It may not seem like it, but purchasing a console is actually quite a commitment.
You’re not just going to set yourself back up to a few hundred bucks buying this piece of hardware, but you’re also going to be tying yourself to a specific platform that can play a certain range of games and can play other types of games.
Also, keep in mind that some games – even with very hot titles – are not available on certain platforms. A lot of people who are new to purchasing a console are completely clueless about this. They find out until it’s too late.
They’re all excited when they get their console. They buy the first few games or enjoy the titles that are shipped with the unit.
But once that is over, they remember that they’ve heard of a very hot game that their friends can’t stop talking about. So they try to buy it, and it turns out that their console doesn’t support it. This happens too often.
It’s really a good idea to keep 11 things in mind when purchasing a console.
You shouldn’t just focus on the price or availability. You should also look at this major purchasing decision from as many angles as possible because this is a long-term commitment, whether you are aware of it or not.
Here are the 11 factors that you need to keep in mind.
Please remember that not all consoles are specialized in certain categories of games. There are many hot titles that are completely absent on certain consoles.
Maybe they are tied by contract to one console over another, or they simply don’t think it’s worth it to port their title to that specific console. To avoid this problem, be clear on the type of game you prefer.
Are you a sports game fanatic? Or are shooter games more your speed? Do adventure games thrill you? Or do platformers and franchises make your day?
It’s up to you. Make sure this all lines up with the kind of platform you’re thinking of buying.
It’s easy to think that purchasing a console simply means figuring out what you’re willing to spend for such a unit. Well, it goes beyond that. You have to look at the total cost of ownership.
Not only do you have to shell out your hard-earned bucks for the console itself, but you also have to consider the costs of gaming. This includes the game titles, peripherals, as well as online gaming services and subscriptions.
It goes without saying that you should be clear on what you plan to spend and stick by it. The last thing that you want to see happen is for your gaming hobby to be a money pit.
What kind of graphics would you be happy with? 4K, 1080p, or 720p? Do you want smooth gameplay? Do you consider yourself a power user? Do you see yourself spending days in front of a console?
These are key questions that you need to ask because different consoles have different markets. It all boils down to the performance expected from each product.
Make sure that you’re clear as to the performance that you expect, so you don’t get disappointed when purchasing a console.
This concept refers to games that can be played from previous versions of your device. For example, you can pick up titles for the PlayStation 3 and then slap them onto your PlayStation 4 with no hassles. That’s backward compatibility.
There are, of course, many classic or retro games that you’d still love to play with your modern-day console. The problem is that many consoles are not all that backward compatible. Maybe they can support the previous generation but no further than that.
You want to make sure and figure out just how backward compatible the unit you’re considering is.
Online Service Availability
If you’d like to get access to online games, it’s important that the console offers some sort of online gaming support. You also have to be clear on how much everything will cost.
Finally, you might want to do your research on just how stable the online gaming network service providers connected to your prospective console are. Do they offer cloud storage? Do they have downtime guarantees?
Try to compare the differences between online services tied to different console platforms.
Some devices can play music, movies and stream videos and content online. Obviously, the more multimedia your console supports, the better off you will be.
You should also consider streaming features like recording content and maybe even live TV.
What are your requirements when it comes to controlling the game? Be clear on what your preferences are. Select a console with a controller that you are physically comfortable with.
Maybe you’re the type of person who needs a lot of elbow room when you’re playing. Maybe you get really excited and would like to jump around and swing your arms as a monster is chasing you in the game. Well, not all controllers will be able to handle that.
The good news is you can check when purchasing a console to see if there is a third-party controller option. The more open-ended the third-party controller support is for the platform, the more you should consider it.
Storage size is a big deal because this is all your data will be stored. As you probably already know, games continue to blow up in terms of size. When you download or install them, they require some disk space.
This is especially true if you’re saving a game. Some games are very sloppy when it comes to their saved states, and they take up a whole lot of real estate.
Make sure you pay close attention to maximum disk capacity. Also, see if there are options to add extra SDDS if needed. You also have to think about how much initial storage space you need and what you can possibly scale up to and plan accordingly.
As virtual reality gaming sets continue to become popular and gain traction, you might want to add these functionalities to your device. The same goes with special cameras, Kinect, motion detection system, steering wheelsets for racing games, extra controllers, and other peripherals.
A little bit of scalability can definitely level up the versatility and long-term playable life of your console.
When purchasing a console, pay close attention to which titles are exclusive for that specific platform.
For example, uncharted is exclusively available for PlayStation. Halo is only available on Xbox. It’s important to figure out which franchises you like to play and then go with the console that supports them.
The good news is that a lot of hot titles are migrating away from this model. A lot of the big games out there are multi-platform. So you can play them on PlayStation, as well as on Xbox. This is a good development.
One of the most significant deciding factors when purchasing a console boils down to your existing gaming friends. If you’ve met them on Xbox, your choices are definitely limited. The same goes with friends that you meet through PlayStation.
If you don’t have that many friends with each network, then you have a lot more leeway on which platform to choose from.
Still, one key factor in figuring out which console to go with is the existing community of friends that you have. Online gaming can definitely be a lot of fun, but you need friends from all over the world to make it happen.
So if you already have an established network of friends, and they tend to be on one platform, you’re pretty much stuck. But if you’re willing to make new friends on another platform that offers a longer list of advantages, then you should go for it.