[GUIDE] Xbox One/PS4/Wii U/PC – How to Choose!?
> Which platform-exclusive titles do I prefer?
If you prefer games like Halo, Forza, Gears of War, Quantum Break and Sunset Overdrive, Xbox One should be your platform of choice. Microsoft is playing to its strength and a multitude of exciting fresh IP’s are also slated for release on its newest console.
In case you adore games like Bloodborne, Infamous, Persona, God of War, Gran Turismo, & Uncharted, your best bet would be the PlayStation 4. Sony has a history of publishing top-quality and critically-acclaimed exclusive titles for its platforms and all indications point towards a continuation of this practice.
For long-time Mario, Zelda, Super Smash Bros., Xenoblade and Bayonetta fans, the lesser powerful but immensely fun and family-oriented Wii U console should be the natural choice. Nintendo’s console boasts of the largest percentage of highest-rated exclusives on any current-gen console platform.
The PC exclusives are mostly limited to real-time strategy (RTS), massively multiplayer online (MMO), and computer role-playing games (CRPG). Blizzard Entertainment’s Starcraft, Warcraft & Diablo franchises have their home on personal computers around the globe. Steam games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, DOTA 2 and Team Fortress 2 also have a massive online presence. Not to mention this platform has the largest collection of indie titles.
> Which platform should I choose for multi-platform games?
All multi-platform games usually look and perform better on the PC, followed by PS4, then Xbox One and finally the Wii U. This trend is synonymous with how much processing power (both in terms of CPU and GPU computes) each respective platform possesses. An exception to this rule mostly has to do with incompetent developers which result in bad ports. High-end PCs have the potential to achieve 4k/60fps, while console titles, at best, are limited to 1080p/60fps (which is a rarity!).
An important factor which might influence your decision would be the presence of additional content on a certain platform. This could be in the form of exclusive playable characters, extra missions, in-game money and additional guns amongst other things.
A person’s choice of controller also has an important say in the matter when choosing between platforms. Console manufacturers have improved the design of their controllers and have come out with much better and innovative designs this generation. PC enjoys an advantage in this respect as most gamepads, including the DualShock 4, Xbox One and Wii U controllers, are compatible with the platform to some extent. Valve’s Steam Controller is slated for release on PC in late 2015 and it is expected to revolutionize the very concept of gamepads.
It is important to note that the Wii U has the least number of cross-platform titles to its name. So it would be advisable to look towards other avenues as far as multi-platform titles are concerned.
> Motion-control Gaming?
All three consoles pack optional motion-controlling devices although focus has largely shifted away from the technology as the generation has progressed.
Kinect 2.0 sensor is compatible with the Xbox One and supported games include Kinect Sports Rivals, Dance Central and Fighter Within. Both the Wii U controller and the DualShock 4 come with built-in motion-sensing hardware. The PS4 also supports the Playstation Move controller, which pairs with the Playstation Camera to complete the PS4’s motion-sensing package.
Very few games have tapped into the motion-sensing capabilities of each platform so far. PS4’s VR technology, Project Morpheus, is expected to utilize motion-control although nothing concrete has been shown yet.
> How’s the Online Component, comparatively speaking?
If you’re a multiplayer console gamer, an Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus subscription is pretty much essential. Both the PS4 and Xbox One’s online services are behind a pay wall, which means you have to pay an annual subscription fee for online play. Certain features are available for free but it is advisable to buy a subscription to extract the most out of these online services. Meanwhile, the Wii U’s online service i.e. Nintendo Network, is absolutely free, albeit limited in terms of features when compared to Xbox Live and PSN.
PC boasts the largest online community. And the biggest advantage it holds over its competitors is that online gaming is free (provided you own the game of course), thanks to clients like Steam, Battle.net and Origin. Valve’s Steam, in particular, created a new record for having nine million concurrent Steam users in March 2015. Rest assured, you will rarely find yourself alone while playing multiplayer games on a PC. It is, however, likely for console-centric games like Call of Duty, FIFA, and NBA 2K to have a larger user base on the PS4 and Xbox One.
Playstation Plus members, in particular, are treated to free games every now and then, much more than Xbox Live and Nintendo members. But the sweetest game deals lie with the PC crowd, in the form of weekend, summer and Holiday sales on Steam and other clients. On these occasions many PC games get discounted up to 90% at times, even recent titles! PSN sales have also begun to get more aggressive, with seasonal as well as flash sales on offer from time to time.
> Can I play pirated games on newer consoles?
None of the newer consoles have been cracked yet. Sorry console pirates.
> Why should I stick with previous-gen consoles?
Xbox 360, PS3 and the Wii are gradually being phased-out. Lesser and lesser new multi-plat titles are being released on the platforms and the exclusives list has more or less dried out. Developers are mostly sticking with new-gen consoles because it allows them a greater amount of freedom and ease to experiment and push the boundaries of technology even further.
Case in point being Shadow of Mordor’s widely-acclaimed Nemesis system, only a fraction of which ended up being implemented on the Xbox 360 and PS3 version. Not to mention newer games look and perform comparatively worse off on previous-gen consoles.
This is not to say that older consoles will be hung out to dry completely. Cross-generation games are still being released and if you can’t afford to upgrade or have a backlog of games to finish, it would be advisable to stick with your current console. FIFA, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed and many more games are still being released for older platforms.
> Which system is costlier?
Costly is a relative term. Today, a gaming PC built from off-the-shelf parts in the budget range of $500-$600 would out-perform the PS4, Xbox One and the Wii U nine times out of ten. Alternatively, it’s also possible to get a cheaper deal on slightly used or open box PC components.
On the other hand, retail discs are hard to get-by on the PC so digital purchase is the preferred way to go; disadvantage being that the game cannot be traded or sold once bought. Console game discs, on the other hand, are easily available and there’s also huge demand for second-hand retail discs.
A gaming PC might also require mandatory hardware upgrades just a few years down the line whereas a console is good to go for the next five years after release, at the very least. Although, given the relatively weak CPUs in all the consoles, it’s unlikely that a CPU/Motherboard upgrade would be a major concern for anyone with a decent i5 processor or above.
> Which combo is appropriate if I am desirous of owning two gaming machines?
If you don’t care about gaming on the PC and want to remain a console-only gamer, you could buy any two consoles depending upon which platform-exclusive titles interest you. Either combo from Xbox One & PS4, PS4 & Wii U or Xbox One & Wii U would serve you well.
With the imminent release of Windows 10 and Direct X12, a lot of Xbox One games are expected to be ported over to the Windows platform, and vice versa. So purely from a gaming point of view, it wouldn’t be smart to own both a PC and an Xbox One when both platforms would be offering similar content.
A PC & Wii U or PC & PS4 combo will ensure that you get to enjoy both the perks of gaming on a PC and experience playing quality console-exclusive titles.
> But I want to experience PC gaming from the comforts of a couch!
One word; Steam Machines. It’s a gaming PC enclosed in the form factor of a console, runs SteamOS and ships with a Steam Controller. Some of these Steam Machines are fully upgradeable, while others are limited to system memory and hard drive upgrades. Many Steam Machines will also support the KB/Mouse combo.
Its biggest drawback being that it will only be able to play SteamOS supported games in the Steam library. That’s a library of 4500 games only, a small number compared to those present on Windows-based PC’s.
> Can I play older games? Do new consoles support backwards-compatibility?
PC holds the biggest advantage in this domain. Whether a game was released in the 1980’s or 2000’s, a PC will run it provided minimum requirements are met.
The Wii U is backwards-compatible with nearly all Wii games courtesy of the Wii Mode ; whether they’re Wii retail discs or virtual Wii titles and supporting software.
[E3 2015 Update] Microsoft recently announced that the Xbox One will be backwards-compatible with Xbox 360 games via an emulator that runs on the console. Around 100 titles will be able for play by Fall 2015 and Microsoft claims hundreds more will be added to the collection in subsequent months. Xbox One console features like game streaming, game DVR and screenshots will be available within the emulator. The emulator works with both game-discs and digital titles. Players would even get to enjoy multiplayer thanks to this feature.
The PS4 is not purely backwards-compatible. Although Sony has initiated Playstation Now, a service which allows PS3 and older PS titles to be streamed on to the PS4 console. A stable and fast internet connection is mandatory for the service to work though. Unfortunately, the service doesn’t come free, and games can only be rented out for a limited period of time. However, Sony does offer an annual subscription plan that requires an upfront payment, much like Playstation Plus.
A plethora of Remastered editions for new-gen consoles with enhanced visuals and improved game frame-rates have been released and plans for more are currently in the pipeline which will ensure that one doesn’t miss out on many of the critically-acclaimed titles from previous generation of consoles.
> Mod support?
PC should be the obvious choice. Consoles do not support modding.
Credit goes to @Pleasant for helping out with the banner design and @CerebralTiger for his aid with the content. Not to forget @Raptorian‘s original guide which served as inspiration and proved to be a very valuable resource. You guys were a great help!
This guide is designed to be community-driven and ever-evolving. Please feel free to point out mistakes and suggest additions.