How to choose a game console
As you know, a specialized device always performs its task better than a universal one. In the case of video games, this specialized device is a game console.
Why exactly? The fact is that the prices for computer components are such that it is very expensive to assemble a gaming computer from scratch: only a video card on which modern games can easily run costs the same as the simplest version of the current generation console.
To begin with, we will tell you what features such a device has.
The classic stationary set-top box, traditionally, is connected to the TV, and it is controlled using a gamepad (which is not yet quite correctly called a joystick). Another commonly used name for a console of this kind is a “game console”.
A gamepad for modern games should be equipped with analog controls, that is, those that support smooth movement control, for example, the so-called sticks.
gamepad game console
The physical medium on which games are sold at the moment is optical discs, such as Blu-ray.
Game discs and gamepad for game console
The Russian market of game consoles is dominated by two manufacturers: Sony and Microsoft, it is their products that we will try to compare.
Usually, at any given time, only one generation of set-top boxes is relevant. That is, with a short period of time, manufacturers each develop one model that belongs to one generation, several years pass, and when they become obsolete, a new generation comes out. However, in most cases, there is a huge performance gap between generations.
The most typical example is the PlayStation 3, a representative of the seventh generation of Sony set-top boxes, which at the time of release had such a sophisticated filling that it was sold below cost.
Sony PlayStation 3
This was done with the expectation that in a few years its electronics will become cheaper, updated, the cost will fall below the sale price. And high performance will ensure the long duration of the release of the console. From the moment of its release until the release of the next generation console — PlayStation 4 — 7 years have passed (2006-2013).
It is worth emphasizing that throughout this time the performance of the console did not change, only its “reduced” versions were released, respectively, the graphics in games for this console (for example, in terms of resolution) remained at the same technical level.
In the current generation of set-top boxes, manufacturers have moved away from such a “classic” version of the production and sales strategy.
In 2013, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were presented, and in both cases, manufacturers tried to initially reduce the cost of production by using the architecture from desktop computers, both in the development of the processor and the video subsystem. Both manufacturers turned to AMD, which produces processors and video cards, as a result, they received a ready-made inexpensive solution with minimal technical risks.
But this approach had one drawback. The fact is that both consoles did not support 4K resolution in games. That’s why a PlayStation 4 Pro version appeared last year with support for it, and Microsoft announced Project Scorpio, a prefix with increased performance for 4K, which has yet to enter the market.
In addition, both manufacturers in 2016 released slim versions of consoles — PlayStation 4 Slim and Xbox One S, which have reduced size and power consumption. At the moment they are the best sellers.
So, we have described the big picture, let’s move on to a detailed examination of specific devices.
Sony PlayStation 4
For the past several generations, the base color of Sony game consoles has been black. One of the main design features of the PlayStation 4 is the presence of beveled edges, as well as a “hidden” power button, thanks to which the device looks concise, but has its own recognizable style.
The main manipulator — the DualShock 4 gamepad is equipped with a touchpad that provides additional control options.
Gamepad DualShock 4
It also has a Share button that allows you to post a recording and screenshots of the gameplay on the network.
As for the functionality of the console itself, the new software allows for some features that give it advantages over both previous generation consoles and personal computers:
- Online download games can be played before they are fully downloaded.
- The console is multitasking, which means you can, for example, run an application and play a game at the same time.
- The console can stream the game to the PlayStation Vita handheld, allowing you to play «landline» games on your handheld device.
- There is a standby mode that allows you to save the state of the console when the power is off.
- The presence of a virtual reality helmet of its own design — PlayStation VR.
So, we emphasize once again that these are the features of all models of PlayStation 4 consoles, but it has three separate “subspecies”:
- PlayStation 4 «regular» — appeared in 2013, the first version of the console, which is still on sale, but in limited quantities. This, in our opinion, is an option for the budget conscious, as it is cheaper than the others.
- PlayStation 4 Slim — it has the same performance as the basic version, but more compact dimensions, redesigned.
- PlayStation 4 Pro — Here, the size of the console, on the contrary, has increased, but so has the performance, with 4K and HDR in games.
In the case of the Microsoft console, everything is somewhat simpler — at the moment the Slim version is relevant — Xbox One S, which was released last year.
Xbox One S
In the case of the Xbox One, the appearance of the Slim version became especially relevant, since the regular version was much larger and heavier than the PlayStation 4.
The first version of the Xbox One came bundled with Kinect, a motion-recognition system with cameras. For Xbox One S, this module must be purchased separately.
A characteristic feature of Xbox One: since the console is produced by Microsoft, if you have purchased a game for it, you can install Windows 10 and a special application and play it on a personal computer.
The second feature of this set-top box, due to its affinity with computers, is the ability to display an image from a game and an application on the screen at the same time. Of course, this multi-windowing is primitive compared to a PC, but it can be very convenient in some cases. It should be noted that this does not affect the performance of the game, since applications and games are executed in separate modules of the operating system.
Also, Xbox One can transmit a signal from a set-top box to a TV, supplementing its functionality with a TV guide service.
In addition, the set-top box supports voice control, and the Kinect camera allows you to recognize faces and gestures.
As for the Xbox One controller, it differs from the DualShock 4 in shape and size — in a big way. It can also attract special vibration motors in triggers. In addition, the so-called Elite Controller is sold as a separate accessory — an improved gamepad for Xbox One with the possibility of customization.
It is worth mentioning the console, the release of which was announced for March 2017. The Nintendo Switch is a hybrid console with its own display, battery and removable gamepad panels on the sides, which also connects to a special docking station and is used as a stationary TV set-top box in this form.
It is not yet possible to predict whether such a concept will “shoot”. However, it is unlikely that the Nintendo Switch will be popular in Russia, since its cost is the same as that of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and the performance is less.
The advantage of game consoles is that this is a ready-made solution that is designed for a specific task. Users do not have to choose between dozens of different models, and the differences between the existing ones lie in the area of side functions.
You can also give some general recommendations. For example, if your friends already have game consoles, it would be logical to get the same one in order to exchange games.
If this approach does not solve the problem of choice, you should look for demonstration stands with consoles in large shopping centers in order to “feel” the gamepad yourself, to evaluate everything in practice.
The presence of certain games can be of great importance when choosing. So, in the gaming industry there is a concept of exclusives — games that exist on only one platform. Often, for the sake of certain exclusives, they buy one or another model of a game console.
So, if you have read our article, then you have enough knowledge to choose a game console, so you should think a little, decide and purchase it in our online store.
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