It’s time for a new gaming console
For a family as big as ours, tax season means a return is coming our way.
And for a gamer like me: that means it’s time to pull the trigger on a new gaming console. Here were the options before me:
Nintendo Wii U. Xbox One. Playstation 4. Gaming PC. Playstation Vita.
Before looking to the future, I had to evaluate my current console collection. Let’s set the stage with the systems I currently own:
Nintendo Wii: This old veteran is still trucking along after 8 years, and it’s still a great way for the kids to play games & fire up Netflix.
Xbox 360: I’m reluctant to get rid of it because of the 60+ digital games I have downloaded on there. Also, it’s our most reliable DVD player.
Nintendo 3DS: Not much to say here except… this handheld rules. It may not have the sleek design of other modern devices, but it has an amazing library of games.)
PC: And by “PC” I mean “old laptop that can handle maybe 50% of the games on Steam. It gets some use, but the set up can be a hassle. Also, the hardware is limited, so it’s not a true “next-gen” experience.
Evaluating the new gaming systems
Like any good American, I decided to make a Pros & Cons list. Each of the options would have brought so much joyful gaming, but there were clear advantages when I considered my personal preferences.
Here is how it all shook out:
5th place: Playstation Vita
The Vita is the best-looking handheld hardware available. It feels good. It looks amazing, and it has a good (not great) library of games. The counterpoint to that? I already have a handheld console with a crazy catalog of games to get through.
Biggest Pro: Amazing handheld technology
Biggest Con: I already have a very capable handheld console.
4th place: Gaming PC
The laptop that I currently use to bear the brunt of my PC gaming is a workhorse. That thing has been lugged around, dropped, spilled on, and overused, and it’s still chugging along. Although nowhere near optimal, it still allows me to try out some Steam Sale games & indie titles that are PC exclusive. There just aren’t that many Triple-A PC exclusive experiences that I’m missing out on.
Biggest Pro: Best & most affordable game library
Biggest Con: The time & money it takes to keep an up-to-date PC
3rd place: Wii U
I’ve always loved Nintendo. I’m still itching to play some of the fantastic 1st party Wii U games from the past 2 years. But I still have a Wii and 3DS. I have plenty of Mario & Zelda experiences already at my fingertips. Would my kids enjoy it? Sure! Can they tell the difference between a Wii and Wii U? No! I’m 99% sure I’ll buy a Wii U at some point… but not now.
Biggest Pro: Best 1st party games by a mile
Biggest Con: Doesn’t offer much more than I already have access too.
2nd place: Xbox One
My Xbox 360 is one of my favorite gaming systems. I remember playing Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare on Xbox Live for the first time… it was intoxicating. The Arcade of Summer games were almost always worth a download. Most of my gaming friends had a 360. It combined multiple forms of entertainment into one system, but it still felt like it was designed for games. The Xbox One looks and feels like… an upgraded version of the exact same thing. It didn’t feel new – only improved.
Biggest Pro: Has the newest & prettiest games (with a solid selection of exclusives)
Biggest Con: Doesn’t seem like a big enough jump from a 360
1st place: Playstation 4
I skipped the entire PS3 generation. I’ve never played Uncharted, Infamous, Ni No Kuni, Little Big Planet, or any other Sony-exclusive game. It’s been over 8 years since I sold my PS2 to buy a Wii, and I have some gaming time to make up for. Between Playstation Plus and Playstation Now, I had an instant catalog of games to work through. Not to mention, Last of Us Remastered came with the system, and I had it on good authority that it alone was worth the price of the console.
Biggest Pro: Dozens of new games & experiences at my fingertips right from the start.
Biggest Con: Bundle deals weren’t quite as good as Microsoft & Nintendo options.
That’s my final answer
So my decision was made. At that point it was just a matter of finding the best place to make the purchase. I ended up going with Target because of a 10%-off coupon and Buy-One-Get-One-Free deal on all Ubisoft games. I took my PS4 home, set it up, plugged it in, and fired it up.
For a few moments it was like I was 15 again, bringing my Nintendo 64 home. There’s nothing like the magic of playing Super Mario 64 for the first time, so it’s a tough comparison to make. But the opening sequence of The Last of Us was a different type of “magical.”
I’m a few weeks in, and it still feels like the right choice.
What console did you buy? Why? TELL ME EVERYTHING.