No caveats, no equivocations: Now is the time. This is the holiday where you finally buy that PlayStation 4 or Xbox One you’ve been thinking about!
- Sony / Microsoft
“But aren’t these consoles nearly three years old now?” Yes, friend, they are. And that’s precisely why now is the right time to buy one.
This is how the video game console market usually works:
- A game console-maker like Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo announces a console, a release date, and a price. The console launches at a relatively high price, and that price comes down across the next 5-10 years. As console sales decline, the cycle repeats.
We are at the perfect point in that cycle where console prices have come down dramatically, the hardware has been minorly revised to work optimally, and game developers are putting out their best work.
More directly: We’re at the perfect point in the game console cycle where you can buy a system knowing you’ll get years of use out of it. Here’s why.
The price is right: $300.
When the PlayStation 4 launched in 2013, it cost $400. When the Xbox One launched in 2013, it cost $500. In 2016, both consoles cost the far more reasonable price of $300.
Better yet, that’s the price of each console with a major game packed in. In the case of the PlayStation 4, you can snag a free copy of “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End”; in the case of the Xbox One, you can snag a free copy of “Gears of War 4.”
These are brand new games – both launched in 2016 – and they’re both fantastic. Moreover, they’re both exclusive to their respective platforms; there’s literally nowhere to play “Uncharted 4” other than the PS4.
The systems are smaller and more efficient than ever before.
- Florence Fu / Business Insider
Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 got a redesign and re-release in 2016.
The Xbox One above, for instance, is actually called the “Xbox One S” console. It’s smaller, prettier, and slightly more capable than its predecessor – the Xbox One S has support for HDR gaming (should you have a TV capable of HDR visuals), and can stream 4K video (not games).
The PlayStation 4 got its own redesign and re-release in 2016. The original PS4 was a parallelogram with sharp corners; the new PS4 is slightly slimmer, and has rounded edges. It’s otherwise functionally identical to the original.
This isn’t a new concept in the world of game hardware; every PlayStation since the original has gotten redesigned in the middle of the cycle. Microsoft’s second console, the Xbox 360, was redesigned twice. This enables console makers to re-boot sales of their system while simultaneously bringing down the manufacturing cost of their hardware. It’s a win-win: Consumers get a new, less expensive console to buy, and console makers enjoy renewed sales numbers.
There are dozens of incredible games on both consoles.
- Konami/MGS 5 trailer
After three years, the Xbox One and PlayStation are now jam-packed with great games. From “Forza Horizon 3” on Xbox One to “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End” on PlayStation 4, each console has its fair share of big “exclusive” games.
Even better: Most of the best games are on both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, so you’re not missing out if you only have one.
Incredible games like “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” and “Fallout 4” are identical on both platforms, as are new classics like “Titanfall 2” and “DOOM.” Better still: Many of these games are massively discounted at this point (and especially so during the holiday shopping season). There literally aren’t enough hours to play all of the amazing games available on both of these consoles; you’re far more limited by your own lifespan than by cost at this point.
So, which should you buy?
Let’s be clear: The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are very similar consoles. Games look good on both. They cost the same price. There are few “exclusive” games on each.
For me, in terms of daily use, I prefer the PlayStation 4. It’s a snappy system that feels modern.
That said, there’s one very important consideration you should make before deciding: backwards compatibility. A huge number of Xbox 360 games are playable on the Xbox One, either via disc or downloaded. That’s meaningful! If you ever bought any games digitally on Xbox 360, there’s a strong possibility you’ll automatically get them on the Xbox One. That’s pretty fresh!