This week, I thought that I would take a break from talking about games that I am not qualified enough to be talking about and decided to go for the big picture. Now we all know that the holiday season is coming up and what gift could be better than a shiny new console for the kids to play with? Probably new underwear if I’m honest. That’s not as much fun to talk about though so we will be ignoring the notion of practical gift-giving for this post. Now, going back to the above question, we will say for argument’s sake that the answer is nothing. So then, we must raise the question of which one would be the best one to get. This is not the first time people have had this discussion and it will most certainly not be the last. Part of me wants to just say to get a PC and be done with this debate, but I like to tell myself in the mirror that I am better than that. So, let’s take a look at who should be first pick for being wrapped up for the holiday season.
Now right off the bat, it should be worth noting that there are three consoles currently in the running for being purchased for the kids this year. They are the Nintendo Switch, the Playstation 5, and the Xbox Series X/S. However, I am going to exclude Nintendo from the lineup this time due to it having the advantage of having been around much longer than the other two. There is a much better selection of exclusives on it since it has been around since 2017 so it wouldn’t be fair to compare the two. Besides, Nintendo has always been doing its own thing since as long as it can make a decent game or two for their system they can experiment however they want. They just want to be left alone to have fun by themselves and I will exercise my full willpower and respect that and not bring them into this messy power struggle. Of course the only reason they can get away with this is their properties have been well established for a long time now and have kept their characters under lock and key (for the most part). Instead let’s look at the two who are trying to compete with each other for no real reason, but to draw in new consumers. Although I feel like a lot of people were already taken in by the new Animal Crossing game so hopefully people were willing to hold out for these new consoles.
Now before we begin, I would like to ask an important question. What is the most important thing to consider when buying a new console? Now some people might say specs and they would be wrong because if they really cared that much about specs then they would be getting a PC. Obviously, good PCs are more expensive though and don’t fit as well underneath a tree. Besides consoles are meant to be more of a laid back affair anyway so the best way to measure the worth of a console is the enjoyment one gets out of it. That should be a given, so let’s look at what makes or breaks a console. Let’s look at the games. Now, there aren’t a lot of games out for the systems at this time to be honest. But, there is backwards compatibility with the previous generation consoles so you can play some old favorites on the newer models. So if you already own an older version of one of these consoles then the answer should speak for itself. There is no real reason to switch to a new console at this point in time, so just stick with what you know and keep giving your money to Sony/Microsoft. However, for those of you who are just getting consoles for the first time, let’s look even deeper as we delve into the exclusives.
Exclusives are what makes a console marketable to the masses. After all, why would you play a game on one console as opposed to another if they have the same lineup of games. Then the console wars would be even more of a joke then they already are. So naturally, having certain properties under your belt would give you the edge against consumers. I mean, do you really think Nintendo could get away with all of the experimentation they have been doing with their consoles if they didn’t have some of the most iconic gaming franchises of all time? Absolutely not. A console is only as good as the games it produces and the benefit of having exclusives is to show off the hardware and what the game is capable of accomplishing. Now, right now there are a few games for each console as a bit of a way to taste what is possible in terms of gameplay on the new consoles. The big contenders that I can see is that Sony has more Spider-Man and Dark Souls for everyone, and Microsoft is giving another entry to the Halo series of games. Now I know I am oversimplifying this, but that is to make this as easy as possible to understand. You should probably pick the games that will reward the most amount of playtime and for that you should probably go with the games that require more than just an itchy trigger finger and actually care about having a decent single-player campaign. I know I am biased here, but in my experience a focus on single-player will always beat a focus on multi-player because the enjoyment of multi-player games is dependent not just on your own skill level, but also the skill levels of those you are playing with. So honestly, if you are really torn between the two, go with the PlayStation 5. That is, if you can find one at market price and not being sold for three times as much on eBay.
Now before I close off, I do want to say that my experience with these two systems are minimal. If it wasn’t obvious already I mainly play games in PC nowadays, but I grew up with Nintendo. Truth be told, my first console was actually a PlayStation but I never really used it at the time. I know it doesn’t sound like I am going anywhere with this, but just hear me out for a bit. Okay? Okay. Now, having had chances in more recent years to play both consoles from previous generations I can say that they are both fine. The reason why I lean towards the PlayStation as the better option is because while not every one of their exclusives is amazing, I get the feeling that they were actually putting some effort into a single-player campaign and they just have a better history with those types of games. Xbox feels like its exclusives have more of a multi-player focus since it has so many shooters in its history. That isn’t a bad thing, but in my semi-humble opinion, a good focus on single-player with some good gameplay is more satisfying to me than quick bursts of adrenaline in a multi-player gameplay loop. I like to have fun at my own pace and not let others dictate how I enjoy myself. If you feel the same and can find a new-generation console without selling your kidneys, then I recommend the new PlayStation. If you prefer to have a console that is more centered around gathering your mates for some multi-player action, then go ahead and get a new Xbox. Good luck getting any decent games for it right now though. You can also choose not to take part in the console wars at all and realize that the only reason we have this happen every few years is so that the companies can better promote their consoles and make money despite barely having any games out for them. Just a thought, but thanks for hearing me out and Happy Holidays.