Can There Only Be One?
Throughout the many generations of gaming history there have almost always been multiple powerful gaming devices to choose from. Each with their own unique approach to gaming, exclusive titles and ease of access, some may find it difficult to choose between the options we have among us today.
While in 2018 it’s not uncommon for households to have multiple consoles available, there are many either unable to find the means (time, cost, etc.) to afford more than one gaming system, or still looking for their way into the exciting medium. From the Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony three-way “console war” (though, I’ve never been a fan of that term), dominant PC rigs to handheld mobile gaming – there are plenty of options open for anyone willing to take a dive into video games. Let’s have a quick breakdown of what to expect with each system available today.
Microsoft Xbox One
With Microsoft in their third generation of home consoles with the Xbox One they looked to revolutionize the way we game in the future. Have they succeeded? Sort of. While the list of exclusive support is at the top of anyone’s complaint list, there’s still plenty of positives to take in from the multi-billion dollar company’s gaming brand. With easily the best multiplayer experience in the console realm of gaming, the Xbox One is where gamers meet to interact with one-another in extraordinary online experiences.
While the exclusive list of Xbox One games compared to the PS4 or Switch is substantially less impressive, what is on the list helps showcase the sheer performance factor of the Xbox One, and most recently the mid-cycle upgrade – the Xbox One X. With a harder focus on multiplayer experiences and impressive performance stats, the Xbox One delivers like no other console to date. Games like PlayerUnknown’s Battleground, Forza Motorsport 7 and most recently Sea of Thieves, Xbox One owners have a diverse library of multiplayer experiences.
To add to the revolutionizing talk about the Xbox brand, Microsoft has also premiered the impressive Xbox One X dubbed ‘the most powerful console ever’. There’s no mistaking how impressively sound the combination of a 4K screen with the One X really is until viewing it with your own eyes, and at the moment that can only be done with Xbox One owners. Though they may be left behind in the VR race, the absolutely gorgeous visuals are a technological feat all in its own.
Microsoft has shown they are dedicated to reinventing how we, as a community, play our games. With the price of new AAA titles breaking the bank every day, week or month a new title is released, it begs the question ‘how much more costly will our favorite titles continue to grow?’ Well, Microsoft is hoping to answer this prudent question with their latest software subscription – Xbox Game Pass. With a revolving library of both new and old Xbox One games, for an extremely generous fee players will have a slew of games to download and play without all of the fuss of shelling out hundreds of dollars on new titles every year. While still early in its lifespan Game Pass has already seen a good amount of popular titles, such as Gear of War 4, Halo Wars 2 and most recently Sea of Thieves.
The Xbox brand may be losing this generation’s “console war” in terms of sales figures and exclusive content (you know, the important stuff), that doesn’t mean there’s still not a lot to be excited about for the future of Xbox.
Nintendo has been a trademark in the gaming industry for over 30 years running now. Through the many ups and downs (mostly ups) the company has shown off their impressive ability to think outside the box and deliver something completely innovative to the gaming community. The Nintendo Switch is the latest example of this, giving players and fans a choice of traditional home console gaming and mobile gaming in an impressive hybrid design.
With the unique design of combining the impressive tech of home consoles with the compact design of mobile gaming, the Switch closes the gap even further between home and mobile gaming. Though Nintendo Switch still may not contend with the other big guys in terms of visuals and performance, the Switch did help reel them a lot closer. The HD graphics showcase Nintendo’s biggest mascots in beautiful high-definition which is even more impressive considering you can now take games like Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey and Splatoon 2 on the go with no limitations like the Wii-U.
While Nintendo’s primary focus of gaming has historically been geared toward a more family friendly environment, the Big N has stepped up to the plate to help deliver a solid dose of mature rated games to the Switch as well. No longer is Nintendo a brand dedicated to cartoon styled games and child-like stories. Games like Skyrim, Doom and Wolfenstein II are all either on their way or available now for the impressive hybrid console.
Still, well after a year of since its debut the Switch has yet to see any advancement in online capabilities. The eShop has a growing selection of solid titles, but the lack of the in-demand Virtual Console leaves a few fans weary. With no real online community or friends list either, much of the multiplayer crowd may want to steer away from this single player driven console. That’s not to say Nintendo won’t be adding online support in the future; in fact quite the opposite. But as to when the online support will be added is still anyone’s guess.
The Nintendo Switch is perfect for a much broader audience when compared to Nintendo’s previous consoles within the past two decades. Adding more third-party support certainly helps build a diverse library, and when blended with Nintendo’s big name first party titles – the Switch seems ready for a bright future ahead in the industry. Captivating gamers both on the go and those who relax at home, the Switch can appease just about every type of gamer, both casual and hardcore.
Sony Playstation 4
Exclusives, exclusives, exclusives right? That seems to be the most prominent argument as to why you should own a PS4 console today. While that’s certainly a substantial argument for any gamer looking for some of the best experiences in gaming to date – there’s still a few other positives that comes with owning the current gaming generation’s leading console.
Aside from the massive amount of exclusives like Uncharted 4, Bloodborne and Horizon Zero Dawn, there’s also a few other handy features that work well with casual, or even non-gamers. PS Vue is Sony’s answer to broadcast television with several plans from local and popular channels to premium movies and sports channels. Each plan is also moderately priced when compared to standard television packages. A decent app for anyone looking to utilize their PS4 outside of the gaming realm.
Getting back into the video game spectrum, the PS4 also has Sony’s modest streaming library of PS3/PS4 games with their PS Now app. While not on the bar of Microsoft’s Game’s Pass as far as new releases goes, there are over 600 titles to choose from in the PS Now’s library; all available to stream. The price of the streaming app is a little steep when going month-to-month at $19.99/mo, but as the library continues to grow we’re hoping the subscription might just turn into something worth buying down the line.
Sony’s Playstation 4 also joins in on the next wave of the future of gaming in virtual reality. PSVR is the medium’s most affordable VR technology, but that’s not to say it’s also the worst. The PS4 produces one of VR’s most impressive pieces of equipment showcasing just how monumental the introduction of VR to modern gaming really is. With consistent updates on both hardware and software, Sony is showing the industry jus thow dedicated they are to the new wave of gaming in virtual reality.
Of course, all of these unique feature for the PS4 would mean nothing if it weren’t for the excellent selection of Sony exclusive titles. The industry has seen not just tons of awesome releases appearing solely on Sony’s gaming console, but award-winning single-player exclusives as well. With the wide selection of various PS4 models there’s definitely a PS4 for anyone looking to dive head first into Sony’s 4th generation home console.
The realm of home gaming consoles is a vibrant and colorful one. With so many gaming devices to choose from, why can’t there be just one system that plays everything. Well my friends, welcome to PC gaming.
The amount of games and services readily available on PC systems is vastly impressive compared to consoles, including top-notch console exclusive games and PC exclusive titles as well. And if a particular game can’t be found in one of the many digital gaming markets on the web, PC systems are also heavily customizable and modified for such occasions. While this may take a bit of a technological background to comprehend, PC is by far the most diverse way to game around. Unfortunately, it’s also the most expensive.
You pay for what you get though. Shelling out a massive amount of income to upgrade your gaming experience with a serious PC rig is a worthy investment, especially for those on the fence with the many selections in the console market. With a library containing both multiplatform AAA releases, a massive amount of indie releases, most of which are only available on PC and an interesting variety of broswer/stream based games, there’s literally something for everyone in the PC world.
Your biggest downfall when going PC, as mentioned is price. While there are some pretty decent rigs that won’t cost you much more than the price of a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X, keeping your system up to date can be a continuous draught of money throughout the generations. Not to mention if you’re planning to keep your rig set up with the latest in hardware, the points really begin to add up over the years. However, adding to the quality of gaming there’s also multiple PC compatible VR sets, inluding the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift – which are not available on any other gaming system released.
That being said, if you’re looking for both performance and sheer quantity of games PC may be the best route to go. Supported by numerous digital game stores and no need for costly subscription services to play online, PC gaming is, and has always been a top-tier method of creating some of the most exciting and memorable gaming experiences.
Handhelds – Nintendo DS/ Sony PS Vita/Mobile
With all of this talk about home gaming, some of us just don’t have enough time in the day to enjoy the living room experience. Thankfully, I do. However, those who don’t aren’t left in the dark without the enjoyment of the booming video game medium.
For years now mobile gaming has been supported by, not only the top console manufacturers, but our own cell phone company’s as well. Thousands of quirky games are readily available all over app stores for today’s wide selection of smartphones. Peggle, Angry Birds, Pokemon GO and Diner Dash are some of the all-time classics from the era of mobile phone gaming. With the technology only increasing further, we’re starting to see some real impressive ports directly installed into our pocket.
Of course, the casual finesse of the free-to-play apps on smartphones circulates around society slowly morphing unknowing souls into mindless zombies – this hasn’t stopped the big name console contenders from joining in on the mobile party either. We’re already well aware of Nintendo’s involvement in the mobile market with the recent success of their hybrid console the Switch, but there’s also their long-running dedicated handheld – the Nintendo DS. With over 1,000 titles available – and what seems like as many DS iterations – Nintendo provides one of the greatest handheld experiences around.
Sony, too has dabbled a bit in the handheld market with numerous innovative designs from the highly acclaimed PSP to the vastly unpopular, but ultimately more powerful PS Vita. While the DS has covered almost everything over the course of nearly 12 years, the PS Vita took on the early role of bringing console-type gaming on the go. With impressive technology the Vita is capable of producing slick high-definition visuals on the pocket-sized 6-inch screen. And with a healthy dose of JRPG and Sony exclusive titles, the Vita – regardless of sales – is still an impressive machine for gamers on the go.
The Hardest Part is Choosing
Regardless if you’re a casual gamer or diehard; console aficionado or PC guru; stay at home type or traveling mobile gamer – there’s something for everybody in the world of video games. The hardest part is figuring out which one is right for you. They all have their unique ups and downs, but more or less, all of which serve the same purpose within the vast medium of entertainment.