Update Compare Video Game Consoles Review – Video games have come a long way since the early seventies. What was once a useless distraction has turned into a global mega-industry of entertainment, education and communications.
It’s an industry that defies definition at almost every turn. While you might think of the stereotypical gamer as a guy in his 20s (probably staying at home), today women make up about 50 percent of all gamers and the average age of gamers is around 35 years old.
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Similarly, the game itself runs through almost every category and genre. As English teachers always tell reluctant readers that there is a book for everyone, it’s just a matter of finding the right one, I truly believe there is a video game for everyone. Whether you’re looking for high-octane thrills, creepy mysteries, awesome puzzles, soothing simulators or even the fantasy of being an evil swan roaming around a cartoon village, there’s a game for you.
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Which brings us to the question: what format do you play? You can find video games anywhere, from your smartphone to your PC, but most traditional gamers recommend getting a dedicated game console – of which there are many competing versions.
Avid gamers can quickly become very nerdy about which console is “best”; A quick Google will quickly see you engaged in conversations about terraflops, refresh rates and virtual reality. But aside from that, it’s a very subjective topic where tribal loyalties are rooted.
Here, I’ll talk about the options as simply as possible, taking into account the differences between consoles, manufacturers and games to help you make an informed decision about which gaming console is best for you…
Perhaps the easiest place to start is with the most diverse consoles possible. Unlike its rivals Sony and Microsoft (and to a lesser extent Google), Nintendo’s focus is not on cutting-edge graphics or ultra-powerful processors. The company’s overall focus is on fun, entertainment and accessibility.
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Nintendo Switch is far from the most powerful console. Although it offers HD graphics, those graphics pale in comparison to the high-fidelity 4K output of the PS5 and Xbox Series X (or even the PS4 and Xbox One). Likewise, its internal power means the console can’t manage some of the most technical games.
However, despite all that, the Nintendo Switch is the best-selling console in 2020 in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States. For what? Maybe because the Switch is the most interesting of the three.
In terms of appearance, the Nintendo console is slightly different: a 6.2-inch screen with a thickness of half an inch with control buttons on each side. It’s comfortable to hold and with a battery life of between four and a half and nine hours, it’s perfect for gaming on the go. In addition, there are kickstands on the back and Joy-Con controllers on the side can be removed and used separately, so two players can play simultaneously without having to buy additional devices.
But the real magic of the Switch (and the gimmick that gives it its name) is that it can seamlessly switch between a mobile tablet and a TV console. Once you plug the dock into your TV, you can simply slide your Switch into its cradle and your game will instantly appear on the screen. Anyone else want to use the TV? No problem, slide the Switch out of the dock and continue playing in mobile mode.
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As a proud Switch owner, I can tell you that my usage tends to vary between handheld and docked mode, though I know others who use it almost exclusively for one or the other. Those with poor eyesight may prefer things on a larger screen for visibility, although the backlit LCD screen in the mobile version is bright and easy to see, so it won’t be a big deal.
One thing to note is that the Nintendo Switch is exclusively a gaming console. Unlike consoles from Microsoft, Sony or Google, this thing can only play games. No ability to surf the web, stream TV shows or watch movies. Since most people own a smart TV or streaming device these days, it’s probably not a big loss.
Another thing to note is that the Switch has a relatively poor amount of internal storage. At just 32 GB, it has about one-twentieth of the storage available on the PS5. This means that if you choose to download games rather than using a physical cartridge (personally my preferred option due to the portable nature of the Switch) then you will run out of space very quickly. A big game like Witcher 3 will eat up all your console storage at once. You can expand the storage with an additional SD card – at an additional cost.
However, the main reason to buy a Switch is for gaming. Every console has exclusive games that can only be played on that system and perhaps Nintendo’s is the best. Chances are, if you’ve ever heard of a video game character, it’s almost certainly Nintendo:
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Are just a few of the critically acclaimed series that are exclusive to Nintendo consoles. For context, about half of the best-selling video games ever made were developed by Nintendo and its subsidiaries.
These games are usually characterized as colorful, accessible, fun for all ages, highly inventive and often (but not exclusively) cartoonish in design. However, due to the system’s limitations, you’re unlikely to find the same expansive worlds, photo-realistic visuals and adult themes common on other consoles.
This usually gives Nintendo consoles like the Switch a reputation as ideal consoles for beginners or families, but it would be silly to suggest that experienced gamers won’t like it.
Nintendo has traditionally always had a handheld console and a home console running at the same time. You may remember the Gameboy that was around at the same time as the SNES, or the DS that paralleled the Wii. All that changed when the Switch joined both camps together.
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However, it soon became clear that there was still an appetite for handhelds and so Nintendo created the Switch Lite.
Unlike the standard version, the Switch Lite does not have a dock and cannot connect to a TV. The Joy-Con controllers are also integrated with the console, so you can’t take them out and hand one to a friend for multiplayer. The screen is slightly smaller (5.5 inches versus 6.2 inches on the standard Switch) and you have the more traditional shape of the directional buttons on the left.
Other than that, it’s the same console. It can play all the same games, the graphics and processing power are the same, the battery is almost the same.
The trade-off for losing the ability to switch with the Switch Lite is easy: it’s £100 cheaper. I think that makes the Lite version ideal for families with younger children who can’t be trusted with expensive technology, or alternatively as a second console for families who already have a standard Switch but many players who want to play different things at once.
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While it may be a step closer to a standard console than the Nintendo Switch, Google’s first jump into the world of console gaming is still pretty unusual.
While the controller may look familiar, the “console” is everything. The only thing that needs to be plugged into your TV here is the little Chromecast dongle (the black round thing in the picture above). No big boxes or docks, then. Stadia is able to do that because it doesn’t need many of the things that make a traditional console work: no disk drives, processors, cooling fans or any other problems. Instead games are played in the cloud and streamed directly to your TV. It’s like the Netflix of gaming consoles.
There are two related things you should check before investing in Stadia. First, you have sufficient Internet speed. The minimum requirement is a download speed of 10 mbps (35 mbps if you want to play in 4K quality). As the UK average is 64mbps you should be fine. The second is your internet contract. If you don’t have an unlimited offer, streaming this game will hurt your pocket (you can limit the amount of downloads to 4.5GB per hour, although you will sacrifice the quality of the graphics).
Unlike other consoles, Stadia shouldn’t rely on the kind of technology that can be expressed in a physical console. All processing power and graphics production are managed by large computers in remote warehouses, which means that as long as your streaming connection holds up, games should look high quality and play without lag or slowdown. It’s the game as the game developers thought it would be, basically. I play claim the famous
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One of the biggest fears among gamers when Stadia was announced was about latency – the time it takes between you pressing a button and your character reacting to it on screen. Ideally, you want to be as close to 1:1 as possible. The fear is that since Stadia basically has to load your button presses in the cloud and
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