“What game console should I buy?” Whether you’re an experienced gamer or someone buying your first system, it’s an important question. And with so many options on the market, it can be a tough one to answer.
That’s where we come in. At Asurion, we know tech. From game console repairs to ways you can extend the life of your console, we've got you covered. Here’s what to consider when shopping for your newest gaming system so you can choose the one that’s right for you.
What to consider when buying a gaming system
Many consoles offer the same games, but not all of them offer the same features. We’ll walk you through what you should consider, from features to portability.
What type of games do you enjoy?
Do you prefer turn-based action? First-person shooters? Or maybe side-scrolling platformers?
These are things you’ll want to consider when shopping around for a new game console. Some games, like Mortal Kombat 1 or Dark Souls are better played on a specific console because of software requirements or graphics. While others just aren’t available on certain systems—say Mario Kart on PlayStation®, or Horizon: Forbidden West on Xbox®.
What's your gaming console budget?
Most gaming consoles cost $200–$700, and the more storage space the console has, the more it’s likely going to cost.
With digital editions or drive-less consoles, you get what you pay for. These come without an attached disc drive, meaning the only way to get and play games is by downloading them online. It’s a cheaper alternative and OK if you’re just going to dabble. But the games you download will take up huge chunks of storage space. That’ll likely force you to delete games to play new ones or spend more money upfront to get more storage space for the console.
The devices we love aren’t cheap. Protect them with Asurion Home+.
We’ll cover your favorite home tech plus provide 24/7 live support, all for less than $1 per day.
What are some gaming features you can’t live without?
Do you have a ton of games saved to the PlayStation Network (PSN®)? Are you obsessed with graphics-heavy games? Different systems offer different features. Here are a few you should think about when you buy a console:
- Backwards compatibility. This means your gaming system can play games from previous consoles on the new one. So you can play your PS4® games on the new PS5® with no trouble. But if you're trying to make the switch to Xbox, you can’t take your old PlayStation games with you.
- Random access memory (RAM). This is the system’s short-term data. The amount of RAM the console has directly affects game load times and in-game lag. So if you’re planning on playing games that may require more render time, you should up the RAM ante.
- Graphics processing unit. This part of your console handles the stunning graphics you’ll see on screen. If breath-taking graphics are essential for your future gaming console, the higher the tera-flops (a measure of computing performance), the better the graphics processing unit (GPU).
- Solid-state drive. Storage. Storage. Storage. The higher the capacity of the solid-state drive (SSD), the more games you can download and play. When your console doesn’t have enough space, you’ll have to delete game files to play new ones.
Do you need a portable gaming device?
Do you mostly play at home, or is gaming something you want to do while riding in an Uber® or taking the bus? This is another important question to consider. Two consoles are geared towards gaming on the go: The Nintendo Switch® and the Valve™ Steam Deck™. But if you’re mostly going to play games at home or occasionally pack a console in your carry-on, the Xbox or the PlayStation are good options.
What are the most popular gaming consoles?
There is no best gaming platform—only the best one for you. Here are some popular options that you should consider. We’ll break down their pros and cons so you can make an informed decision.
Sony PlayStation 5 ($$$$)
When it comes to games—and PlayStation exclusives (games you can only get for the PlayStation)—no one does it better than Sony®. Some of the company’s latest offerings are movie-quality, which means they‘re not only amazing to play, they’re fun to watch too. So it’s easy to see why Sony often wins Game of the Year awards.
The PS5 also has a digital edition, which is a bit cheaper, but remember, it doesn’t have a disc drive.
- Supports 4K and 8K graphics
- Custom 10.3-teraflop AMD Radeon RDNA GPU graphics engine
- 16GB of RAM
- Custom 825GB SSD
- Expandable storage
Popular games: God of War: Ragnarök, Spider-Man 2, The Last of Us
Microsoft Xbox Series X ($$$)
Not only does this console give you powerful gaming, great graphics, and minimal lag—something you’d expect from a computer software company—it blends seamlessly into any living room or home theater. You can use it as a hub to stream or access entertainment, making it useful for everyone in the family.
Microsoft also offers the more budget-friendly, less feature-heavy Xbox Series S. But the Series X has more RAM and triples the graphics performance.
- Access to 4K gaming
- Backwards compatibility
- 16GB of RAM
- 1TB SSD
- 12-teraflop AMD RDNA 2 GPU
Popular games: Halo Infinite, Devil May Cry 5, High on Life
Nintendo Switch ($)
The Switch doesn’t have as powerful an engine or as big of a game library as other consoles, but it does have great legacy games. Only Nintendo offers the Super Mario, Legend of Zelda, and Pokémon titles. All had really good releases in 2023 as well. Equally cool: The Switch goes from handheld gaming to full-on gaming with little effort. Plus it comes in three different models allowing you get the one that works best for you.
The standard version of the Nintendo Switch probably works for most gamers. But if it’s in your budget, you could upgrade to the Nintendo Switch OLED console—it comes with a bigger screen, a faster processor, and bigger storage. Looking for something less expensive? Try the Nintendo Switch Lite. It’s a great, inexpensive option, just like your old Game Boy™.
- Supports TV connection
- 6.3-inch LCD screen
- 32GB of internal storage
- 4–9 hours of battery life
Popular games: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet, Super Mario Bros. Wonder
Valve Steam Deck ($$)
The biggest draw for this console is the Steam app—with the app, you can access your games across all compatible devices from anywhere. So you can start a game of Castlevania on your Steam Deck and pick it up on your laptop later. The Steam game library offers titles from different platforms and some old-school ones as well. If gaming on the go is something you value, this may be the system for you.
The price of the Steam Deck varies depending on the size of storage you opt for. We recommend the 256GB version and adding microSD cards for more storage when you need it.
- 7-inch screen
- 1.3 Teraflop 8 RDNA 2 GPU
- 16GB of on-board RAM
- 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage versions
Popular games: Elden Ring, Cuphead, Hades
No matter which gaming console you decide is the right one to purchase, make sure that you protect it. With the Asurion Home+® protection plan, your console and controllers—plus thousands of other eligible devices in your home like your computer and TV—will be covered from breakdowns caused by defects, normal wear and tear, and more. Our worry-free plan is different than just gaming console insurance or a traditional warranty and extends to old, new, and even future purchases, regardless of size, brand, or style. To learn more, visit asurion.com/homeplus/.