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Help! Choosing a console is just as hard as choosing a phone

I really like to play video games. I always have, and probably always will. I can't be a zombie hunter or a race car driver in real life, so I'm forced to hunt my zombies and drive my go-karts virtually and that's fine. It can be a lot of fun.

Like a lot of gamers, I have a way-too-expensive money pit called a gaming PC, but I also like to do some mobile gaming and have even shoehorned Steam on my Chromebook and play some games that aren't looking for a high-end GPU. But that's not enough and I need another console since my PS4 decided to go and die on me. Yes, I understand the definition of the word "need", so fight me all you want. I need another console.

But I can't choose what to buy. I know what phone I want and what Chromebook I want and even which brand of keyboard and mouse I want to use when I'm working at my desk. But for the life of me, I can't decide if I want to buy a new PlayStation, an Xbox, or a Switch. And no, I won't be buying all three because a) I don't have $1,200 to toss away in my mad money account and b) My wife says I spend too much time playing games and can't get all three. I've come to recognize over the years that even if I disagree, my wife is usually right. I'm not going to even try it.

It's really the exclusives that are twisting my arm. I want all of the games but have to decide on one.

Exclusive titles are only part of the dilemma. The whole exclusivity thing sucks and is only a thing because it's easier than trying to make a better product that the competition but it still is a thing. I really want to play the new Spider-Man, but I also want to play the new Mario Kart, and Sea of Thieves just got an awesome update, and Detroit: Become Human looks like a thing I can waste hours playing. But consoles are now more than just game machines where you insert a disk instead of a quarter.

Things like Microsoft Movies & TV and PlayStation Vue have become just as much a part of the consoles as the games. WMR and PlayStation VR will continue to be better and become a bigger reason to buy a certain game in the future (no, not another Skyrim. OK, maybe just one more Skyrim). And the Switch being a thing I can play in my hands washes the taste of the Wii and its horrible controllers out of my mouth in a way the Wii U never could. Each of these expensive toys has something going for it that's above and beyond those exclusive games that studios are paid to keep away from the others.

So what is a man to do? I went to Google and asked it which one to buy and found nothing more than millions of other people asking the same question and getting every answer imaginable and that's not a lot of help. I do have quite the library of PS4 games, but something tells me I'll never want to play Destiny or GTA V ever again, so that's a moot point. I need an intervention so I can close all these Amazon tabs and just buy something before I lose my mind.

I could just ask Russell or Daniel, and the answer from either would be the same: "Just buy all of them, because you know you will eventually." While that might be true, feeding my addiction isn't much help. Besides, I could never hide them from Mrs. Hildenbrand who only wants to play old-school Super Mario Kart on the SNES and whoop my ass in it. Loser does the dishes.

Which console should I buy? A PlayStation 4 Pro (opens in new tab), an Xbox One X (opens in new tab), or a Nintendo Switch (opens in new tab)? Why? Help me out, please!

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • Isn't the answer Nvidia Shield TV? Yeah, it's Shield TV...
  • Xbox one is the best I think, I have mostly all the exclusive games which I love, add me on Xbox my gamertag is Kensbag. And good luck on choosing your console!😎😎😎
  • Hmm... Hard to say but since I have all 3 current gen consoles here's what I would say... Get either a PS4 or a Xbox One if you want the get the most out of them right now. Can't go really wrong with either one but based on what you say, I would go with the PS4 since playing Spiderman is a game you want,and it's a Sony exclusive. I would get the Switch next to play Smash Bro and Breath of the Wild (if you don't have the Wii U version) but the current game library just isn't there yet for that console so i would get it to supplement one of the other.
  • At this point just wait for the next gen consoles. You've gone without them this long what's another year or so. If you need something sooner wait and see if there really is a new switch this year and go with that. An Xbox or PS4 makes no sense since you'll be last gen real soon and regretting buying one of them
  • Etch A Sketch sketch definitely Etch-a-Sketch...
  • Just get all of them. At least the main 3: Ps4, Xbox and switch. Combined they still aren't as much as the more popular high end phones. Don't fight it, buy it.
  • I've wanted an Xbox One or PS4 for a while but neither Microsoft nor Sony has had an exclusive game with enough draw to force my hand. Too many of the titles I could play on either one are also available on PC, but I can't [legally] play Zelda or Mario on my computer. Since getting my Switch I have also come across a fair number of indie titles I've really liked, and who doesn't want to play Skyrim on the go? Problem solved. Besides, the next gen PlayStation and Xbox can't be far off.
  • I just want you to be happy...
  • No is not. Buy a Playstation unless you want to play Nintendo games.
  • Have them all and like exclusives on all. However, the best deal from my perspective is an Xbox with Gamepass. So many games to play for 10 a month.
  • Since you have a gaming PC I would cross Xbox off the list.
    Sea of thieves and State of decay 2 are both on windows 10 (in the microsoft store) and available via gamepass if you don't wanna buy them outright. And honestly you would be disappointed if you bought an Xbox for either of them.
    PS4 vs Switch tho.. 🤔
    I feel like if you missed your PS4 that much then you wouldn't need convincing to replace it.
    So I vote try something new and get a switch.
  • PlayStation 4 Pro. Buy it used if you can find a good deal to save costs and reduce buyer's remorse when/if the next gen releases in maybe 2020. Especially for the exclusives: Spider-Man, God of War, all the Uncharted series and the upcoming The Last Of Us 2. And Sony is always discounting titles after a few months if patience is your endgame. Wasn't really convinced about Nintendo and their Switch Online shenanigans so I skipped that one...
  • As a fellow xbox user, im going to make my case, and say some good things about xbox. when you get the gold membership, you get the benefits of 4 free games a month. and weekly discounts on digital games. xbox has backwards compatibility, which means you can put in a select xbox360 game (theres a list), and play it. the xbox1 upscales it too. there are 3 generations of digital xbox games playable on the xb1 (gotta check the list) you said your not made of money, so i would recommend GamePass. its a dollar for the first month, then its like a netflix subscription the months after, and you can play as many games as you want... theres no lag. because it downloads direct to your xbox,like you own it. but ur just renting it. like leasing a car... 200+ games on gamepass. the xbox always has sales on Gold subscription, gamepass, and bundles games with the console. (i bought my xbox1S for twoHundred-sumthin, brand new. came with RedDead2 and ForzaHorizon4. (2 really brand new games at the time) and Microsoft bought a bunch of studios, and are really investing into new exclusive games. Xbox may be the underdog for this gen, but it has a bright future ahead of it. And games you buy now, especially exclusives, will probably be playable on the nextGenXbox. Nintendo has a funny way of gettin you to buy a console for 1 game... literally ever nintendo console i owned, only played a few games on it. GBA, GameCube, NDS,3DS. If u wanna play smash, make friends with somebody whos got one and play at their house. ...and i think theres an emulator on the xb1 that plays Nes,Genesis, GBA, and SNES games.. called NesBox. so yeah, no 64 yet. but there are ways...
  • as an Xbox owner, I can tell you that the Xbox is definitely a great console and it's exclusive games are great. However, I think for the money the Switch is the best, as it combines the best of console and handheld with the bonus of Nintendo's awesome games, as well as other popular titles like Fortnite and nba 2k.
  • I have all 3. PS4 is best for exclusives. Highest quality exclusives. I use the Xbox One as my media hub for Netflix, Hulu Crunchyroll etc. Best online services. Switch offers the most fun & convenience for me. Taking a game I've been trying to beat on the go is great. It also offers 2 controllers out of the box.
  • Switch. Because you can play it anywhere.
  • That's my favorite thing about the switch. If my wife wants to watch a show that I'm not interested in I can take the switch out of the dock and play it in the same room. Also bringing it on vacation and playing the same games. Really great.
  • We just bought PS4 for Christmas cause of the Spider-Man game, and man, it worth it! Also looking forward for Horizon Zero Dawn, DMC5, etc. But. Damn you Nintendo, the Switch looks awesome! There are several games I would play with it, but the price tags (both console's and game's) frighten me :/ I'm afraid I'm gonna buy it anyway...
  • Hard to go wrong with the Switch. Nintendo has the best first party games available. Period! End of story. With that being said, if you're looking for all of the video and streaming apps, go Xbox One. Combine all of the backwards compatible games and Game Pass, you won't run out of games to play any time soon.
  • Switch has the best family friendly games. Maybe you can play Mario Kart with your wife.
  • PS4 pro. No question in my mind.
  • Oh. Forgot the why. Great performance and the exclusives can’t be beat and don’t compare to the other consoles as far as “hard-core” gaming goes.
  • Switch - because taking it off the duck and playing it anywhere is the biggest game changer for me. I didn't think this was a big deal when I heard about it, but to me a it is. I play it docked on TV, but then my daughter needs me because she's having trouble falling asleep, so then I play it in the hallway while I'm keeping her company. Or, my kids could play it in the car, or I could put it in a backpack, etc. My family played Mario Kart after dinner once at the dinner table after our meal once. The Switch is incredibly fun and convenient. I could see you enjoying this feature! The games are very enjoyable and well!
  • Honestly the Nintendo Switch has been so much fun. Easy enough for my 6 year old daughter to play but fun enough for me to enjoy as well. Wanna watch something on TV? The handheld mode is perfect for those scenarios and the mobility factor is huge. I could play Mario Odyssey all day and I haven't even got started on Zelda yet.
  • PS4 is the one if you have to choose only one console. The Switch is great and it has a few really good games, but there are just not enough games to justify to have it as your only console if you are more than a casual gamer, it is a shame that Nintendo did not manage to get a better portfolio for the Switch.
  • Buy a PS4, just because de better exclusives like Spiderman, God of War and the upcoming The Last of Us 2. To play Mario, just install a emulator on a Android TV box, like the Xiaomi.
  • What I did was buy the Switch in December because I wanted to play both Super Mario Odyssey and Let's Go Eevee (all bought with Meijer Santa Bucks and a buy-one-get-40%-off deal). Since it was the weekend of Smash's release, I decided to buy that digitally, and since then I've added Splatoon 2 after that went on special (as a download). Later on I'll probably look into buying a console that can double as a true 4K player, but it's not a priority at this point. I would highly guess the next generation PlayStation would fit that bill, as I would prefer Sony's line over Microsoft's, especially since Sony is finally getting around to allowing inter-console play. If you do buy a Switch and plan to download most of your games, you will need to buy a microSD card as well, as the 25 GB of on-board storage will fill up quick. (That's probably where PS4 and XBOne won't lack, since I think both come with a 1 TB option.)