A reader ranks the three current video game consoles in terms value for money, quality of games, and more – but which comes out on top?
As someone fortunate to own a PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S, and a Switch, and with this week’s topic for the Inbox, I thought I’d weigh in with my opinion on the subject of console wars.
I can assure you, however, that I have no allegiance to any system in particular. For me all the systems have different strengths and weaknesses. I’ve rated which system I think performs best in a number of categories.
Best value can be something difficult to quantify, depending on how many games you intend to play and whether you like to play games on day one or are happy to wait for a discount.
Sony games are obviously the most expensive on release but usually have a significant discount on them after a period of 6-12 months, so for some this might be the best option. Nintendo games are a fair amount cheaper but rarely have a significant discount even years down the line.
For many people though, Game Pass is probably the best option when it comes to value, with day one Xbox exclusives free to play on release, along with other third party games and indies. It doesn’t hurt that the Xbox Series S is the cheapest next gen console either.
This is hard to predict as no one knows what the future holds but it’s probably a decent bet to say Microsoft and Sony are unlikely to release new hardware any time soon, other than incremental upgrades. Sony also intend to release the PlayStation VR 2 in the next year, which might give the PlayStation 5 a slight edge over Xbox in terms of future-proofing.
On the other hand, now might not be the best time to buy a new Switch as it’s heavily rumoured that Nintendo are to release a new console sometime in the coming year and whether it will be compatible with current games is unclear.
Winner: PlayStation 5
Best for the whole family
I don’t see any other winner here but Nintendo and can’t see how anyone can argue otherwise. Sure Sony has Sackboy and ahem Knack but I can’t think of any other games that are child friendly or party types games for the whole family. Xbox is pretty much the same.
Nintendo on the other hand has various Mario games, Kirby, and Luigi’s Mansion suitable for kids, not to mention party/family games such as Mario Party, Mario Kart, Splatoon, and Nintendo Switch Sports that those less familiar with video games will enjoy. Nintendo are so far ahead on this aspect it’s not even a contest.
Best for old games
Again, this is a pretty clear-cut win for Microsoft. The Switch isn’t compatible with any old Nintendo games, which is why they’ve picked clean the Wii U back catalogue in terms of re-releases. Sure, there’s Nintendo Switch Online but it’s a pretty bare bones collection and by the sounds of it doesn’t run that well.
The PlayStation 5 at least runs PlayStation 4 games and there are a number of PlayStation 3 games on PS Plus but PlayStation 1 and 2 era titles are almost non-existent.
Xbox One Series X on the other hands is backwards compatible with all previous Xbox titles and some have even received free updates; additionally, previous gen controllers are compatible. Xbox is the clear winner in this category.
Xbox has the quick resume feature for the Xbox Series S and X, otherwise there’s not really any other new features to talk of. The interface is the same and the controller is very similar to last gen.
Sony on the other hand has an updated interface, brand new DualSense controller, and 3D audio to boast about. And of course the upcoming PlayStation VR2. For me the winner here is Nintendo. Being able to play the Switch out and about and upstairs lying in bed is a game-changer. The Wii U wasn’t the best, but they nailed the hybrid console concept this time around.
Best for games
For me this is where Xbox falls down a bit. Xbox Series X/S owners obviously have access to previous Xbox titles and whilst Xbox had some success with titles such as Forza, Gears Of War, and Ori during the Xbox One era they were eclipsed by Sony and Nintendo for quality exclusive titles. Things might change in the future but for now I’d say Xbox are still playing catch up.
PlayStation 5 owners on the other hand have access to some of the best games of the last generation, such as God Of War, The Last Of Us, Spider-Man, and Horizon Zero Dawn, among other titles that still have a dedicated following such as Days Gone and Ghost Of Tsushima. Things have also started reasonably strongly, given the limitations of the pandemic, this generation, with games such as Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Returnal, Demon’s Souls, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart; as well as the upcoming God Of War Ragnarök.
Nintendo has also released some great games for the Switch, such as Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and Metroid Dread. Nintendo also seem to be having a productive year with Kirby And The Forgotten Land, Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Mario Strikers: Battle League Football, Xenoblade Chronicles 3, and Nintendo Switch Sports already released and with Splatoon 3 and Bayonetta 3 due before the end of the year.
Sony, however, have been criticised for sticking too much with a tried and tested formula with their exclusives, namely third person action adventure type games. Nintendo on the other hand I feel have relied too heavily on re-releasing old games for the Switch, such as Zelda: Skyward Sword and New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, at times, as opposed, to bringing out new content.
Although Nintendo has more variety in their exclusives, Sony seem to release new original content more consistently. For both these reasons I’d call this a draw.
Winner: PlayStation 5/Switch
By reader matc7884
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