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5 errors you make when shopping for a video games console

Want to buy a new console but don’t know where to start? Between the big three – Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft – it can be a minefield out there. A new console is a grand purchase for 99% of us, so it’s worth doing some background reading before giving a multibillion dollar company your hard earned cash.

With that in mind, here are five common mistakes would-be console buyers make – and how to fix that.

Decide what you want

Are you after a games console to play with friends, or one for solo AAA action? Deciding what you do and don’t want in a console before you buy is a pretty easy way to avoid big disappointment.

It’s far too easy to be enticed to buy a console for a disappointing game – *cough* Starfield – only to be left with something you don’t want. Similarly, a PS5 is no use if you want to boot up a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Do you want your console to double up as an entertainment hub? Then you’re best avoiding the Nintendo Switch. No matter what console choice you make, you’ll always miss out on a few games exclusive to Xbox, PS5 or Nintendo Switch. But it’s worth checking the basics.

PS5 vs Xbox vs Nintendo Switch

For most people, the most fundamental choice to make when picking a new console comes down to three options. It’s the PS5 vs Xbox vs Nintendo Switch. Sure, there are outliers such as the Steam Deck, but it really comes down to Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.

For many, their choice will be made by the games each console offers, but we’ll get more on to that a little later. But whether you want the power of the PS5 over the portability of the Nintendo Switch is an important decision to make. As an Xbox grants you access to the fantastic Xbox Game Pass, the Xbox could save you money in the long term.

Pick your battles

A decent game library is a must have for any type of gamer. Thankfully, every console out there worth its salt offers a robust and diverse selection of titles. But not all consoles are created equal. Call of Duty isn’t made for the Nintendo Switch, but Super Smash Bros. isn’t available for the PS5 or Xbox either. But almost as important as a decent games library are the online features and services each console offers.

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Wait to upgrade?

We’ve all been there. You save up to make a big purchase, only for your expensive purchase to become obsolete a few months later. The same is true for games consoles. The decision to take the plunge on a new console isn’t helped by the constant stream of rumours we hear about the PS6 or Nintendo Switch 2.

To not get caught out with an old console, do your research beforehand. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge on a PS5, right now it might be best to wait for the PS5 Pro to be released. We’ve also heard rumours that the Nintendo Switch 2 could be coming Q1 2025, so do you need to play Zelda right now? Or are you happier waiting for the improved console to be released? Make the decision before parting with your hard earned cash.

Set a budget

Just because you may be spending upwards of £500/$500 on a games console, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep an eye out for a bargain. When you take into account the console itself, a handful of games and maybe an extra controller, your already expensive purchase becomes even pricier.

But you don’t have to break the bank. From Walmart and eBay to your local electronics store, you can always find a better deal if you decide to shop around before taking the plunge. Whether it’s vintage titles or new exclusives, you can also save money on games by taking advantage of both Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus.

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