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A PS4 controller

6 questions to ask before buying a gaming console [Tech Savvy SA]

Tech Savvy SA is a series of articles on Gearburn and Memeburn that aims to deliver useful, locally relevant advice to the average South African. This time we look at the right gaming console for you…

Buying a gaming console isn’t a mindless endeavour, as they’re pricey machines and you don’t want to be left regretting your choice of platform.

Nevertheless, there are several questions you need to ask yourself before committing to a purchase.

What do my friends have?

This might be the most important question for socially inclined gamers (and in general). For starters, if you buy an Xbox One and all your buddies have PS4s, you can’t play FIFA online together (at least not yet) and the official controllers won’t work on rival consoles.

So if you want to bring your own games and controllers along to game night or merely want to play online with friends, keep this factor in mind.

What’s my budget?

xbox one,controller,microsoft

When it comes to consoles, another key factor will be what you’re willing to spend. After all, if you want to spend R4000, that leaves the Xbox One S as your only recent home console choice as of writing. The Nintendo Switch and PS4 each hover around the R5000 mark, while the 4K-capable Xbox One X and PS4 Pro sit at the R7000-R8000 tier.

If you don’t have R4000 to spare (it is plenty of cash after all) and don’t mind older games, then you should also consider the Xbox 360 or PS3. They both have huge libraries of games and can be found for R3000 and under.

Do I need a decent internet connection?

This is crucial, because many consoles have embraced digital downloads.

The Nintendo Switch’s games are much smaller in size (25GB or so) compared to the 50GB+ Xbox One and PS4 downloads. The Xbox One X and PS4 Pro up the ante with 100GB downloads, owing to 4K visual assets. And all of the consoles are increasingly pushing out hefty day one updates for games.

So if your internet connection is super-slow or features a small cap, you might want to consider a console with smaller-sized games.

Speaking of game sizes, all three consoles support storage expansion. The PS4 rules the roost with the ability to swap out the hard drive and plug in an external drive. The Xbox One also lets you plug in an external drive, while the Switch’s 32GB of storage can be augmented with microSD cards.

What games do I want to play?

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Obviously this is one of the most important questions, because there’s no point getting a console if it doesn’t have the games you want to play.

Furthermore, you should also take a look at the machine’s list of exclusive games — titles you can’t play on other consoles. List them all and compare the ones you want to play on each platform. Maybe the Xbox One isn’t worth getting if you’re only intrigued by Gears of War

Do I want to use it for media?

Many people use their gaming consoles for music and video playback, becoming one of the most popular activities on console. If you want to watch Netflix or YouTube on your new gaming machine, you might want to steer clear of the Switch then. Nintendo’s console lacks the ability to play local or streaming music/video right now.

Meanwhile, Sony and Microsoft’s last-generation and current-gen consoles support streaming services such as Netflix, Showmax and YouTube.

Will it work with my older games?

Xbox One backwards compatibility

If you’ve got older console titles and still want to play them, you’ve got two real options. You either keep the old console out or you get a machine that plays those older titles (allowing you to pack the old machine away).

The Xbox One is easily the most capable machine when it comes to backwards compatibility, playing over 350 older Xbox 360 games and counting. Popping your physical Xbox 360 disc into the Xbox One’s drive will prompt you to download a digital version of the game, the disc acting as an authentication key. Those with digital versions of games should be able to find it in their library.

Unfortunately, neither the Switch or PS4 are compatible with last-gen games, although you can buy some PS2 Classics via the PS Store.

Author Bio

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings over seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat. More