It may be too late already as you’re marching home with a newly purchased Black Friday console in hand, but I just wanted to chime in with my own thoughts about what system you should consider picking up, even if it’s not the on featured in all the sales ads today.
That would be the PS4 Pro, a system that seems to actually have zero official Black Friday special deals (though it might be getting a few for Cyber Monday). At $399 it isn’t cheap compared to the $250 bundles we’re seeing for other consoles, including the PS4 Slim itself, but in my estimation, it might be worth the extra cost for a few reasons, and there are some issues with its competitors that you might want to be aware of.
While it is the case that PS4 Pro works best with a 4K HDR TV, something that many people don’t own, that may be about to change as after all, there are a ton of big Black Friday/holiday deals on 4K TVs. It’s becoming clear that 4K is going to be the standard format for TVs sooner rather than later, and right now, PS4 Pro is the console best positioned to take advantage of that growing market. I have argued that the TV itself, if you get a good one, is the single best thing to make your games look better, but PS4 Pro is a close second, and it’s a fantastic system to pair with any new 4K TV purchase.
I have nothing against PS4 Slim, which is now the new standard PS4, and many of those $250 deals are a steal. However, with PS4 Pro, you are buying yourself a fair amount of future proofing. It is true that all games are going to be made for both PS4 and PS4 Pro going forward, as that was Sony’s stipulation for the new console, but it’s clear Pro is going to be the new standard that all developers are working toward. It unlocks more power, potential higher resolution and framerates, and is inarguably the “best” way to play PS4 games, even if it’s not as noticeably different as a full console generation leap.
I actually have a lot of good things to say about the Xbox One Slim, which is another extremely viable console purchase today, and this entire season. It plays 4K Blu-ray, which is something even PS4 Pro can’t do, and despite not coming with a big power bump, allows for great-looking HDR as well. It’s certainly the best version of Xbox in existence right now, and it’s worth a look.
However, the very same day Microsoft announced the Xbox One Slim this summer, they also announced the Xbox Scorpio, a powerful new system that’s set to come out this fall, one that should outperform the PS4 Pro. That’s great, but it doesn’t bode terribly well for prospects of the Xbox One Slim. While Sony’s PS4 Pro will assuredly be its standard bearer for the next few years at least, if you pick up an Xbox Slim today, it only has a year until the Scorpio comes along to usurp its throne as the next greatest Xbox. That may not bother some people, but others may be a bit annoyed with such a short window there.
Nintendo, as ever, continues to be on its own plane of existence. The Wii U has a number of great games to be sure, but they’re all older titles at this point, and Nintendo is about to cease production of the system entirely. And from what I’ve seen, the Wii U sales are not even all that much better than Xbox One/PS4 Slim sales, so you’re not really even saving that much money purchasing a nearly obsolete console.
You may want to hold off on buying any console until the Nintendo Switch comes out this spring. While I do have faith that the Switch will prove to be an improvement over the Wii U and worth buying for a few reasons, I do not believe that Nintendo is about to securely position themselves as the only console you need to own. It’s A) unclear just how many third parties they have on board, what games they’re making, and how long that support will last and B) even if every single third party game came out for the Switch, the specs of the box likely mean that these versions may be visually inferior to other versions on more traditional consoles, especially once both the Pro and Scorpio are humming along.
A decision like this ultimately comes down to personal opinion to a certain extent, but if we’re going with just pure logic, I really do believe that PS4 Pro is the “best” choice this year. It’s a more powerful versions of the PS4, which has already won this console generation, and Sony will stick with it for years while its competitors are about to introduce their own new systems in 2017. It pairs well with another common holiday purchase, a 4K TV, and it’s got some great exclusives coming out pretty soon like Horizon: Zero Dawn, among others.
If you want to save the $150 and get an Xbox or PS4 Slim, I don’t blame you. There are some really great deals out there. But a console should be a pretty lengthy investment, and right now, I think that PS4 Pro is the only console you can buy right this minute that is almost guaranteed to remain relevant for years to come.
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