Hey, you. Gal or guy who’s interested in video games but still doesn’t have a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One (or, of course, the PC equivalent). Now is the time to buy one.
In November of 2013, when Sony and Microsoft first launched their video game boxes, it was hard to recommend either of them without throwing in some caveats. Both consoles were impressive, sure, and from a technical standpoint they blew their predecessors out of the water, but they just didn’t have enough games. Multiplatform titans like Assassin’s Creed IV and Battlefield were also available on the last-generation Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and it was tough to justify buying a $400 console for the likes of Knack or Ryse. Back then, if you asked me whether you should buy a “next-gen” console, I’d say sure, as long as you kept in mind you were investing in the video games of the future.
Two years later, that future has arrived. Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are a little sleeker, a little cheaper, and way easier to justify, whether you live and breathe video games or you’re just curious about the hobby. If you can deal with all the patches, installations, and other tedious bullshit that’s coupled to modern gaming, then consider this an official recommendation: It’s time to buy a current-generation console.
Go ahead and take a second to browse our lists of the best games for both systems. It’s almost hard to believe how strong they’ve gotten. RPG fans can lose many a weekend to The Witcher 3, Fallout 4, and Divinity: Original Sin. People who prefer more action can mess around in the worlds of Infamous: Second Son or Sunset Overdrive. There’s Batman: Arkham Knight, Bloodborne, Ori and the Blind Forest, Rocket League, and so many more games both big and small that are well worth your time. Some, like Batman and Bloodborne, are exclusive to the newer consoles. Others, like Call of Duty: Black Ops III, don’t even ship with a campaign on PS3 and Xbox 360. Current-gen versions of gems like Metal Gear Solid V and Dragon Age: Inquisition both look and run better than the older ports, and today, two years into this generation, publishers have all but stopped supporting the last generation of consoles.
That’s a lot of proper nouns, right? If you’re not a big gamer, let me slow it down for you. The Witcher 3, a fantasy role-playing game made in Poland, drops you into a massive world and lets you hack your way through all sorts of smart, well-written quests and stories. Rocket League, a digital game, is basically soccer with cars. A few of us Kotaku writers are obsessed with Destiny, and if you’re looking for an excuse to get on voice chat with your friends and shoot some aliens, you could do way worse than the PS4 version. The remade version of The Last of Us, while sometimes clunky and complicated for inexperienced gamers, tells one of the strongest stories in modern media. Until Dawn is an interactive horror movie. All of these games are rewarding in many ways, and they’ll enrich your lives more than Candy Crush or even, dare I say, Threes.
It’s not just games. The new consoles are a lifestyle upgrade for gamers. Sure, the Xbox 360 and PS3 had Netflix and friends lists and could do plenty more than the Xbox and PlayStation 2, but an upgrade to Xbox One and PlayStation 4, consoles with about a half-decade’s worth of better technology in them, should provide some positive culture shock. The new machines multitask better, have sleeker interfaces, and even let you suspend your games so that you can pick up right where you were the next time you wake your console up.
You might be thinking: What about Nintendo? Isn’t the Wii U pretty cool? I hear that Mario Maker thing is awesome. You would be right. But the Wii U, like the Wii before it, is best as a supplement to the other consoles, not a replacement. You’re only going to get Nintendo games there. All of the big multiplatform games—the Call of Dutys, the Batmans, the Fallouts—are designed for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, so if you want to play most modern video games, you’ll have to get one of those three.
Two years into this console generation, we’ve hit the point of no return. Whether you’re a veteran gamer who’s refused to upgrade or you’ve just heard about this “Fallout 4” thing on the subway and you’re curious to see what today’s video games are all about, you should buy a current-gen console. No caveats needed.
You can reach the author of this post at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @jasonschreier.