Gaming consoles are a pretty popular Christmas present. Back in 2018, Sony revealed that during the 2017 Christmas period, around 5.9 million PS4 units were sold, which is an impressive number indeed. It’s reasonable to assume that each console manufacturer achieves similar numbers every Christmas, although supply and distance from launch will have a significant effect on that number.
With this in mind, if you’re thinking about getting yourself a new gaming console this Christmas, you might be wondering which one you should pick up, especially if you’ve been out of the loop for a while. We’re going to break down the relative pros and cons of each console, as well as looking at cost, different models, and software libraries. Here’s our rundown of which console you should get this Christmas.
Sony’s newest console has already proven significantly more popular than Microsoft’s Xbox range. It’s the machine to beat this Christmas, but there are a number of reasons you may want to skip it (and just as many you may want to pick it up!).
The PlayStation 5 has two different models: the Digital Edition and the Disc Edition. The only difference between both models is whether or not you can play physical media. As you might imagine, the Digital Edition only plays downloaded games, while the Disc Edition plays physical games and 4K Blu-ray discs (and DVDs, if you’ve still got any left).
The Digital Edition retails for £349, while the Disc Edition goes for a more pricey £449. In our opinion, the Disc Edition is the one to plump for; it offers a wider range of choice, and you won’t struggle to manage the storage quite as much. However, both consoles are affordable, even if you need to get a very bad credit loans direct lender involved to help you shoulder the burden.
It’s undeniable that the PS5 has an amazing lineup of games available. Most every PS4 game is playable on the PS5, so your library won’t go to waste, and that’s in addition to a range of exclusives like Demon’s Souls and Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart. The PS5 is also getting a bevy of new titles in the coming months, including Horizon Forbidden West, God of War Ragnarok, and more.
Unfortunately, the ongoing chip shortage has hit Sony and the PS5 just as much as it has other electronics manufacturers. The shortage means that companies can’t get hold of semiconductors, which are essential components in console manufacture. The PS5’s availability has been hit hard by this issue, as has the availability of other consoles. You might struggle to find a PS5 this holiday season, unless you’re quick on the draw.
Microsoft’s current-gen console offers a different experience to the PS5. Where Sony is all about the premium gaming journey – buying first-party exclusives with huge budgets behind them – Microsoft is content to compete in a different lane. Its Xbox Game Pass service offers huge value for money, with over 100 games available to subscribers for a fairly low price. The Series X is a beastly powerhouse, while the Series S is its dinkier cousin, perfect as a second console.
This is where Microsoft might have its rivals beat. While the Xbox Series X retails for £449, competing directly with the PS5, the Xbox Series S can be had for just £249 if you buy it without games. When you factor in the month-long Xbox Game Pass trial you’ll receive as a new customer, it’s hard not to think this is worth it. The Xbox Series S may lack raw power, but it’s still capable of playing many modern triple-A games at 60fps if you’re happy to forgo 4K resolution, as many gamers still are.
Playing on the Xbox Series X and Series S is a pretty great experience if you have an Xbox One, Xbox 360, or Xbox library. Both consoles are fully backwards compatible with all previous Xbox generations, although the Series S lacks a disc drive, so you’ll only be able to play digital games on it. Still, being able to revisit our copy of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night that we bought way back in 2007 is a trip and a half. The Series X lacks a killer app that will sell it to the masses, but it has the advantage of sheer volume.
Unfortunately, the Xbox Series X has been hit by the same availability issues as the PS5. The Series S, however, is widely available, and you shouldn’t have any trouble getting hold of it; major retailers like Amazon, Smyths, and other UK platforms have plenty of Series S stock, so if you’re happy to sacrifice power for convenience, the Series S is a great buy this Christmas.
Finally, we come to Nintendo’s handheld powerhouse, the Switch. Still going strong after over four years in the game, the Switch is hard not to recommend to pretty much every gamer.
The Switch is competitive in cost with the Xbox Series S, costing around £280 (although it’s going to cost a little more if you want to buy some games with that as well). The new OLED model is a little more expensive, but it adds a better screen into the bargain, so if you’ve ever struggled to see details on handheld screens, the OLED model is a great buy. There’s also the Switch Lite, which is a handheld-only edition of the console you can buy for much less.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is on Nintendo Switch. So are Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Shin Megami Tensei V, and any number of other excellent titles. If you’re serious about gaming, you need to own a Nintendo Switch yesterday, as the lineup of both triple-A titles and indie options is staggering.
The Switch is pretty much available wherever you want to buy it. You might struggle to find the new OLED model, and the chip shortage has hit Nintendo as well, but we were able to find bundles of the new console at most major UK retailers including GAME, Argos, Smyths, and elsewhere. You shouldn’t struggle to get ahold of a Nintendo Switch this Christmas.