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Game On: Thinking of buying a new game console? I can help

Although major video game releases have slowed somewhat over the past two years due to the pandemic forcing most development teams to abruptly switch to working from home, 2021 has been a great year for games, and 2022 surely will be too.

With that and the holiday season in full swing, I thought it might be a good time to write a quick buy guide for gaming hardware. And if you’re wondering why I’m writing this piece after Black Friday, even then, game consoles are rarely on sale.

The latest addition is the Nintendo Switch OLED, which released in October for $ 350. With the only advantages over the base model being a slightly larger, higher contrast screen, Ethernet port, and upgraded docking station, it’s frankly a terrible deal for existing Switch owners. But for people who don’t have one yet, an extra $ 50 over the base model is more than reasonable.

After the Wii abruptly collapsed and its successor, the Wii U, collapsed upon its arrival, I wasn’t too optimistic about Nintendo’s future, but the Switch has been a tremendous success for company, and it’s not hard to see why – it’s a hybrid TV or portable machine with a massive and diverse game library.

With the Switch initially released in 2017, it will likely have a few years to go before it becomes obsolete. Its main advantages are portability, accessibility, and a great mix of notable third-party games, tons of indie hits, and of course proprietary Nintendo titles like Metroid Dread and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The main drawbacks are its inferior graphics capabilities and the higher cost of the games compared to its competition.

The PlayStation 5 was released late last year, but you’ll still be hard pressed to find one due to the global chip shortage still plaguing the hardware industry. With scalpers aggressively selling PS5s, your best bet is to download an app like HotStock and get notifications as soon as a few are available online.

This is a bit of a surprise since there aren’t many PS5 titles out there yet, but people are understandably loyal to Sony – they have yet to reach # 1 in hardware sales in any console generation. , and that’s largely because they always happen. with exclusive quality titles. Ratchet & Clank, God of War, The Last of Us, Uncharted, LittleBigPlanet, Bloodborne – the list goes on.

Sony also receives many third-party games. At the end of the day, PlayStation has the most variety and amount of games every time, and the PS5 will likely be the same.

Then there is the Xbox. Microsoft missed the 2013 version of the Xbox One, and they’re still picking up the pieces. Ironically, this is great news for consumers, who are reaping the rewards of their “nice guy” act.

Microsoft has rigorously supported backward compatibility. While the PS5 will run “most” of the PS4 games, the Xbox Series X | S will run all Xbox One games, most Xbox 360 titles, and even a handful of original Xbox games. Some older versions even got fixes to look better than ever with frame rate and resolution improvements.

There’s also Game Pass, which is a Netflix-like subscription for Xbox owners. A cost of $ 15 / month gives you unlimited access to over 100 quality titles, with new additions pouring in every few days. I was initially skeptical about the service, but it allowed me to try out a lot of great games that I would never have played otherwise. It also saved me the remorse of some potential buyers – looking at you, Back 4 Blood.

The Xbox Series X is scalped the same way as the PS5, but an S Series is easy to find. It’s not as powerful and lacks a disk drive, but it’s an amazing console for $ 300.

It depends on your personal preferences. If you want couch co-op and iconic Nintendo games, go for a Switch. If you want as many games as possible, buy a PlayStation. And if you like backward compatibility or want to try Game Pass, go for Xbox. Each console has its own strengths, which is why there are still three main competitors all these years after the creation of the video game industry.

Riordan Zentler can be contacted at [email protected]