7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (2024)

7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (1)

As of 2021, we are currently in the ninth generation of home gaming consoles. With the 2020 release of the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X and S systems, gaming has taken bold steps into the future with improved graphics, performance, and online connectivity.

Or, that would be the case if not for a global chip shortage, the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on game development, and record-setting demand. Going into your local electronics store, you’d be hard pressed to find any ninth-generation game consoles for sale. Online shopping offers slightly better supply levels, but the newest consoles are still very hard to find for sale at their market value.

Despite availability concerns, the latest generation of gaming consoles has a lot to offer new and veteran gamers alike.

What to Consider

When it comes to buying a new gaming console, the biggest hurdle is availability. Because of sky-high demand and the ongoing global chip shortage, new gaming consoles are hard to come by. In particular, the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X remain the most challenging consoles to find at market price.

Other than what’s available, consider what kinds of games you and other members of your household love to play. The three main console makers, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, all offer wildly different game libraries focused on different kinds of gamers.

How We Selected

Many of these recommendations come from hundreds of hours of in-house use. For the products we couldn’t test ourselves, we researched expert sources like Wired, CNET, Wirecutter, Tom’s Guide, Insider, and Techradar, as well thousands of consumer reviews from online storefronts on Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and more. As for the consoles themselves, we evaluated them on their functionality, performance, library of games, and price.

We have our eye on upcoming consoles like the Analogue Pocket, Steam Deck, and Playdate. We will keep this list up to date as those consoles become available.

1

Critic's Choice

Sony Playstation 5

7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (2)

1

Critic's Choice

Sony Playstation 5

Pros
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (3)Stunning graphical performance
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (4)An excellent controller
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (5)Great library of PS5 and PS4 games
Cons
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (6)Hard to find

Key Specs

  • Display Resolution: 4K resolution at up to 120 frames per second
  • Storage: 825GB SSD, supports external M.2 SSD drives
  • Game Compatibility: All PS5 games and almost all PS4 games
  • Multimedia Support: Disk version supports Blu-ray and DVD; both versions support digital streaming apps
  • Portable: No
  • Year Released: 2020

The fastest-selling Sony console to date, the demand for the Playstation 5 (PS5) has far outstripped the supply. One of the main reasons is the PS5’s awesome library of games. With exclusive titles like Demon’s Souls, Returnal, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade, the PS5 is home to the newest, most technically-impressive games.

The PS5 is also backwards-compatible with PS4 games, meaning access to the PS4’s frankly huge list of critically acclaimed titles.

In terms of technology, the PS5 is a very capable machine, with stunning graphics and fast performance, thanks to a strong graphics card, processor, and storage drive. The PS5 controller deserves special mention, as it is much improved, thanks to incredible haptics and USB-C charging.

The PS5 comes in two versions: a disk edition and a digital edition. The digital edition is slightly cheaper, but does not have a disk drive.

2

Most Powerful

Microsoft Xbox Series X

7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (7)

Pros
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (8)Very impressive performance
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (9)Xbox Game Pass offers great value
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (10)Robust online connectivity
Cons
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (11)Hard to find
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (12)Not many must-play games

Key Specs

  • Display Resolution: 4K resolution at up to 120 frames per second
  • Storage: 1TB SSD, supports proprietary SSD expansion cards
  • Game Compatibility: All Xbox Series games and specific Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Xbox games
  • Multimedia Support: Blu-ray, DVD, CD, digital streaming apps
  • Portable: No
  • Year Released: 2020

On paper, the Xbox Series X is the most powerful next gen console available. With 4K visuals, impressive frame rates, HDR support, advanced ray tracing, and a myriad of other technical specs, games on the Xbox Series X run like a dream.

For fans of first-person shooters, racing games, sports series, and simulation titles, the Xbox is the console to pick. With stunning titles like Forza Horizon 5, Microsoft Flight Simulator, all the popular sports franchises, and heavy-hitter Halo Infinite, fans of these genres will be happy with Xbox’s game library.

Xbox also offers an excellent value proposition in the form of Xbox Game Pass. This affordable subscription gives you access to a library of hundreds of rotating games from a wide variety of genres.

3

Best Value

Microsoft Xbox Series S

7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (13)

7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (14)

3

Best Value

Microsoft Xbox Series S

Pros
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (15)Affordable (and available)
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (16)Xbox Game Pass offers great value
Cons
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (17)Not many must-play games

Key Specs

  • Display Resolution: 1440p resolution at up to 120 frames per second
  • Storage: 512GB SSD, supports proprietary SSD expansion cards
  • Game Compatibility: All digital Xbox Series games and specific downloadable Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Xbox games
  • Multimedia Support: Digital streaming apps
  • Portable: No
  • Year Released: 2020

The major advantage the Xbox Series S console has over nearly every other new console on the market is that it isn’t sold out.

Unlike with the PS5 and Xbox Series X, you have a good chance of purchasing an Xbox Series S console for its very affordable market value. Combine its low price with an Xbox Game Pass subscription and the Xbox Series S console offers perhaps the best value of any console out there.

But enough about affordability: Is the Xbox Series S a good console?

Although it's less powerful than its Series X and PS5 brethren, the Series S delivers an easy, convenient gaming experience for users not chasing cutting edge performance. It runs games at 1080p and 1440p resolutions wonderfully, and as long as you don’t mind its diskless form factor, it makes for a great console for most gamers.

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4

Best for Multiple Players

Nintendo Switch

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7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (19)

4

Best for Multiple Players

Nintendo Switch

Pros
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (20)Amazing exclusive games
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (21)Great for multiplayer
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (22)Excellent battery life
Cons
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (23)Controllers are easily lost

Key Specs

  • Display Resolution: 1080p 60FPS when docked, 720p 60FPS when handheld
  • Storage: 32GB, supports external microSD cards
  • Game Compatibility: All Switch games via cartridge or digital download
  • Multimedia Support: Select streaming apps via Nintendo eShop
  • Portable: Yes, 4.5 to 9 hours of battery life, USB-C rechargeable
  • Year Released: 2019 (-01 model), 2017 (original model)

Riding the line between current generation and last generation is the ever-popular Nintendo Switch. By far the best-selling console between Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony, the Nintendo Switch distinguishes itself in two ways: through its unique form factor and excellent library of exclusive games.

The Switch is designed as a hybrid console, one you can just as easily enjoy at home or on the go. Its hybrid design also extends to the controller, able to split in half easily to instantly accommodate two-player gaming sessions. Overall, its design works amazingly well.

On the games side, the Nintendo Switch has the most exciting library of games by far. With dozens of exclusive critically acclaimed titles like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and so much more, it’s worth getting a Switch system for the games alone.

Combine these Nintendo titles with great indie game offerings like Hades and Hollow Knight, and the Nintendo Switch offers the best catalog of games for players of all ages.

5

Most Portable

Nintendo Switch Lite

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5

Most Portable

Nintendo Switch Lite

Pros
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (25)Great travel form factor
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (26)Affordable
Cons
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (27)Cannot connect to TVs or monitors

Key Specs

  • Display Resolution: 720p 60FPS
  • Storage: 32GB, supports external microSD cards
  • Game Compatibility: All Switch games via cartridge or digital download
  • Multimedia Support: Select streaming apps via Nintendo eShop
  • Portable: Yes, 3 to 7 hours of battery life, USB-C rechargeable
  • Year Released: 2019

The Nintendo Switch Lite is essentially a travel-focused version of the original Nintendo Switch. The main difference between the two is that the Switch Lite cannot be connected to a TV or monitor: the only mode of play available is handheld. In addition, the Joy-Con controllers cannot be removed from the console, meaning no spontaneous multiplayer sessions.

However, for gamers specifically looking to enjoy their games on the go, the Switch Lite is an enticing option. It can play nearly all the same amazing games the original Switch can, has only slightly less battery life, and is available at a significantly cheaper price point. If gaming on the go is your top priority, the Switch Lite is the console for you.

6

Best Sound

Nintendo Switch OLED

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7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (29)

6

Best Sound

Nintendo Switch OLED

Pros
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (30)Beautiful OLED screen
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (31)Improved speakers, kickstand, and dock design
Cons
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (32)OLED panel still only displays at 720p resolution
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (33)Controllers are easily lost

Key Specs

  • Display Resolution: 1080p 60FPS when docked, 720p 60FPS when handheld
  • Storage: 64GB, supports external microSD cards
  • Game Compatibility: All Switch games via cartridge or digital download
  • Multimedia Support: Select streaming apps via Nintendo eShop
  • Portable: Yes, 4.5 to 9 hours of battery life, USB-C rechargeable
  • Year Released: 2021

The newest addition to the Nintendo Switch console family, the Switch OLED is a small but noticeable improvement over the original Switch for a small bump in price. The main change is to the screen: the Switch OLED houses a vivid seven-inch OLED display. Compared with the original Switch’s smaller LCD display, handheld gaming really pops on the Switch OLED.

Other changes are mostly to the design, with the OLED housing improved speakers, a much better kickstand, and an ethernet port on the docking tray. It also has 64GB of internal storage, compared to the original Switch’s 32GB. Overall, the Switch OLED is a great choice for fans of Nintendo who will be spending a lot of time gaming.

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7

Best for Throwback Games

SEGA Genesis Mini

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7

Best for Throwback Games

SEGA Genesis Mini

Pros
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (35)Awesome selection of retro games
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (36)Plug-and-play design
Cons
  • 7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (37)Three-button (not six-button) controller variant

Key Specs

  • Display Resolution: 1080p 60FPS
  • Storage: N/A
  • Game Compatibility: N/A
  • Multimedia Support: N/A
  • Portable: No
  • Year Released: 2019

There have been a slew of retro throwback consoles released as of late. From Nintendo’s NES and Super NES Classic to Sony’s miniature Playstation Classic, retro gaming is having a serious moment. But the most well-executed retro home console might be the Sega Genesis Mini.

With 40 pre-loaded games (that’s double the amount offered on the Playstation Classic) including hits like Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Phantasy Star IV, and Street Fighter 2, the Genesis Mini offers the chance to enjoy a wide variety of classic titles.

The design is also a wonderful recreation of the original console, with attention to detail throughout. Just don’t expect it to outperform any modern-day console.

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Harry Rabinowitz

Harry Rabinowitz is a writer, editor, and columnist covering the latest and greatest products in the gaming industry. He also works to tell educational and entertaining stories about tech, entertainment, home goods, and more. When he’s not learning or writing something new, he’s probably heading to the library for a new graphic novel to read.

7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer (2024)

FAQs

7 Best Game Consoles for Every Gamer? ›

The Xbox Series X is the most powerful console on the market, and together with a Game Pass subscription it gives you an almost endless library of titles to dive into.

What is the overall best gaming console? ›

Game console showdown: PS5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and more
  • PlayStation 5. Best game console overall.
  • Xbox Series X. Best versatile game console.
  • Nintendo Switch OLED. Best game console for the family.
  • Steam Deck. Best for Steam platform games.
  • Xbox Series S. Best budget game console.
May 4, 2023

What is the most powerful console right now? ›

The Xbox Series X is the most powerful console on the market, and together with a Game Pass subscription it gives you an almost endless library of titles to dive into.

Is Xbox better than PS5? ›

If you're completely fresh to games and money is no issue, PS5 is the best console in 2023. If you have an Xbox games catalogue and / or you're looking for value for money as well as cutting edge tech, then Xbox Series X is the best option.

Will there be a PS6? ›

PS5's development started in 2015, and then it was released five years later. Based off a 2021 job listing from Sony that suggests the development of a new console, we can assume that the PS6 release date will be around 2026.

What is the number 1 console of all time? ›

Sony's PlayStation 2 is the best-selling game system overall with over 155 million units worldwide.

Which console is best value for money? ›

Best value console: Xbox Series S

It'll play all the Xbox Series X games, albeit not in 4K, and Xbox Game Pass makes it a continuing bargain. You'll need to budget for some external hard drive space to get the most from it, but it's worth it, thanks to the plethora of Xbox exclusives to catch up on.

Why does everyone want a PS5? ›

The main reason you should be buying a console is for the games. And many incredible PS5-exclusive games are coming to the console in 2023. Marvel's Spider-Man 2 and Stellar Blade are just a few examples of some of the amazing adventures that are coming to the system.

Why should I buy PS5 over Xbox? ›

While the PS5 and Xbox Series X are similar in terms of quality and performance, the PS5's exclusive games and gameplay-focused features make it more enticing for buyers who want an immersive experience and don't want to miss major releases.

Is PS5 worth it 2023? ›

The PS5 is only getting better, folks. With the release of PSVR 2 and the DualSense Edge controller also, the already feature-rich console is being expanded dramatically. There has never been a better time than the present to purchase a PS5. It is definitely worth it.

What will the next PlayStation be called? ›

We now know that Sony is going to launch Project Q, a PS5-dependent gaming handheld later in 2023. That means the PS5 Pro or Slim is likely to be with us in 2024 or 2025. Following the launch of the PS4 in November 2013, the PlayStation 4 Slim and higher-end PlayStation 4 Pro both appeared in September 2016.

Will the PS5 be the last PlayStation? ›

PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan told Financial Times that Sony PS5 could be the last gaming console from the company.

Will there be a PS5 slim? ›

The PS5 Slim is expected to launch around September 2023.

Microsoft hearing. Microsoft lawyers mentioned, “PlayStation likewise sells a less expensive Digital Edition for $399.99 and is expected to release a PlayStation 5 Slim later this year at the same reduced price point.”

What is the number 1 best selling console? ›

The PS2 has become the best-selling video game console of all time. As of May 2023, it had sold over 158 million units worldwide. The latest PlayStation 5 console has sold 37.89 million units as of the most recently measured period.

Which is the best PlayStation or Xbox? ›

While the PS5 and Xbox Series X are similar in terms of quality and performance, the PS5's exclusive games and gameplay-focused features make it more enticing for buyers who want an immersive experience and don't want to miss major releases.

Which console is more powerful Xbox or PS5? ›

Both have 8-Core CPUs from AMD, but the Xbox Series X just exceeds the PS5 with 3.86GHz compared to 3.5GHz. The Xbox Series X also comes out on top in terms of storage, offering a robust one Terabyte SSD compared to the PS5's 825GB.

Why is console gaming the best? ›

Advantages of console gaming. Consoles have advantages over PCs: They are easy to use, don't require upgrades, make for simple multiplayer with console-owning friends, are generally cheaper, and use wireless controllers that allow you to have a more active experience.

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