How to choose a game console? Battle of PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo

They say the battle between Xbox and PlayStation for the loyalty of gamers will never end. Ha, let’s make it harder and add Nintendo Switch to the challenge! Now it has become even more difficult to choose a prefix for yourself? Well, let’s figure it out together.

The current generation of game consoles is represented by the stationary PS4 from Sony, the Xbox One from Microsoft and the Switch from Nintendo – a transforming console that is both home and portable. But 2020 changed the industry – gamers were presented with the next-generation PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X / S consoles. You can also find portable PS Vita and 3DS on store shelves, but the first, unfortunately, is practically not supported by Sony, and the second is not very popular in Russia.Microsoft Xbox Series X Game Console
Until 2020, the PlayStation 4 was considered the undisputed world leader. Can the next-gen generation of consoles change something? Unlikely. The PlayStation 5 gets great reviews, but it sits with the “four” in different price points. New devices are only at the dawn of their cycle, there are very few games on them, so the PlayStation 5 will not be able to remove the PlayStation 4 from the throne for at least several more years.

At the beginning of 2019, more than 90 million PS4s were sold. Now the PS4 has probably found even more owners. This set-top box is sold better than others in our country. This is due to a large number of exclusive games, and with the active work of the marketing department of Sony in the domestic market and with the love of our players for the PlayStation since the 1990s. Several generations of domestic gamers grew up on the “first” and “second” PlayStation.

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The Xbox One with a global user base of just over 40 million follows by a wide margin – such figures are given by the authoritative portal VGChartz. Fans of the Gears of War, Halo and Forza series see it as an alternative to an expensive PC, and buy Xbox Game Pass with over a hundred games for a monthly fee. This is a kind of gaming analogue of Netflix’a. Sony has no alternative to this service. And the release of the new Xbox Series X / S hasn’t changed the picture either. The PlayStation is still a favorite among gamers, not least due to the exclusives. By the way, during the premiere of the Xbox Series X / S, there were none at all. Even the anticipated Halo Infinite has been pushed back to next year.

Game Console Microsoft Xbox ONE S All-Digital Edition White 1 Tb + 3 games

By 2020, Nintendo had sold more than 68.3 million Switch consoles in total. However, it should be borne in mind that the console has been on the market for almost 3 years, while competitors have been sold for almost 7 years. Switch is doing great in both the US and Europe. And in our country, consoles from Nintendo are not popular historically (except for the era of the 8-bit clone of the NES, the pirate “Dandy”). And Switch is no exception. This is largely due to the “childish” image that was entrenched in Nintendo back in the nineties. Now the situation is slowly improving, but it has not yet been possible to break the trend in this generation in the post-Soviet space. With the Switch Lite, things have improved a bit, especially in other regions, with handheld consoles having a better time right now. By the way, Nintendo recently reported that the console is in the middle of its production cycle. Does this mean that there will be a new console in 2023?

Game console Nintendo Switch 32 GB Gray + 1 game
Game console characteristics
In 2019, both Sony and Microsoft are selling updated base versions of their consoles – the PlayStation 4 Slim and Xbox One S, respectively. The more powerful PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, designed for 4K gaming, are relevant for owners of 4K TVs.

The first revision of the Xbox One was scolded for being somewhat inferior to the PS4 in terms of power and that the games released on both platforms looked better and ran faster on the PS4. That changed with the release of the Xbox One S. Minor discrepancies in technical parameters now do not play a significant role – the multi-platform is equally good both there and there. Moreover, the architecture of the set-top boxes is similar and as close as possible to modern PCs.

What about the new consoles? The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X did not give gamers any big technological leap forward. But now both devices support ray tracing technology. Up to the RTX 3080 level, both devices, of course, do not pull, so players will have to choose – either activate RTX mode, but then the picture will be limited to 30 frames per second. Or turn off ray tracing, and this will give a picture of 60 FPS. Both new consoles run games in 4K, but sometimes the developers go to some peculiar tricks and set the dynamic resolution. In the same Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the picture can be reduced to 1440p, but it is not a fact that you will notice it. Approximately the same technology works for the Nintendo Switch, which, when connected to a TV, changes the resolution.

I would like to highlight the new Xbox Series S in a separate paragraph, released by the company as a “lightweight” version of the regular Xbox Series X. What are the main differences? Of course, she is weaker than her older brother. Both use an AMD chip based on Zen 2 architecture, but the Xbox Series X has a core frequency of 3.8 GHz versus 3.6 GHz for the Series S. The second difference is in the video chip: the Xbox Series X uses 52 RDNA2 computational units, while the Xbox Series S there are only 20 of them, which makes a significant difference in the so-called “teraflops” or conventional unit of measurement for graphics. The Series X has a total power of 12.15 teraflops, while the Series S has only 4 teraflops. What conclusion can be drawn from this? The Series S obviously won’t handle 4K gaming, but at 1080p or 1440p, it should be good enough for good performance. If you don’t have a 4K TV,

Microsoft Xbox Series S game console
Switch is significantly weaker than its competitors, its performance is only 1 TFLOPS. Because of this, multi-platform games look worse on it, and some, especially resource-demanding projects, do not come out at all on the Nintendo console. But the set-top box has an important advantage of being portable. In this mode, one battery charge lasts for 3-5 hours, depending on the game (it’s no secret that projects with complex graphics “eat” the battery much more actively). Not a bad result for such a powerful set-top box that you can take with you on the road.

 

As for the stationary mode, the entire multi-platform on the Switch looks and will look worse than on the PS4 and Xbox One. Still, the difference in characteristics is very significant. The Switch’s draw range is lower, the special effects are “poorer”, the models are simpler – all this is clearly visible in games such as, for example, “The Witcher 3” or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim . Below are video tests comparing games on different types of consoles.

However, it is unlikely that someone takes the Switch in order to buy games that also came out on PS4 and Xbox One (except for the opportunity to play your favorite game in the subway / park / on the beach). The power of the Nintendo Switch lies in games that are released exclusively for it. And with exclusives here is complete order – Nintendo works wonders, despite the limitations of iron.

Games
Any game console is purchased for the sake of … games, of course! Therefore, the success or failure of a particular console depends primarily on how interesting games will be released for it. Despite the current trends, when more and more studios do not get hung up on one platform, but work for everyone at once, the importance of exclusive projects cannot be underestimated. And in that regard, each of the three consoles has something to offer.

Lots of masterpieces have been released for PS4. The games available only on this platform are characterized by an attention to history, an emphasis on storytelling, a well-thought-out scenario, and well-developed characters. Many of the franchises have been with us for a decade or more.

This is the story-driven action game Uncharted 4 with mesmerizing landscapes, and God of War with a unique approach to character development, and “live cartoon” Ratchet & Clank .

And one of the best games about superheroes Marvel’s Spider-Man , dark Bloodborne , crime drama Yakuza 6, piercing The Last Guardian and horror in the best traditions of “Scream” Until Dawn.

With the release of the PlayStation 5, the situation with exclusives has not changed. Sony continues to rely on in-house studio games that won’t be available on other consoles. Well, or at least they will become temporary exclusives, as was the case with Death Stranding and Detroit: Become Human, for example.

Separately, I would like to highlight a new service for all owners of the PlayStation 5, which is called the PlayStation OK Collection. The fact is that all subscribers of the classic PS Plus with the transition to the new console get access to the best games of the previous generation. The list is very impressive and includes most of the PlayStation Hits.

Alas, there are almost no full-fledged exclusives on the Xbox. The fact is that Microsoft releases its games both on the PC and on its console. However, if you do not have money for an expensive computer, you can play the new Gears of War, Halo, Forza, Ori and others on Xbox One. At the same time, practically for a song.

And, of course, don’t forget the great Xbox Game Pass service with tons of cool games. And also – all new items published by Microsoft Game Studios appear in the service on the day of release. Microsoft recently bought all of Bethesda Softworks’ in-house studios, which means Game Pass will have some of the best hits from the developers. For example, Doom Eternal is already available as a subscription, and this list will only grow in the future.

Gameplay is at the forefront of the most significant games for this platform: Gears of War 4, Halo 5, Forza Horizon 4, Ori and the Blind Forest, Sunset Overdrive.

Switch is a different planet. Nintendo has nurtured its TV shows and favorite characters for decades. No revolutions in TV shows like The Legend of Zelda and Mario – just evolutionary development. That being said, the attention to detail in Nintendo’s games is astounding.

There are no analogues of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on other platforms. And the series “Mario”, even after several decades, still remains a model of quality. And the last part of the adventure of fellow plumber – Super Mario Odyssey – is still the benchmark that other developers of platform games are equal to. Well, for those who need so-called “adult” games, the Switch has the same future Bayonetta 3 or the serious role-playing game Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Such “titans” of the industry as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, The Witcher 3 have already been ported to the console. : Wild Hunt, Bioshock Trilogy, both latest Dooms including Doom Eternal, X-COM 2, Civilization VI and more.

Prices
All three consoles are sold at similar prices, but sometimes there are discounts. New games cost about the same on PS4 and Xbox One, and on Switch they tend to be slightly more expensive.

But with the release of new consoles, questions like “Which console to spend $ 400-500 on?” have changed a little. The fact is that PS5 and Xbox Series X will cost customers already 46-47 thousand rubles versus 25-30 thousand for the consoles of the previous generation PS4 and Xbox One.

It would seem that everything is fine, here’s the next-gen prefix, give it 16-17 thousand more for it, but the Xbox Series S quietly wedges into this internal monologue with its retail cost of 27 thousand rubles and quietly whispers on his shoulder “why do you need pasta gene”? And indeed, at the price of PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, the gamer gets a new generation console, but with reduced capabilities of the video chip and processor, but still a next-gen. In the absence of a 4K TV, this difference in power will not even be noticeable. After all, it is on the large resolution that most of the resource is spent.

But what about the prices of games? Not everyone buys games on release day. Gamers often expect discounts. Sales in digital stores Xbox One and PS4 are almost the same frequency, on such days the items you are interested in can be bought literally for next to nothing. There are also “live” sales, when the cost is reduced by “physical” copies in stores. More often for PS4 games.

Nintendo, on the other hand, is far from being so generous. Prices for games during sales are as low as those for PS4 and Xbox One, neither online nor in retail.

On the new consoles, games have become more expensive, and even the publishers themselves admitted it. For example, the re-release of Demon’s Souls for PS5 will cost gamers already 5,499 rubles against 3,999-4499 rubles, when new games were released at the start. Everybody was expecting an increase by a conditional 10 euros, and with the release of the new generation of consoles, publishers were able to find a reason to increase prices for games. Fair? Perhaps, given that game development is becoming more expensive and has long caught up with the film industry.

So what should you take?
If you have owned Sony game consoles in the past, you have probably already made your choice – the continuation of your favorite TV series, new parts of exclusive series, are coming out on the PlayStation 4. It is unlikely that you will be able to refuse one more meeting with your favorite heroes. Moving from PS4 to PS5? Please, here’s the compatibility with 99% of the games on the “four”, play and rejoice. Missed PS4 hits? Let’s activate PS Plus and rejoice in the 20 best games of the outgoing generation.

But that doesn’t mean the Xbox One should be bypassed. It also has its own unique projects, like the same racing Forza or the famous shooters Gears of War and Halo . Another reason to buy is the Xbox Game Pass service. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on games, this subscription with a constantly updated game library is just what you need. In addition, if you have an ordinary TV, you can safely take the budget Xbox Series S and play next-gen for 19 thousand cheaper.

An interesting trend has developed in the USA, Japan and Europe – they buy Nintendo Switch there not instead of PS4 or Xbox One, but as another set-top box. And it’s not only about exclusive games, but also about being able to play in handheld mode. If you already have a console from Microsoft or Sony and finance allows, then we recommend taking another Switch. If you choose one device, then Switch is the optimal choice for those who spend a lot of time on the road and travel, almost never being at home – Switch allows you to play anywhere. And if the console seems too bulky to justify the term “portable”, you can safely buy the Nintendo Switch Lite, which has become thinner, smaller and lighter than its predecessor, its dimensions are almost comparable to the PS Vita.