It's been some time since we last talked specifically about current-generation gaming platforms, so this week we thought we'd ask the simple question - which is the one for you? Are you a PS4 fan? Or does the Wii U float your boat? Or is Microsoft's big black box the games machine that you prefer? Or do you forego consoles completely and turn to the venerable PC for your gaming kicks? That's what we want to know this week, as we ask you to pick just one system from the "big three" current-generation consoles - and the PC, of course.
While you formulate your response, here's what the USgamer team have to say about their favorite systems.
When it comes to playing top-of-the-line games, the big releases for a given year, I definitely prefer PlayStation 4 over Xbox One… which is weird, because last gen I spent almost all of my gaming time on Xbox 360. But it's kind of a moot question, because when it comes to the system I play for fun, my pick is Wii U. It's not even a particularly amazing system — it's capable, sure, but the Game Pad doesn't have much value for anything besides serving as a second screen. That functionality is pretty great, though. It sure beats trying to do PS4 remote play on Vita. At least the Wii U Game Pad has all the buttons it needs to play Wii U games...
In any case, I'm not a fan of system wars, so you just go right ahead and play on whichever the hell system you want.
If you'd asked me a month or two ago, I'd have very likely given a different answer - the PlayStation 4. But if I'm going to be honest about this, I have to admit that right now, my Xbox One is being used much more than my trusty old PS4. That's because I've been pouring a ton of time into World of Tanks - which is an Xbox One exclusive - and also been having fun with Gears of War Ultimate Edition - which is also unavailable on Sony's wonder machine. But most importantly of all - at least for me - the release of Forza Motorsport 6 is just around the corner, and that is pretty much the ultimate racing game right now, and there's just no way I can do without that. Not a chance. And with no Gran Turismo on the horizon, that means I'm surprising myself and saying that, for the time being at least, the Xbox One is the system for me.
As for the Wii U, I'd love to have one, but I simply can't afford one right now. And even for the purposes of this feature, I can't pick it ahead of Microsoft's black box, despite longing to have a crack at Super Mario Maker. Everything - even one of the greatest Mario products of all time - unfortunately pales before the massive racing bonanza that is Forza Motorsport 6. That's not me saying one is better than the other. I think they're both incredible products - it's just that I'm a hardcore racing nut, and on a personal level, given a choice, I'd prefer to be driving around in the greatest racer yet than working on Mario levels, even if the choice feels a little like comparing apples to oranges.
And as for the PC. That unfortunately doesn't get a look in right now. Were I still playing World of Warcraft, it might well be my system of choice, since I was spending a huge amount of time per day in that game. But now I'm retired from WoW - at least until the next expansion comes along - there's just nothing on PC that is currently floating my boat.
So yeah. This is a much shorter answer than I thought I'd end up giving, but then the choice is pretty clear for me given what games I want to be playing right now. However, give it a few months, and once I've played out Forza 6, and some of those tempting-looking PlayStation 4 exclusives start hitting retail, then I might end up switching again, because I'm fickle that way. Ultimately, I don't really care that much about platforms - what I care about the most is games, and I'll follow those wherever they happen to be. As long as I can afford the system to play them on, of course.
Aggghhhhhhh. I can't handle this question! If you wanted me to whittle down my platform choice to only two systems, I'd easily pick the PC and the PlayStation 4. That's an easy choice. Yes, I'd miss out on some Xbox One and Wii U exclusives, but I think I could survive.
If I have to pick a single platform, things get much more complicated. The PC pulls ahead of the PlayStation overall, because the PC is a platform with a wide variety. I can play games from Steam, GOG, or on browsers. My PC is finally up-to-date, so most multiplatform games look better than their console counterparts. I don't even miss the controller action of the Xbox One controller or Dual Shock 4, because both controllers plug effortlessly into my desktop. If you have to game on a single system, PC is probably your best choice.
That said, I'd really miss some of the titles that tend to be console only. Especially when you're talking Japanese titles, not having a home console is a bit of a non-starter. If I want to play Persona 5, Star Ocean: Weird Subtitle, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Uncharted 4, Yakuza 5, or Disgaea 5 I need to have a console. That's the kind of thing that makes this such a hard decision and that's why I tend to avoid the decision altogether by having every console under the sun. (Yeah, I did this before I started reviewing games professionally.)
But if I have to pick one, I'll grit my teeth and pick the PC.
If I weren't in the press, I'd be content with a PC and a PlayStation 4. Between those two, I can cover pretty much all of my bases for gaming, absent a handful of Nintendo exclusives on the Nintendo 3DS (sorry, Fire Emblem). But if I had to choose just one, I'd probably pick the PlayStation 4.
As with last generation, it's been pretty easy for me to choose a console. Last generation, I preferred the Xbox 360 because it generally had the superior versions of third-party games in addition to boasting a much slicker UI. This generation, I prefer the PlayStation 4 for pretty much the same reason. I'm also much more excited for Horizon, Last Guardian, and Persona 5 than I am for another Halo.
When it comes to the PC versus the PlayStation 4, I find that the superior power and flexibility of the PC isn't enough to get me to give up my annual sports sims. The PlayStation 4 also has Bloodborne, and very soon, Persona 5. To be sure, I would miss Hearthstone and Civilization; but when it comes down to it, I know what I would choose. Thankfully, I live in a world where I do have an option.
As always, every platform offers its own array of gaming experiences. It's a matter of personal taste which one you prefer. But with its strong array of indie games and high-quality exclusives, the PlayStation 4 can go a long way toward giving you the maximum amount of gaming for your buck. Add in a Nintendo 3DS, and you'll be pretty much set for the rest of the generation.
In terms of how good a system feels, the PlayStation 4 wins, hands-down. Menus load quickly, things are easy to find, and the DualShock 4 is undoubtedly the most comfortable controller I've ever had the pleasure of using. Before Sony's newest console launched, I assumed nothing could top the DualShock 3; now, when I go back to my PS3, something about that once-beloved controller just feels slightly off. Above all, it should really be about the games, but user-friendliness really goes a long way with me. The wide-awake nightmare known as the Xbox One's user interface makes for one of the major reasons I avoid that console outside of work obligations. It's really that bad.
Again, though, it's the games that truly matter, and that's where the Wii U wins. Still there's a bit of a caveat: If all video game production were to end tomorrow, and we judged the current consoles on those terms, Nintendo would definitely come out on top: their internal studios have truly mastered the art of fun, and make their finest work when their backs are against the wall (as they have been for the past three years). But you can't ignore the fact that the Wii U has a year of life left—if that—and these upcoming months will see Nintendo quietly cleaning up, pushing out those last few franchise games, and getting their audience ready for the Next Big Thing. In comparison, the PlayStation 4 is only getting started; 2015 stood as its first big year, with great exclusives like Bloodborne, and the extremely healthy sales of the system indicate it has several years left in it.
So, I'm kind of weaseling out of giving a definitive answer to this question, since there's two possible routes to go. Do you want a nearly dead system with roughly a dozen fantastic, exclusive games, and access to decades of Nintendo's history? Go with a Wii U. Would you rather own a less distinct system with fewer exclusives, but a long life ahead of it? PS4 seems like the best choice. Whatever the case, it's hard to think of either scenario as being a losing one.