It’s an interesting time to be buying a game console. Three years into the current console generation, we are seeing (and hearing) about a new array of incrementally improved hardware, such as Sony’s PS4 Pro, Microsoft’s “Project Scorpio,” and sub-platforms, like PlayStation VR.
This is somewhat problematic, as the primary benefit of a gaming console is its simplicity. There are many compelling arguments as to why players who care about performance or want access to the greatest number of games should invest in a gaming PC — the ability to mod games, change intricate performance settings, and Steam sales all come to mind — but there is a large contingency of people deaf to those arguments because they simply want to buy a game and play it.
Still, game consoles remain the easiest way to get into gaming. And while consoles are changing, our top picks remain the same.
Why should you buy this: It’s the best version of the most popular console, and has the highest number of high-fidelity games.
Who’s it for: Everyone, but especially players with a 4K TV.
How much will it cost: $400
Why we picked the PlayStation 4 Pro:
The PlayStation 4 Pro is the best version of the most popular game platform available today. With 4K and HDR 10 compatibility and the most powerful components in a dedicated gaming platform, it is the best plug-and-play gaming platform.
A very large majority of both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One libraries are available on both platforms. Though both platforms have popular exclusive franchises, the PlayStation 4 (Pro or standard) does receive access to small number of less well-known indie games and niche titles, such as Japanese role-playing games, that the Xbox One does not.
Picking PlayStation 4 over Xbox One or Wii U also opens the door for you to pick up PlayStation VR, which, as we’ve noted, is the most affordable premium VR headset available. While there are rumors of Rift support for the Xbox One, PSVR is the only option for console VR right now – and it’s a good one.
While it can be difficult to take advantage of the PlayStation 4 Pro’s advanced features, namely HDR support, the improvements it provides to even unoptimized games make it the most technically impressive way to play the largest number of games on a console. Depending on how well its adopted by developers — and whether 4K and HDR catch on — the PS4 Pro could represent the future of console gaming.