Most cities have small, local game stores where you can often find deeply discounted – albeit used – consoles and games. If that doesn’t bother you, it’s a wonderful way to save money. You can also save a ton by buying used accessories. By shopping at these local retailers, not only are you helping out a small business, but you’re also connecting with your local gaming scene – a value that’s too great to pass up. Most of the time, the people running these stores are avid gamers as well and can give you recommendations and keep you notified of upcoming releases, sales and in-store events.
Doubling as a Blu-ray/DVD player with built-in Wi-Fi, the PlayStation 3 currently has a library of over 1,400 games. This is not including its playable PlayStation 2 library of 3,874 games and PlayStation One with 2,513. The versatile and current gaming console still packs a punch, delivering a powerful home entertainment system not only good for gaming, but video chat, Internet access, digital photo viewing and digital audio and video.
While there are more multiplatform games than exclusives, it’s important to keep in mind that most cross-platform games really only work on the latest Xbox and PlayStation devices, since those systems have such similar capabilities. Nintendo’s consoles, however, have fun and unique features but aren’t nearly as powerful as the others, which makes it harder for developers to create comparable versions of their games for Nintendo consoles. But with the advent of the Switch, Nintendo has begun collaborating with third-party game developer companies, and now games available on the Switch have improved greatly both graphics- and capacity-wise. The lesson here is to discover what kinds of games you and your family like to play, then choose a console that supports most of them.
T3 has reviewed all the best video game consoles going, from Microsoft's 4K powerhouse the Xbox One X, through to Sony's rival PS4 Pro, and onto Nintendo's hot hybrid, the Nintendo Switch, and we've tucked hundreds of hours under our belt playing their best games, too. As such, our tech experts are perfectly positioned to help you find your perfect gaming console.
Even if you look at it from just a numbers standpoint, it’s clear that the PlayStation 4 is the reigning champion of the current generation of video game consoles, beating out the Xbox One in sales by a rate of about 3-to-1. It gets a boost, too, due to the fact that the PS4 boasts better base performance figures, has some of the best exclusives available right now, and has an extremely active social community on the PSN. We’re also very fond of the fact that Sony has embraced the future of gaming in the form of PSVR – though we’d like to see more titles for the peripheral gear. If this is a sign of things to come, we might be watching the beginning of the end for Microsoft as a console developer.
We then evaluated each console’s interface, looking for a smart layout that’s easy to use. We navigated through menus, adjusted the settings and compared ease of use. We approached this process twice over, first as gamers looking for quick access to new titles and already-installed games, and secondly as novice or non-gamer users looking for multimedia tools and apps. We found that the best consoles are the ones that make your favorite apps and games easy to access from a central place.
There are also consoles where you can install a LAN or Ethernet connection. You can play on the network with your friends by linking your consoles. You can install a LAN adapter on Wii, for example. Wi-Fi technology is used to create a wireless network. Nowadays, one need not place all the consoles in the same room. You can organise battles with PSPs to play GTA, Street Fighter, even Final Fantasy.
PlayStation Vita is a handheld game console developed by Sony Computer Entertainment. It is the successor to the PlayStation Portable as part of the PlayStation brand of gaming devices. It was released in Japan on December 17, 2011 and was released in Europe and North America on February 22, 2012. The handheld includes two analog sticks, a 5-inch (130 mm) OLED/LCD multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, and supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and optional 3G. Internally, the PS Vita features a 4 core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor and a 4 core SGX543MP4+ graphics processing unit, as well as LiveArea software as its main user interface, which succeeds the XrossMediaBar.
Inevitably, the Atari 5200 was crushed beneath the technological weight of the ColecoVision, which boasted a jaw-dropping 3.58MHz processor, but when it went the way of the dinosaur, the Atari 5200 left behind the its legacy of four controller ports console design and, of course, the analog joystick. Sure, the Atari 5200 analog stick may have been terrible, but every great idea has to start somewhere, and in the case of the analog controller, it was here.
If you're looking for Xbox One deals on consoles, games, and accessories, Amazon, Best Buy, Newegg, and Walmart have your back. Newegg continues to offer the Xbox One X Fallout 76 Bundle for $349.99 which is $150 off its $500 list price. This bundle includes a 1TB Xbox One X console in jet black, a matching controller, and one full-game download of Fallout 76.
The Switch also has the advantage of third-party controllers. The PS4 and Xbox One are very dedicated to their first-party gamepads, with only a few third-party wired options available unless you want to shell out a significant amount of money for a SCUF or Evil Controllers product. The Switch features the first-party option of the excellent Switch Pro Controller, which feels very similar to the Xbox One wireless controller, and works with third-party gamepads from 8Bitdo and Hori. The ability to switch out your Joy-Cons for an 8Bitdo SN30 Pro or Switch Pro Controller is a huge boon, along with the sheer flexibility afforded by the Joy-Cons themselves.
Ask any 90s kid what the best retro multiplayer game console is and they’ll say the Nintendo 64. Before online multiplayer separated people from long distances, games like Mario Party, Golden Eye: 007 and Mario Kart 64 required you and your friends to physically sit next to one another and bond. Every Friday night, kids all around America would invite their friends over for some pepperoni pizza and game for hours on end with their N64.
The Dreamcast was Sega's last video game console and was the first of the generation's consoles to be discontinued. Sega implemented a special type of optical media called the GD-ROM. These discs were created in order to prevent software piracy, which had been more easily done with consoles of the previous generation; however, this format was soon cracked as well. It also sported a 33.6Kb or 56k modem which could be used to access the Internet or play some games that took advantage of this feature, such as Phantasy Star Online, making it the first console with built-in Internet connectivity. An add-on for an Ethernet port allowed one to access broad band Internet though it did not come with the system. The Dreamcast was discontinued in March 2001, and Sega transitioned to software developing/publishing only.
Another option is local multiplayer. You can play using two TVs in a single location or using the split-screen feature on a single TV. Many modern games don’t support local multiplayer on a single TV, as it consumes too much processing power to render a game twice over on one screen. However, Nintendo continues to create games and consoles that can abide by this option, making its consoles great for local gaming.
The PlayStation 3 may still be coming into its own, but it has already had a great number of titles see their release on the system and, along with the Xbox 360, it has helped completely redefine what people think about gaming in terms of online accessibility and functionality. Gone are the days when everything you played on a console was burned onto a disc. Online systems like the PlayStation Network have introduced the ability to buy and play complete games without having to leave your couch, not to mention the advent of downloadable content that can expand games exponentially.
The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) includes one of the largest gaming libraries of over 714 known licensed titles. The economic boom of mid-1980s led to more investments in the arts and entertainment that further compounded the market. Not only could you find countless titles like Mega Man, Contra, Final Fantasy, Tetris and Super Mario Bros, but also some of the most diverse genres with games like Duck Hunt, Wall Street Kid and tarot card simulator, Taboo.
Though they have been relegated to a game developer role, Sega used to be one of the most prolific console producers in video game history. Their biggest problem was that they tended to tackle technologies that were a bit before their time and, therefore, not consumer- or developer-friendly. The Sega Saturn was one such console. It enjoyed moderate success and boasted an impressive technological package, but the lack of support and unreasonable complexity led to a lack of original titles, resulting in a game library comprised largely of arcade ports. Still, the system was an excellent attempt at being on the cutting edge of gaming, even if it wasn’t strictly a win for Sega.
We do test them, of course. We’ve spent a lot of time playing video games on these consoles and even more thinking about what they can do. We make sure that everything we like about these products works and delivers like advertised. That includes playing all kinds of games, checking the quality of the internet connectivity, factoring in quality and quantity of exclusives, and checking if developers are currently making games for the platform.
There’s never been a more exciting time to be a gamer. The range of experiences offered by today’s games is unprecedented, and knowing what you want is the first step in creating your dream gaming getup. Do you want cutting-edge graphics and gameplay that only 4K and HDR provide? Prefer to take your game worlds on-the-go? Enjoy revisiting amazing retro games from yesteryear? Think of Best Buy as your well-stocked gaming quartermaster, ready at a moment's notice with all of the best video game deals, gadgets, games, and high-powered consoles to elevate your gaming to the highest level.
Each new generation of console hardware made use of the rapid development of processing technology. Newer machines could output a greater range of colors, more sprites, and introduced graphical technologies such as scaling, and vector graphics. One way console makers marketed these advances to consumers was through the measurement of "bits". The TurboGrafx-16, Genesis, and Super NES were among the first consoles to advertise the fact that they contained 16-bit processors. This fourth generation of console hardware was often referred to as the 16-bit era and the previous generation as the 8-bit. The bit-value of a console referred to the word length of a console's processor (although the value was sometimes misused, for example, the TurboGrafx 16 had only an 8-bit CPU, and the Genesis/Mega Drive had the 16/32-bit Motorola 68000, but both had a 16-bit dedicated graphics processor). As the graphical performance of console hardware is dependent on many factors, using bits was a crude way to gauge a console's overall ability. For example, the NES, Commodore 64, Apple II, and Atari 2600 all used a very similar 8-bit CPU. The difference in their processing power is due to other causes. For example, the Commodore 64 contains 64 kilobytes of RAM and the Atari 2600 has much less at 128 bytes of RAM. The jump from 8-bit machines to 16-bit machines to 32-bit machines made a noticeable difference in performance, so consoles from certain generations are frequently referred to as 8-bit or 16-bit consoles. However, the "bits" in a console are no longer a major factor in their performance. The Nintendo 64, for example, has been outpaced by several 32-bit machines. Aside from some "128 Bit" advertising slogans at the beginning of the sixth generation, marketing with bits largely stopped after the fifth generation.
"I remember renting Phantasy Star IV and getting up extremely early on a Saturday morning to attempt to beat the game before having to bring it back to the rental store. When I advanced to the part of the game where you blast off and unlock the solar system my mind was blown. I was both dismayed that I'd never complete the game in time and astounded that a cartridge could contain such a large adventure."
In many ways Xbox was the first. It was the first console in this generation and came to the market 4 years after its predecessor. Microsoft came to a conclusion that the original Xbox was so expensive to manufacture, that it would never bring profit, and that is why they quickly came up with a replacement. This is not to say that Xbox 360 was rushed. In spite of some technical problems (that were quite significant), it has almost defined the modern console’s attributes.
While Sony and Microsoft were battling it out over social networks, graphical and processing capabilities, and a pair of failed motion-camera peripherals, Nintendo was quietly working on what would go down as their most innovative console to date. The Wii was released to wildly successful sales, so much so that they hadn’t actually produced enough consoles to meet demand. And while the controller scheme was foreign to gamers as a whole, it worked well and turned the Wii into something of a party console – which people turned to for entertainment when they had company over. In fact, the game that shipped with the console (Wii Sports) would end up being one of its all-time most popular games. And for good reason: it was a hell of a lot of fun.
Nowadays, it’s the industry standard that new consoles have internet connectivity and basic online multiplayer abilities for other users of that same console. However, at least for the time being, you cannot play with a friend who owns a different console than you. Xbox Live, Microsoft’s online multiplayer network, only works with other recent Xbox consoles; the PlayStation Network – Sony’s equivalent – is similarly restricted as is Nintendo Switch Online. Even playing with people who are on older systems isn’t really a possibility at this point.
Once upon a time, Sonic The Hedgehog, the mascot of the Sega Genesis, was more popular than Nintendo’s Mario. Sega Genesis came out before the Super Nintendo in 1989 and had a head start with introducing to the world a true 16-bit home entertainment video game console boasting one of the best controllers ever made and a wide array of superior sports games.
During its lifetime, Game Boy would face and beat multiple contenders in the mobile gaming market like Sega’s Game Gear and the Atari Lynx. Its launch included hit titles like Super Mario Land, Baseball and Tetris. Players could even buy a cable link to play multiplayer games. Along the way, the chubby grey console got a smaller model called the Game Boy Pocket and a colored iteration called the Game Boy Color. If you’ve ever wondered why games are on smartphones, just look to the Game Boy.
Whether you want to play games online or watch Netflix, you need to connect your game system to the internet. The Xbox One uses Xbox Live, and the PlayStation 4 uses the PlayStation Network to access online services. In both cases, you need to purchase the premium subscription plan (Xbox Live Gold for Xbox Live, PS Plus for PlayStation Network) to play games online. Both services cost $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year (the better deal by far), and include additional benefits like free games every month.
The following tables contain video game consoles and handheld game consoles that have sold at least 1 million units worldwide either through to consumers or inside retail channels. Each console include sales from every iteration unless otherwise noted. The years correspond to when the home or handheld game console was first released—excluding test markets. Each year links to the corresponding "year in video gaming".
Given that there’s a relatively small selection of games for each console that take full advantage of these features, we currently do not recommend that you buy a new TV for the sake of high-resolution console gaming. Currently, no game console requires you to own a 4K or HDR-compatible TV, so you can buy that new console and hold off on buying the TV until you’ve done more research, found games you feel are worth upgrading for, or are otherwise ready to commit.