Best Time To Buy Game Console
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We've put together a list of the typical mistakes made by those shopping for a game console. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." Other consumers have been in your shoes before, and have had to learn the hard way what not to do when selecting the platform they're going to play on.
You've undoubtedly heard a story or two about Christmas gift decisions gone awry, where a well-meaning grandparent goes out to get the perfect present and leaves the store with a new game console. On Christmas, the wrapping paper is torn away, revealing underneath... a Wii U.
A new console launch essentially acts as a death knell for the one that came before it. Developer support begins to shift away from the previous system, and newer games are built to take advantage of the more recent hardware. Eventually, game releases for that older console wind down altogether.
Much like game reviews, console reviews can give you an inside and outside look at the hardware a company is releasing, and give you sense of the experience you'll get from owning that particular system. Most reviewers have not only played a lot of games, but they've played those games on a wide variety of platforms. So their expertise is pretty valuable when it comes to identifying the strengths and weaknesses of a game console.
That same fact holds true when it comes to video games. Sure, first-person shooters are a fairly popular game genre, but there are gamers in the world who would be much happier playing a 3D platformer. And, as fate would have it there are certain game consoles that are stronger when it comes to addressing various genres than others.
Take a good, hard look at the console you're interested in to see if it offers a healthy selection of games in the genre you prefer. If you're a fan of shooters, for instance, you'll find the Xbox One and its flagship Halo series can scratch that itch. If you prefer more narrative-focused games, the PlayStation 4 offers titles like the Uncharted games and The Last of Us that go heavy on the story. And if family-friendly games are your cup of tea, you'll find plenty to like about the Switch, which plays host to Mario, Kirby, Yoshi, and more.
Imagine, for example, if you'd purchased a Nintendo Wii U specifically for its exclusive Zelda title, which became Breath of the Wild. The game was delayed several times and did eventually see the light of day. Unfortunately, the Wii U version launched day and date with the Switch version, which meant those who'd held onto a Wii U for that game found themselves staring at a brand new Nintendo system by the time they got it.
Marketing deals aren't a new thing in gaming. You can go back to the PS3/360 era to find deals between console makers and software companies, which usually include a game commercial with a particular system's logo coming at the tail end. But a shift seen in these deals more recently has introduced a new element: console-exclusive content.
When you're making the decision about which console to buy, it's a mistake to take marketing deals and console-exclusive content for a game into consideration. Why, you ask Because these marketing deals are fickle beasts, loyal only to whoever is paying for them at the time. If you look toward the Call of Duty franchise, for example, you'll find that those games started the Xbox One/PS4 generation with an Xbox marketing deal, but years later, moved over to the PlayStation side of things.
Additionally, the console-exclusive content held back for one system may not be that good. Consider the Destiny series, which has had a PlayStation marketing deal since its inception. The PlayStation-exclusive weapons and strikes are considered by some in the game's community to be weaker pieces of content (save for Year 1 Hawkmoon), and because of how Destiny's activity and vendor systems work, exclusive strikes are never "Nightfall" strikes, and exclusive weapons are never sold by Xur (a being who sells exotic weapons).
When you're deciding on which console to buy, neglecting to take stock of what your friends play on is a mistake that will severely hamper your fun. Why Because playing on different consoles means you probably won't be able to meet up and play online together. And if you and a friend enjoy swapping games back and forth, playing on two different platforms will prevent you from partaking in each other's collections.
Multiplayer gaming goes all the way back to the days of the arcade, where friends would gather around a machine and watch as two buddies mashed buttons in an attempt to one-up each other. Fast forward to modern times, though, and you'll find that a healthy amount of multiplayer action takes place online. And if you're someone who enjoys going head to head with a friend in a game of Madden, or enjoys teaming up to take on foes in Overwatch, buying the same console as your friend ensures you'll be able to play with or against them online.
Video game consoles are pretty expensive on their own, setting you back hundreds of dollars before you even get to thinking about games. Both those aren't the only costs you'll incur when you get set up for the first time. Unfortunately, buying a system itself doesn't always mean you'll get everything you need to have the best experience possible.
Take controllers, for example. Most console bundles sold today only come with one controller. But if you want to play with family or friends, you'll need to pick up another controller to facilitate that option. Controllers are regularly priced at $50 or above, so if couch co-op and versus modes are important to you, you need to budget for those extra gamepads.
For instance, some consoles handle in-game voice chat differently than others. Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 support headsets that interact directly with the console, so you can either plug one into a controller or use a supported wireless option. The Nintendo Switch, however, uses your smartphone to handle the chat side of things while using audio from the Switch console for in-game sounds. If you're still using a Nokia flip phone from 2002, you won't be able to use voice chat in Switch games. Just something to keep in mind.
You should also look at the add-ons included with a console's online service. Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have programs that offer free games every month to subscribers. These games can be accessed and played so long as you remain a subscriber to each respective online service, and can help supplement your library if you're just starting out on the platform. The Switch does not provide a similar perk yet, but has plans to add an online service later in 2018 that will offer free classic NES games to subscribers.
Released in 2013, the Xbox One faced fierce contest from the PS4 in the console wars, offering a smaller selection of exclusive games (and a hulkish design) - however, Game Pass has always been a major boon for Xbox gamers and gives the Xbox One an edge even to this day.
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Additionally, the new PlayStation console is said to be backwards compatible with PlayStation 4 games. Cerny touted its speedy load times thanks to a solid-state storage drive, and its ability to power higher-resolution games than ever before (up to 8K).
Of course, while Meta has pretty much been the most affordable entry point for VR gaming, it isn't the only game in town. HTC, for example, has the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite VR system. It had a list price of $749 at the time of publication, down from its previous list price of $899. We wouldn't be surprised to see the return of last year's Black Friday discount that dropped the Cosmos Elite to $649.
Whatever console you're purchasing this Black Friday, you'll want video games to go with it. The good news is that, once again, we should see games drop as low as $9 for digital versions and $10 each for physical copies. "Buy more" promotions will likely show up, as well. For instance, Best Buy offered a "buy two, get a third free" deal on select Nintendo Switch video games around Black Friday 2021, which was a good way to stock up.
For those who prefer PC gaming over consoles, Black Friday will also be an excellent time to pick up discounted titles. Watch for free games to pop up on sites like GOG, Epic Games, and even Amazon. It's important to note that with Amazon, you'll need to be a Prime member, as the games are typically offered as perks with Prime Gaming.
Also keep an eye out for specific franchises and companies on sale for Black Friday. Last year, Amazon discounted digital titles for The Sims to as little as $5 each, and took up to 85% off select EA digital games. Plus, Green Man Gaming took up to 54% off the Dead By Daylight franchise, so it was a good time for shoppers to pick up the base game as well as special packages with extra content.
You know your console is a good one when you can't keep it on the shelf even two years after you released it. That is the case with the PlayStation 5. A combination of chip shortages and high demand from gamers around the world has made it difficult for many to secure this next-generation console.
The new controller for the PS5 allows you to feel every step, gunshot, and surrounding movement, so you can take full control of your gaming experience. With haptic feedback, adaptable triggers, and a built-in microphone, this controller is unmatched by competitors, and it's the best we've seen in console gaming.
While games made specifically for the Xbox One are compatible with the Series X console, Microsoft has games specifically designed for the Series X and S consoles that reduce load times and showcase 120fps capabilities. While playing with such a high frame rate, you can enjoy 3D spatial audio so you know what's around you at all times. 59ce067264