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Which next generation console should you buy?

We are slowly but surely approaching a new wave of next generation consoles. Sony have already pushed the boat out by announcing the PS4 in their PlayStation Event press conference. Microsoft as of now are still playing their cards close to their chest and Nintendo have already gone ahead and released the Wii-U. The Wii-U in my opinion doesn’t count as next generation – so I’ll class them as a ‘new generation console’ they pride themselves under.

Some people have already gone ahead and made their mind up about which console they will buy – this is evident by their attitude towards their favourite console including comments they make mentioning things like ‘first day buy’ on every positive article related to their favourite console. I was also like this previous generation but have decided to keep an open mind this generation! Although I do plan to buy all the next generation consoles as I did this generation.

So for those of you who are thinking: How can you possibly write an article about which console to buy when Microsoft haven’t even announced the new Xbox yet? Well carry on reading the article to understand why there is more to a purchase than just the console’s specifications and features or how great the console looks.

The Games

This is the main reason we gamers buy consoles – to play games! So your preference of games have a great impact on which console you are likely to buy.

So if your favourite game series(es) include Halo, Fable, Forza, Gears of War etc. Then you may be more likely to buy the next Xbox first. On the other hand if you prefer game series(es) such as Uncharted, God of War, Little Big Planet etc. You would probably lean towards buying the PS4 first. This theory can also be applied to your favourite game developers and their relationship with the console manufacturer.

One thing the current gaming generation has taught me is that most of the great games were actually multi-platform. So these games could be played and enjoyed on the console of your choosing. So for example game titles such as Call of Duty 4, Assassins Creed, Batman, Grand Theft Auto and plenty more.

Also whilst researching metacritic scores for the best games of all time for both the PS3 and Xbox 360; results show that the majority of the games that made the top of the list were actually multi-platform! Of course console exclusives did make the list but the list itself was made up of mostly multi-platform titles as illustrated below:

I have blanked out the PS3 and Xbox 360 exclusives from both lists in the images above leaving only the multi-platform titles visible in the above images. As you can see both lists are mostly dominated by multi-platform titles.

The online service

Have you got an Xbox Live or a PlayStation Plus subscription? If so it is likely that these subscription based services can be migrated and still be used on your next generation console. You may even have a lot of purchased content through the online service such as games that may be accessible on your next generation console.

Xbox Live and PSN also keep track of in game achievements via Gamerpoints and Trophies. So if you’ve spent a lot of time trying to get as many gamerpoints or trophies as possible, then you might not want to throw your efforts away by joining the other side. As these statistics will still be available to add to on your next generation console.

A factor of the online service that might cause switching console this generation would be the ability play online for free. As you know PSN offers gamers to play online for free in comparison to Xbox Live where you need to be an Xbox Live Gold subscriber. So if your getting sick and tired of paying the annual fee it might be time to move on. However with that said you might want to see what Microsoft have to say as they might be willing to offer a similar service on Xbox Live this time around.

Your online and real friends

As mentioned previously a lot of the great games this generation were multi-platform; so if you decide to buy a different console to your friends then you can say bye-bye to playing online together. So if you are one of those gamers who play a lot of Call of Duty with your friends or any other multiplayer dominated game then switching sides would not be a great choice, unless of course you decide to switch console as a group.

This might also be an opportunity for some to buy the same console as your friends this time round. As I’m sure a lot of you may claim to be better than your friends at a certain game; so it might be time to put your money where your mouth is. Gone would be the times of claiming you aren’t used to the controller and other excuses you guys can come up with.

Your console peripherals

Do you own a lot of peripherals for your PS3 or Xbox 360? If so then chances are you might be able to use these with the next generation consoles too. The Wii U is a great example as it allows you to use the wii-mote controllers from the original Wii; thus saving you money in terms of not having to buy new controllers all over again for multiplayer in the household.

So if you own many controllers or other peripherals such as the PS-Move then you might want to hang on to those for a while as they might be of use next generation!

The price point

Remember when the PS3 was announced for a high price $599/£425? It didn’t launch very well especially in the UK where Sony decided to give away 50 inch Sony television sets and a cab home for everyone who made it to the launch event in London. On the other hand the Xbox 360 sold out during the Christmas period and people were running around like headless chickens trying to get hold of the console.

As you can see from the above scenario the price-point plays a vital role; especially for the somewhat casual gamers. As of now the PS4 and the next Xbox console do not have a price point set, but these price points will probably be announced during the press conference of E3 2013. Hopefully both consoles will be affordable and priced around the £300 mark to make things very interesting in the console race; console bundles will also play a big part in terms of sales and value.

The prices for the games themselves are another concern; the console with the cheaper games would also be a vital point when buying a console. But in my opinion I think both consoles will offer games priced similarly for competitive reasons; this of course is down to the deal between manufacturers and developers.

Conclusion

I believe when deciding to buy a console this generation; it is important to buy the console that gives you the most bang for your buck. This can be in terms of whether the console would be backwards compatible with older games and peripherals and the actual price point of the actual console and games. Of course your social ring also has a direct impact on which console you would more likely lean towards.

If your like me; then your best bet would be to buy all the next generation consoles! This doesn’t mean you have to get them all on the first day of release neither; so whenever you have spare cash lying around and find a really good deal I say go for it!

If you think there are other reasons I might have missed in this article to buy one console over the other; why not let me know in the comment section below.