Xbox One or PS4 at Christmas – Maybe neither!

One of the most popular questions we are currently being asked is: What would you recommend, PS4 or Xbox One this Christmas?

We have gathered the thoughts of our team, families and friends to help you consider your options.

Fun and Games

We have been deliberating over the Next Gen question ourselves as we look forward to ensuring our game wagons can provide the best video game party games. In our opinion these are the most important points to consider: what games do you like to play? What games are available? Do you want family fun or individual game play?

A console in its own right offers very little. As we started using the Xbox One we suddenly found many of the Apps that we were used to having on the Xbox 360 were not available yet! It felt a little disappointing. It certainly may be worth waiting rather than diving in as an early adopter.

Microsoft has put a huge amount of effort in trying to “own the living room” with their all-in-one multimedia device. We have to say that it becomes a little laughable as you try and get the whole family to be able to watch normal TV through the console, let alone play a few games. In fact in our home we have reverted back to using the good old remote rather than trying to get everyone to grips with the voice recognition.

It’s also worth considering the availability of games. If you do not have a console and this is your first forage into the world of video games then it may still be prudent to not jump on the PS4 and Xbox One bandwagon. There is nothing worse than buying a console and then having to wait for enough age appropriate games to make it really enjoyable.

Why not the Xbox 360 or PS3 as a first step into the console market

We have recently tested the Xbox One and PS4. Having grown up with the Sony and Microsoft consoles we looked forward to getting our hands on the latest generation.

However, a game of FIFA is just that, a game of FIFA. Forza 5 looks great but you start to wonder if improved lighting and graphic effects really add to the gaming experience. Both are great looking games but the subtle differences do not give you a feeling of any great step forward in terms of enjoyable gaming.

As my own son said, “the issue Dad is that your eyesight and hearing is probably not good enough to see or hear the difference!” Thanks Son! However, he is probably right. I certainly struggled to feel any huge improvement over the current generation games.   But I was the one that was disappointed with my HD TV until I put my glasses on!

The price tag is also a big consideration that makes the current PS3 and Xbox 360 even more attractive at this stage. There are great deals available at retail stores and on eBay.

Listen to the playground influencers

Continuing to explore the “Next Gen or Not” question I gathered a group of my son’s friends together to get their input. They are in an interesting frame of mind as they consider their own thoughts on the decision. All of my son’s friends are Xbox 360 players. They play together online and face-to-face at each other’s homes. However, they are really thinking hard about a move to Sony’s offering.

The reasons for this change of allegiance stems from Microsoft’s initial launch communications and subsequent back track on such things as privacy, always online, treatment of 2nd hand games etc.

Each of them feels strongly that Microsoft missed the mark and would have compromised their future gaming. As a group they are still unclear on what the current reality is but it still impacts their perception of the choices ahead. With our Gamewagon parties now reaching more than 2,000 of these playground influencers per month, we also hear the same mix of fact and fiction as they discuss the issue.

Bear in mind that whatever choice you make in getting a console you need to consider what your child’s friends will be doing. There is great fun and benefits to be had from a group of friends using the same console. Sharing peripherals, games, playing online and developing a sense of camaraderie around a common interest.

These playground influencers are going to have a great deal to say about which platform wins the battle of the Next Gen consoles. We recommend you get a feel from not just your own kids but also their friends before making a final decision.

Have you considered the Wii U?

It is worth remembering that the next generations of consoles are not backwards compatible. If you have a current console your existing library becomes instantly obsolete and you are reliant on the release of new games to get maximum enjoyment.

There is an exception to this rule: the WiiU.

Something that many have overlooked as a benefit to Nintendo’s latest console is that on the Wii U, Wii titles are still playable! The Wii and Wii U have some simply terrific fun and socially inclusive titles. From the superb Super Mario Bros U to the innovative Pikmin 3, the new Wii U titles ooze quality and you can still play the classics like Mario Kart (there is also a new version to launch during Spring 2014).

An upgrade of a Wii or an entry into video gaming with the WiiU is now looking like a cost efficient and sensible alternative to the peer pressure of jumping into the early adopter hype of the Next Gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft.

From our own experience the Wii and the Wii U provide instant pick up and play family enjoyment that spans generations and should not be ignored.

Next Gen In a nutshell

Your decision needs to take into account many different aspects that we have discussed above. Just because Sony and Microsoft have launched their latest consoles in time for Christmas does not make it the right time to buy them.

We will be watching the next gen battle closely and there is no doubt that each will offer fun and excitement.  But perhaps right now isn’t the best time, especially considering the premium price of the consoles and the games at this moment in time.

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