Eight questions you should ask when you want to buy a new console.

Whether you’re a new player wanting to sink your teeth into the gaming world, or a savvy gamer wanting to make a more informed decision about which new generation console to invest in, hopefully this article can help you! Just by asking these simple questions, you can arm yourself with enough info to make the right decision.

FistFullOfMoneyQ1. How much do I want to spend?

Between the Xbox One, Playstation 4 and the WiiU there are a number of excellent deals out there for each model. All three consoles however, are hovering at around the same price. The most expensive is the Xbox One, which offers a console equipped with a 1TB hard drive and a copy of Halo 5 for $499. Second spot is the Playstation 4 offering their console with half the space (500GB hard drive) and a copy of Just Cause 3 for $479. Last but not least (well, actually it is the least – the least in cost) is the Wii U by Nintendo, offering the Wii U console with Touch Screen Controller and a copy of Just Dance 2016 and Mariokart 8 for the low, low price of $429.

Q2. What do I want my new console to do?

This might seem like a silly question but consoles can do so much more these day than simply play games (unless you’re a Wii U, then for the most part you simply play games). Consoles, much in the same way that tablets and phones do, have a variety of different apps on them. In the case of the Xbox One, literally everything is an app (even settings!). Apps like Netflix and YouTube exist on all three consoles but there are certain features of each that are only available on specific consoles. Both the Xbox One and the PS4 are capable Blu-Ray and music players, each with their own music streaming services. Each have a movie market that allows you to buy movies and TV shows (except the WiiU). Moral of the story: if you want a games console you can go with any. If you also want a media center, then the Xbox One and PS4 have you covered.

MarioQ3. What sort of games do I like?

This question matters because some consoles are better at some genres than others. While you’ll generally find the vast majority of AAA titles are released across all platforms, Nintendo is heavily influenced by the Japanese market so you’ll find a lot of RPG’s and platformers on the Wii U (Plus a lot of Mario. A metric boatload of Mario!) Microsoft are making a name for themselves as supporters of Indie developers, while nobody does fighting and racing games better than Sony! Wii U exclusive titles are quite broad and impressive, consisting of franchises such as Mario, Zelda, Fire Emblem, Pokemon, Donkey Kong, Kirby and much more! Xbox One exclusives are Halo, Gears of War, Quantum Break, Crackdown and Phantom Dust. While PS4 is the only place for Gran Turismo, Uncharted, Ratchet and Clank and The Last of Us.

Q4. Do I like fun accessories?

The Wii U itself is like one big accessory. Its controller has a giant, almost tablet sized touch screen in it! This touch screen allows for certain asymmetrical games to be developed that are unique to it. It can also put vital game statistics on the screen so they don’t clutter up space on your TV. Speaking of your TV, is it not available? That’s okay, play your games on the controller’s screen as if you’re playing a hand held! Sony have a plethora of accessories for you to enjoy. Most notably, the Playstation Move is a handheld, wand-like controller with a ball on top that can glow all sorts of different colours. It has a range of motion sensors inside that can sense where you are in space, what orientation it’s being held at and in which direction it is moving. This allows the controller to become anything from a fishing rod to a magic wand. In Microsoft’s corner the Xbox One put all of its eggs in a basket called Kinect. Kinect turns your body into a controller and translates your body’s movement into data that a game can use. As an example, imagine a game of Fruit Ninja where instead of using your finger on a touch screen to slice up fruit, you waved your hands around and a real time image of you chops the fruit up in time with your movements on screen. Also the Kinect is voice activated. I’ve set mine up so I can say “Xbox on!” and it turns the console on, as well as my TV, as well as my home theater system.

PlayStation-VR

The Playstation VR. The ultimate accessory or a cheap toy?

Q5. Do I want backwards compatibility?

Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer was once quoted as saying “Backwards compatibility is backwards thinking”. Boy have times changed. The Xbox One has only recently started to support backwards compatibility with around 100 titles, but with the promise of many more to come. In fact, you can vote on Xbox’s website as to which titles you want them to include in their next update. The PS4 is not backwards compatible natively (meaning your PS3 games wont work on a PS4) but they have hinted at plans to re-release certain PS2 and PS3 games. The Wii U however is completely backwards compatible with its predecessor, the Wii. Backwards compatibility beyond that however is not supported.

Q6. Do I want to be able to watch TV through my console?

A bit of a weird question but one that does need its answer to be clarified. The Wii U cannot allow you to watch live TV. Whilst the PS3 could let you watch and record live TV through a device called Play TV, the PS4 does not support it. At least not yet anyway. The Xbox however has partnered with Freeview to allow users to watch live TV through the console and take advantage of the Xbox One Guide which allows you to pause and rewind live TV. Strangely enough however you cannot record live TV using the One Guide service.

modemQ7. Do I want to be able to play games online?

All three consoles do it. It’s totally a thing now. In fact some consoles barely function at all without internet connectivity. Microsoft offers two online services: Xbox Live Gold and Silver. Gold costs $90/year and lets you purchase content, play online, download updates and interact socially with other gamers. Silver on the other hand – whilst being free – restricts certain content and won’t allow you to play games online. It’s a similar story with the PS4 and its Playstation Network. There’s the Playstation Network and the premium service called Playstation Plus. The Playstation Network allows you to play games online, download updates, socialise with friends and purchase content. If that’s not enough, the Playstation Plus service (which sets you back only $70 a year) will give you free games, bonus content, and special offers. Nintendo’s plan is simple. One service for all of their consoles called the Nintendo Network. It’s free and also allows you to purchase content, download updates and play online. You can also interact socially with other players, but it’s a bit weird. Rather than inviting friends by their name as you normally would, you need to have first exchanged friend codes, otherwise most of your interactions are largely anonymous.

Q8. Do I want free stuff?

It depends on what you call free. Most free content on consoles is only available through paid subscriptions. For example, Xbox Live will give you two free games per month if you’re a Gold Subscriber. Playstation Plus users also get the same perks. Nintendo, not so much. There are games available that are free to play, but they most often have in-game purchases on offer.

Hopefully this had given you all the info you need to make an informed decision about which console to go with. Did I leave any considerations out? Am I wrong about something? Let us know in the comments!

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