Top Gaming Consoles for Gamers in 2020
As we draw closer to the next (and possibly last) generation of gaming systems, the opportune time to grab one from this current era is finally here. With incredible libraries of games that continue to grow and prices that are the most affordable they’ve ever been, you’ll want to pick up one of these consoles soon to really make it worth your money.
After years spent playing each system and carefully weighing the pros and cons of each, we’ve decided that the PlayStation 4 Pro is the best gaming console of 2019. While the Xbox One X might hold the torch when it comes to hardware, the PS4 Pro offers similar capabilities and the most high-fidelity games, including an incredible number of exclusives.
1. PlayStation 4 Pro
Why you should buy this: It’s the best version of the most popular console and has the highest number of high-fidelity games.
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, HDR 10 compatibility, and the PlayStation 4’s exclusive game library, it is currently 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) sees more exclusive games each year. The PS4 also has access to a small number of less well-known indie games and niche titles, such as Japanese role-playing games, that the Xbox One does not.
That’s the main reason for our pick. The PS4 has the best games, and the PS4 Pro makes them look as stunning as possible. The Xbox One X is technically even more powerful — but it lacks must-have exclusives. There’s just not as much to play.
Picking PlayStation 4 also opens the door for you to pick up PlayStation VR, which, as we’ve noted, is the most affordable premium VR headset available. Microsoft, meanwhile, has confirmed that VR support is not coming to the Xbox One X, nor will it likely be coming to the next-generation Xbox Series X.
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. Most major games offer some form of support for the system, whether it be improved framerate, 4K resolution, HDR support, or all three.
2. Xbox One X
Why you should buy this: With a 4K Blu-ray player and HDR, it offers access to both great new games and high-resolution video.
Who it’s for: Players who want to play games and watch movies at the highest possible image quality.
Why we picked the Xbox One X: Sony led the charge on the mid-generation console update with the PS4 Pro but by taking its time, Microsoft gave us the better hardware in the Xbox One X. It offers the same 4K Blu-ray and HDR video playback as the One S, while also bringing that visual enhancement to games. Microsoft wasn’t exaggerating when they told us the Xbox One X is the most powerful home gaming console ever sold, at least for now. It won’t be getting VR, however — which may disappoint those hoping it could be an inexpensive entry point to high-quality VR experiences.
For those who haven’t made the jump to 4K, both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One S are great consoles with large game libraries. You will be able to play the vast majority of new and upcoming games, including a few exclusive franchises like Halo, Gears of War, and Forza. Plus, if you are (or were) an Xbox 360 owner, a very large number of the last-gen console’s games are now compatible with the Xbox One, which could expand your game library and keep at least some of your old games in rotation. So grab a controller and get gaming!
3. Nintendo Switch
Why you should buy this: You want a full console gaming experience — but on the go.
Who it’s for: Everyone
Why we picked the Nintendo Switch: Nintendo sidestepped the current console arms race by changing not how you use your console, but where. The Switch is a hybrid device that plugs into a television like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but also works as a handheld.
While it doesn’t quite have the oomph to play the latest 4K, 60 fps releases for Xbox One or PS4, the Switch can play Doom (2016) at a smooth 30 fps anywhere you want, and that’s more than good enough for a lot of gamers. In addition to contemporary titles like the Wolfenstein II port, the Switch has also proved itself as a fantastic venue for reviving modern classics, such as Skyrim, L.A. Noire, and Dark Souls Remastered.
More than just a clearance house for lightly aged AAA titles, the Switch also offers an ever-growing catalog of fantastic first-party games like Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, as well as excellent indies such as Stardew Valley, Celeste, and Dead Cells. Add in some forward-looking experiments with Nintendo Labo, and the Switch is looking like a well-rounded platform with something unique to offer everyone.
Most recently, Nintendo even released a virtual reality kit built from Labo, letting younger players enjoy the world of VR while also creating new gadgets to use on the system. It makes use of the Switch’s built-in screen rather than a dedicated headset, making it one of the most “Nintendo” products we’ve seen in a long time.
If you plan on only using your Nintendo Switch in handheld mode, you can also choose the Nintendo Switch Lite. It lacks the television docking support of the standard system, but features a smaller size and a slightly better battery life than the console that launched in 2019. It’s compatible out of the box with nearly every Nintendo Switch game, as well, and is perfect for Pokémon Sword and Shield.
The Switch is also a great companion console for people who already own a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X. It can do things its competitors can’t and offers many appealing titles that will never appear on a PlayStation or Xbox.
4. SNES Classic Edition
Why you should buy this: It has 20 of the best games ever made for only $80.