How to Choose a New Gaming Console: 8 Things to Consider

1. Pricing

Generally speaking, this is the first barrier to purchasing a new gaming console. Reason being, usually the console itself is relatively cheap – but the cost of the games and services per product are significant. Console manufacturers such as Sony or Microsoft have historically followed this practice with each successive generation of consoles.

2. Gaming console’s specs

After agreeing to your budget, the next thing to consider is the new console’s specifications. The gaming experience is a result of how the developers build the hardware and code the software. For instance, if a console has flaws in its specs (for instance, its CPU is underpowered, or its storage space is lacking) this could hamper your gaming experience, especially towards the end of that console’s lifespan.

Important specs you should look at are the: CPU, GPU, RAM, system storage, expandable storage, extended storage, video output, audio output, connectivity, and networking features.

3. What games does this console play?

Next, and arguably the most important aspect to choosing your new gaming console, is its games library. This determines whether a console is the best gaming system. It is all about the games, after all!

Sony and Nintendo always offer some strong exclusives, whereas Microsoft’s unique offerings are often less attractive. We could see this change as publishers like SIE (Sony Interactive Entertainment) or Microsoft acquire gaming studios and then gain exclusive games for their platform. It’s best to keep an eye on gaming news in case things change; you wouldn’t want to buy a new gaming console only to find that you can’t play the next game in your favourite franchise on it.

4. The designs of the new gaming console

An important thing to consider is the aesthetics of the console. While this isn’t the most important aspect,  a cool, unique design is always a plus.

Remember to consider the dimensions of the console. In the ninth generation of video games, we’ve seen a truly bulky design from the PS5, which might make you favour the Xbox Series X/S over it for practicality. Nintendo and Valve, on the other hand, have smaller consoles than Sony and Microsoft, but face different design objectives because of their handheld and hybrid nature.

5. What features does your new gaming console have?

Gaming consoles have grown from simply just playing games, into all-in-one entertainment systems. So, it’s best to look at what features your new gaming console brings, both gaming and non-gaming wise.

Gaming features can include things like the general UI, customizable system settings, and console unique features, such as the Nintendo Switch’s handheld and docked modes.

An arguable must-have feature for all next-generation consoles is backward compatibility. Gamers rejoiced when Sony and Microsoft announced that their ninth-generation consoles, the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, would be backward compatible, with these consoles enhancing select last-gen games. Backward compatibility also helps boost a new gaming console’s launch library, giving you a range of last-gen games to play.

6. The services that your new gaming console provides

On top of its games and features, look at the different services your new gaming console provides. Standard gaming subscriptions would be for online gaming and streaming games, so remember to look at the unique perks a subscription would give you. These could be items like free monthly games, special discounts, cloud storage, and the like.

7. How is the controller for your new gaming console?

Gaming is stepping up in all aspects, and we’re seeing that in the newer controllers. A good controller can help make your gaming experience that much more immersive.

It’s best to compare the controllers for next-generation consoles. Look at each of their aspects, such as shape, build quality, button layout, haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, and any other features they bring. It might not seem important, at first, but it really can make a difference to the experience.

8. What’s the ecosystem of this next-gen console like?

Lastly, consider the ecosystem of all next-gen consoles before you decide to buy one.

Families of games consoles (such as PlayStation and Xbox) have been creating and improving their ecosystem for years, so if you’ve only played on one, it might be a shock to switch.

Are you looking for more of the same or a new experience? Which consoles are your friends getting? Do you care about your game progress and trophy collection starting from scratch?

In the end, the best gaming system is the one that satisfies what you want from gaming, whether that’s an immersive single-player experience, VR gaming, or trying out as many games as you can with a streaming subscription. So, do your research and make sure your new gaming console gives you what you want.

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