Back in the old days, choosing a gaming system was a matter of looking at its library. With limited game selections and wallets, players were stuck with their choices for years. Make the right choice, and you end up with some of the best games to play alone and with friends. Make the wrong choice, and you’re in for frustrating experiences where nobody wants to join in. Today, however, this problem is becoming a thing of the past.
While exclusives still exist, especially on the Nintendo and PlayStation platforms as noted at websites like Pushsquare, the gaming ecosystem is far more multiplatform than ever before. This development is largely the result of changing game industry economics, where experiences both big and small see major rewards through better levels of availability. Though this direction has not necessarily been made for the good of the user, the result is more games for everyone, so we won’t complain.
Adding on to this availability is the increase in cooperation between systems as illustrated by cross-play acceptance. With multiplayer no longer always forcing such restrictions between systems, more freedom is available than ever, and groups of friends don’t have to buy single systems for cooperation’s sake.
With this new state of play, the question of which console to choose becomes less about exclusives and more about the ecosystem. So, how do you choose which is right for you?
Long Term Game Cost
Games are getting more expensive, as detailed in this article by Bloomberg. Whether or not you agree with the reasons for this price rise, it remains true nonetheless. For this reason, it can be worthwhile to base your choice of system, or even subtype of system, on anticipated long-term game costs.
For an example of this, consider the difference between the PS5 digital and disc edition. The digital edition is much cheaper, but it also relies on the online store to sell games. Since games on disks can be much cheaper new and second-hand (second-hand purchases are impossible with the PS Store), buying the more expensive model can pay off long-term. This idea is much more pronounced on PC, where key-selling sites and online sales can significantly lower costs.
Although games are the most important part of a video game system, the infrastructure surrounding these games can make or break the experience. There are many aspects to each device’s ecosystem, and each can have serious implications throughout a generation. PSN and Xbox Live both offer monthly free games, for example, an area where Nintendo notoriously struggles. On a similar note, the PC allows for massive flexibility in the modding scene, far outperforming consoles if that’s something you’re interested in.
Overall, the best piece of advice we can give gamers looking for a new system is to not rush into things. Browse around carefully to see the aspects that different users bring up, and consider how they might affect your gaming enjoyment. Measure how you use the systems you have now, and what parts of this frustrate or delight you. With any luck, you’re going to be able to get years of fun out of a new system, so making the wrong choice is going to have ample time to come back to bite you.