The clear cut winner of the best Next Gen console is the one that suits your needs best.
Something that has always struck me about gamers is that brand loyalty runs incredibly deep. In a way it reminds me of patriotism, where fans of a certain brand will fly their flag and search for ways to defend and talk up their preferred company’s next release. Don’t pretend that you don’t know what I’m talking about, because you do, you just might know it from a different, more ominous and oft-tossed-around name; Fanboyism.
Fanboyism is something that has been around for a long time now, or at least is a term that gets tossed around a lot. Let’s face it, while on the internet, one of the easiest ways to dismiss something critical about an upcoming console or game release is to simply look at the dissenter and shout, “Fanboy!” Of course, this isn’t exclusive to gaming, it exists in just about every sort of field of entertainment there is, even professional fight fans are called by the rather inelegant, yet fitting-for-the-sport term of “nuthuggers.” But, that is irrelevent to this discussion, because Explosion.com is a site that brings you gaming news and analysis, so onward with gaming.
What we’ve seen over the past few generations is that gamers have begun dividing themselves up among specific brands, as there becomes more in the way of competition and gamers have to make tough decisions when it comes to purchasing home consoles. Sure, in a perfect world you could own each one and always have an updated PC, but this perfect world doesn’t exist for many. So those tough decisions mean that some gamers are forced to buy one and only one console, and from there, we see the ugly start to emerge. It is tough having to make that decision, and I feel lucky when I own even a majority of the major consoles for any given generation.
From what I’ve seen, that inability to extend beyond one console creates a sort of brand loyalty that at times can mutate and become something more, something ugly. The bitterness about not owning the other console turns into hatred for it, and almost like a way for justifying the purchase of the one console. The truth is, the differences between each console are usually minor differences. Sure, one will have better memory allocation, one might have a better graphics card, one might have a controller you prefer more, but so what? The thing is, what has always been most important is the games, not the logo on the box or the shape of it. Fans are going to be pouring over spec sheets and arguing which console is better of the upcoming big three (Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox 720) for a long time to come, and regardless of which one is the ‘weakest’ or which one is the most forward-thinking, what matters is how you, the gamer, will use it.
It used to be a lot easier to decide a few generations ago. I remember my core group of friends, when it came time to buy consoles, it was pretty much divided by which genres we liked the best. One of my friends prefers JRPGs to just about any other type of game, so for him the PS2 made the most sense, another was primarily a PC gamer and liked shooters, so the Xbox was what worked for him, while another was a nostalgia hound, so playing Mario and Zelda were his main drives to buy a system, and the Gamecube worked best for him. What’s funny is I look back at some of the arguments that went on, and in the end, most of them ended up with at least one other console eventually, if not all of them.
In the end, what matters most for you, the gamer, is to go out and make the smartest purchase for your needs. If the Wii U has you covered, rejoice as you only have a few weeks left to wait before you can purchase it. If Microsoft has never failed you and you await more Halo games, you might have a wait on your hands, but the Xbox 720 should suit you well. Sony has been hush about the PlayStation 4, but all signs point to it coming and coming out within the next year, so if Sony tends to scratch your itch, you will have a wait, but it’ll be worth it, won’t it?
Try not to focus on what other people like better, what other people might have or what they think about your purchase. Be happy and confident and just have fun, that is the point of gaming, isn’t it?