Next-gen video game console buyer's guide

| February 28, 2014
Next-gen consoles
Five Points to Consider Before Buying a New Gaming Console
Have you picked up a next generation gaming console yet? The past year has included some of the greatest breakthroughs in mainstream gaming's recent history, and the industry has never been more popular than it is today. 
I get it. You're reading this article on and it's not about phones or mobile devices at all. But hang with me on this one, because this topic has become important to both casual and hardcore gamers. And just like we do with the latest mobile tech, we PhoneDoggers want to share our insight and helpful tips to help make your living room experience as good as your mobile experience.
We Don't Just Play Games Anymore
It's no secret that we don't buy game consoles solely for their games anymore. No sir, these aren't your grandma's consoles. That's why we have to consider what we want out of our game consoles when it comes to media consumption. All three of the latest consoles offer great downloadable content and streaming capabilities, but the Xbox One stands above the rest in this category. 
The last thing I want to do is imply that the Xbox One doesn't make gaming its priority. What it does is build upon a great gaming foundation with the most expansive set of options for media consumption. With features like the ability to switch between TV, games, movies and online content with voice-activated controls and Xbox Kinect gestures and an intuitive user interface that recognizes popular content delivered by your television provider, the Xbox One offers a unique media experience unlike any that we've seen before. 
Exclusive Titles Are As Important As Ever
Game selection is an obvious point to consider when deciding which console to purchase, but it's still worth discussing. More than ever before, exclusive games are the reason to buy one system over another. There are a handful of titles that I know I will have to play once when they store shelves, and I know that some of those titles will only be offered on certain consoles. 
It can feel like your hands are tied in these situations. You want to play a game on your console, but you can't because it's exclusively available on another platform. It's a troubling truth, it's one that we have to live with, so be sure to keep your favorite titles in mind while making your buying decision.
You Don't Have To Use a Controller To Play
Do you prefer a traditional controller or do you like to get up and move around a bit? Each of the three next-gen consoles offer ways to be more active while gaming. The Xbox One's improved Kinect motion capture system is by far the most precise, and perhaps the most fun, hands-free controller. With classics like Kinect Sports and Dance Central, the Kinect continues to be one of the most innovative ways to enjoy gaming. 
Xbox One controller
If You Do Like Controllers, Make Sure That You Pick the Best One
The console makers have put a lot of thought into creating what they believe to be the best gaming experience for their console. With the Playstation 4 and Xbox One, both Sony and Microsoft set out to improve every nook and cranny of their two very recognizable controllers. Nintendo went so far as to completely revamp their controller, adding a tablet-esque display that creates a new and unique gameplay experience. Some of these changes are more drastic than others, but I can assure you that these new controllers not only feel better, they also offer improved response to the action that's taking place on-screen. 
This is great for both casual and hardcore gamers. With the Playstation 4's new DualShock 4 controller, players will have a new touchpad at their disposal. It seems that developers are using this feature in a tasteful manner and not overdoing it like they did with the DualShock 3's Sixaxis functionality.
Get the Best Bang For Your Buck With Online Memberships
Today's online gaming community is stronger than ever, and so discovering which console will give you the best online experience is a must. Last generation, Microsoft's Xbox 360 could certainly be considered the online gaming winner thanks to its reliability and the overall experience offered by Xbox Live. This go-around, Sony has improved its online experience with Playstation Plus, which offers free downloadable games and is required to play online multiplayer games. 
Both Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus grant access to a huge library of games and online content. I have to give Playstation Plus a slight advantage, though, simply because of the free blockbuster games it offers. That said, many players will feel more confident in the quality of the online experience that Xbox Live has offered in the past and will continue to provide in the future.
Now I would love to hear from you. Have you picked up any of the new consoles? If so, do you regret your decision or are you happy with the console that you have chosen? Share your opinions in the comments section below!