited for different game styles. The Nintendo Switch includes two controllers and is especially great for party gaming, as well as games for children. The Xbox One, PS4 and PS5 all offer high-powered games ranging from shooters to family-friendly cooperative games. Virtual reality gamers should stick to PlayStation consoles, as others don’t feature the tech.

Console lifespans

Unlike computers, the hardware in consoles can’t be upgraded over time as technology improves. Most console models have about 7 years of life before the next generation is released, with current consoles considered to be around the ninth generation. Consoles also come with specific hardware inside and can’t be upgraded over time like computers can.

What to look for in a quality video game console

Game selection

Many popular games such as Minecraft, Rocket League and Fortnite are available on multiple consoles. However, many modern consoles have exclusive games that aren’t offered on other platforms. For example, the Legend of Zelda games are only on Nintendo, while the Last of Us is only on Playstation consoles and the Halo franchise is only on Xbox. Make sure any games you want to play are offered on the console you choose.

Media playback

Modern consoles can also be used for watching TV and movies in addition to listening to music. They all let you use streaming apps, but they include varying hardware for DVDs, Blu-rays and high-resolution media. While the Xbox One, PS4 and PS5 all feature a disc drive that can play Blu-ray discs, the Nintendo Switch doesn’t include a disc drive at all.

Console variants

Many consoles include variants that include certain amounts of storage and other hardware. This lets users get the newest generation console from the brand they want at varying price points — with budget versions of each console offering reduced functionality.

How much you can expect to spend on a video game console

You can find cheap video game consoles for as little as $20, largely including Nintendo’s retro remakes and other old handheld devices. For old-generation consoles meant for TV use, you can expect to spend $100-$200. The newest-generation consoles usually start around $200-$300 and can cost as much as $700, depending on what device and bundle you choose.

Video game console FAQ

Are video game consoles better than computers?

A. Not necessarily. Computers let users upgrade their hardware as needed, whereas consoles come with a predetermined set of hardware. Still, many casual gamers find consoles better, due to their out-of-box accessibility as a gaming platform, the games they include and their general use as a media player.

Where can you buy a Sony Playstation 5 video game console?

A. Sony’s PS5 is hard to come by, with most retailers sold out due to supply-chain issues. You can either scout stores in person for restocks, or you can register your interest in buying a PS5 with Sony directly on the company’s website.

What’s the best video game console to buy?

Top video game console

Nintendo Switch Animal Crossing New Horizons Edition Console

Nintendo Switch Animal Crossing New Horizons Edition Console

What you need to know: The Nintendo Switch is perfect for handheld and console gamers of all ages, and it features a wide range of classic Nintendo titles.

What you’ll love: It includes left and right Joy-Con controllers that can be used individually or as one controller. The Switch also includes a console dock for TV use, and game exclusives such as The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Pokémon and Donkey Kong.

What you should consider: It doesn’t include a disc drive or support true virtual reality.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top video game console for the money

Sony Playstation 4 1-Terabyte Console Bundle With Controller And Headset

Sony Playstation 4 1-Terabyte Console Bundle With Controller And Headset

What you need to know: Despite technically being a last-generation console from Sony, the PS4 offers several games, and includes support for VR gaming.

What you’ll love: This PS4 offers 1TB of storage and comes with a controller. It also features a remote play function and a large catalog of exclusive games. In addition, buyers can play Blu-ray discs as well as CDs and DVDs.

What you should consider: The PS4 is not backward-compatible, meaning you can’t play PS1, PS2 or PS3 games on the console unless you buy digital copies from the Playstation store.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Microsoft Xbox One X 1TB Console

Microsoft Xbox One X 1TB Console

What you need to know: This renewed version of the Xbox One features 1TB of storage and stunning 4K resolution gameplay.

What you’ll love: The Xbox One X is backward-compatible with Xbox 360 games, and Microsoft has a handful of exclusive new-generation games. It also plays media in 4K Blu-ray, and supports disc media for both CDs and DVDs.

What you should consider: The Xbox One is not compatible with VR games. This one is refurbished and it can be difficult to find new copies of the console.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Peter McGuthrie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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