Which Console Is Best For You? A 2021 Gaming Buyer’s Guide
It’s fair to say that the console market is simultaneously much simpler and much more complex than it once was. Any gamer who came of age in the 1980s will remember the absolute flood that engulfed the gaming market; it was almost impossible to distinguish between consoles back then, with hearsay the only way of determining what the best choice was. Now, things are much more streamlined, with the only three major console competitors being Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. However, with different models and other considerations, it’s hard to know where to start. Whether you’re upgrading or buying your first gaming console, here’s our buyer’s guide to grabbing a console in 2021.
Reasons to buy a Nintendo Switch
First up, we have Nintendo’s hybrid handheld and TV console. It’s probably best not to think of Nintendo as a direct competitor to either Sony or Microsoft; it’s offering a different service, so you can always buy a Switch alongside a “main” gaming console. Be that as it may, here are reasons you may wish to buy a Nintendo Switch.
You want a portable console
The Switch’s principal selling point is the ability to carry it around with you. While the Wii U also had portable functionality, it was much more cumbersome and annoying than the Switch, which is elegant and convenient. If it’s important for you to carry your gaming system around with you, then the Switch is absolutely the only option you should consider.
You want a low-maintenance console
It might not be important to a lot of people, but the Switch takes much less maintenance to clean and care for than its bigger and more powerful cousins. There are fewer ports to clear out, and the Switch overall just attracts less dust and dirt, even though you’re holding it a lot of the time.
This Betway infographic demonstrates just how much better the Switch is at repelling dirt and bacteria than the other consoles are, so if that’s a consideration, the Switch is for you.
You want to play Nintendo games
It sounds like an obvious point, but if you want to play Nintendo games, you’re going to need to buy a Switch. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, and more can only be enjoyed on Nintendo’s console, so if you love those franchises, you’ll need to pick one up.
Reasons to buy a PlayStation 5
Ah, the elusive PlayStation 5. At time of writing, it’s almost impossible to actually find a PS5 in the wild; they’re rarer than hen’s teeth and several times more expensive, and when they do actually appear, they’re snapped up by eager customers and scalpers. Sigh. Still, Sony’s new machine is excellent. Here are some reasons you may want to buy one.
You want the best exclusives
There’s no doubt about it: the PS5 is home to the best exclusives around. Demon’s Souls is heading up the pack right now, but if you want to play Final Fantasy XVI, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, or Ghostwire: Tokyo and you don’t have access to a gaming PC, then the PS5 is going to be the place to play those games (for now, at least).
You want to play your PS4 library
The PlayStation 5 fully supports backwards compatibility with the PS4, so everything you can play on that console is also playable on the PS5. If you’ve got an extensive PS4 library and you don’t want to consign it to the wastebasket of history, then the PS5 is the place to be. It’ll even boost some games and improve performance.
You like advanced controllers
The DualSense controller is unquestionably the best piece of hardware Sony has created in a very, very long time. Its haptic feedback and adaptive triggers make physical actions in games feel incredibly satisfying, and what’s more, it’s just a darn well-designed controller. It beats the Xbox offering hands down.
Reasons to buy an Xbox Series X or Series S
Microsoft has created two different consoles for consumers to check out in this console generation. The Xbox Series X is the company’s powerhouse, all advanced graphics tech and ray tracing. The Series S, by comparison, is the smaller budget offering; it doesn’t do as much as the Series X, but it’s great for those on a tighter budget and it’ll play every Series X game (albeit with some limitations). Here’s why you might want to buy one of these beauties.
You’re an Xbox Game Pass subscriber
If you’re a PC gamer or an Xbox fan, there is literally no reason not to be subscribed to Xbox Game Pass. This staggeringly valuable service offers over a hundred games for a flat monthly fee, and the list is constantly being updated. There are major franchises like Halo, Gears of War, Final Fantasy, and more available through Game Pass, so if you have it, you need an Xbox console. End of story.
You don’t quite have the money for a PS5
Xbox is pitching its Series S console as the budget-conscious way to enter the next console generation, and it’s a cheaper proposition than Sony’s discless PS5. If you don’t quite have the money for a Series X but you still want to play next-gen games, the Series S could be an excellent option.
You have an extensive Xbox One library
Just like the PS5, both of Microsoft’s consoles are backwards compatible with the previous generation, and they can play everything the Xbox One can as well. If you have an extensive Xbox library and you want to make sure you can keep playing it, then you should be thinking about picking up an Xbox Series X or Series S.