The holiday season is practically here, and that means it’s time to start making progress on your holiday gift list. And given the nationwide shipping concerns, the clock’s ticking if you want your gifts to arrive on time. A popular gift category this year is gaming. Living in a time of social distancing, we’re spending more time at home than ever before. Games don’t just keep us entertained — they allow us to stay connected with friends and family from the safety and comfort of our own homes. It should come as no surprise that we’ve seen a meteoric rise in the number of people buying, selling, and playing video games in 2020.
Video games are at the top of a lot of many holiday wish lists. If you have a friend or loved one who’s into electronic entertainment, you may want to give the gift of gaming. However, it can be a bit difficult to decide what to buy if you’re not a gamer yourself. But don’t worry; Swappa’s here to help you find the best gifts for the gamers in your life — and save you money in the process.
Table of Contents:
- Video game system comparison chart
- Choosing the right game console
- Bundle up and save even more!
- Still can’t decide?
Game console comparison chart
We are living in a golden era for video games. Modern game consoles are incredibly powerful, capable of delivering nearly photorealistic graphics and levels of immersion not seen previously. The only problem is that with so many great options, it can be pretty difficult to make a choice. Let’s begin by taking a closer look at all your options.
|Nintendo Switch||PlayStation 4||Xbox One|
|Console Type||Portable/Hybrid||Home Console||Home Console|
|Game Library||3114 games||2988 games||2626 games|
Switch Lite (portable-only)
PlayStation 4 Slim
PlayStation 4 Pro (4k gaming)
Xbox One S (Slim)
Xbox One X (4k gaming)
|Known For||Massive library of kid-friendly games like Animal Crossing||Sony-exclusive action-adventure and RPGs like Final Fantasy||Action games like Halo, Gears of War, and Forza|
|Notable Add-Ons||Pro Controller||PlayStation VR||Kinect|
|Initial Release||2017||2013, 2017 refresh||2013, 2017 refresh|
Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite
There are two versions of the Nintendo Switch: the original Nintendo Switch hybrid console and the portable-only Nintendo Switch Lite. The original Nintendo Switch launched in 2017 for $299. It is the more versatile of the two, given that it can be used as both a portable unit (with the included JoyCon controllers) or as a home video game console when docked to your TV. Nintendo released the Switch Lite in 2019 for $199 as a lower-cost, portable-only option.
We recently compared the Switch and Switch Lite. Although there are a few games that can’t be played on the Switch Lite, we found both consoles to be great options for gamers on the go — with the smaller and lighter Switch Lite being the better of the two for portable-only use.
Sony PlayStation 4
The Sony PlayStation 4 was released in 2013 for $399 and is Sony’s current-generation game console. The PlayStation 4 is a home video game console — meaning that unlike the Nintendo Switch, you can only play the PS4 at home, connected to your TV.
The PS4 was given a mid-cycle refresh in 2016 with the sleeker PlayStation 4 Slim and the more powerful PlayStation 4 Pro. All three PS4 variants play the exact same games, but the PS4 Pro delivers higher frame rates and greater visual fidelity at 4K resolution. The entire PS4 lineup is also compatible with the PSVR virtual reality system, which delivers the most immersive VR gaming experience currently available on a game console.
Microsoft Xbox One
Microsoft launched its current-generation Xbox One game console in late 2013 for $499 ($399 without Kinect). Unlike the Nintendo Switch, the Xbox One is a home video game console — meaning that it has to be connected to your TV in order to work.
The Xbox One is available in three different versions: the original Xbox One, the slimmer Xbox One S, and the more powerful Xbox One X. The Xbox One X offers many of the same improvements found on the PS4 Pro such as 4k gaming and higher frame rates — and it currently sells for considerably less on the used market than Sony’s higher-res offering.
Next-gen home consoles
Other options to consider are the upcoming next-generation home game consoles: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S. The next-gen consoles are set to launch in a week, with all offering native 4k gaming, higher frame rates, and backward compatibility with many existing games.
While this sounds great and all, it comes at a rather high price — upwards of $500, to be exact. Naturally, not everyone wants to spend that much on a brand-new PS5 or Xbox Series X. Luckily, both Microsoft and Sony have committed to supporting current-gen consoles with new games for at least the next several years. This means that you can save money on a used PS4 or Xbox One now, and play the same cross-platform multiplayer games as those who spend almost three times as much on a PS5 or Xbox Series X.
Those who want the absolute best, and are willing to pay for it, will want to wait for the next-gen consoles. Although there aren’t any for sale on Swappa just yet, you can be certain that there will be some in time for your holiday shopping needs — and undoubtedly cheaper than MSRP.
Which game console is best?
The first thing you’re probably wondering is which video game system is best. But we’ll just stop you right there — there is no one-size-fits-all “best game console.” Instead, there are many great options, and it really depends on how you’re looking to play. So keep reading, as we help you figure out which is best for the gamer(s) in your life.
Game libraries and exclusives
The most important factor to consider is a console’s game library. It doesn’t matter how powerful your video game system is — if it can’t play the games you want to play. Luckily, the vast majority of popular games are cross-platform nowadays. This means that whichever console you choose, you’ll get a lot of great titles that you can play either by yourself or online with friends.
Which game console has the most games? In terms of raw game count, Nintendo Switch takes the win with a massive library of 3114 games. The PlayStation 4 is in second place with 2988 games. The Xbox One has the fewest at “just” 2626 games. However, the raw game count doesn’t really tell the whole story, as certain game consoles just lend themselves more to certain genres than others.
Nintendo typically offers the most family-friendly games, making the Switch and Switch Lite perfect for gamers of all ages. With a critically acclaimed games library like Animal Crossing and the versatility of portable mode, it’s no wonder that the Switch has been difficult to keep on store shelves.
Sony, on the other hand, is known for its extremely cinematic, story-driven RPGs and action-adventure exclusive titles such as Final Fantasy. Then, there’s Microsoft with the Halo, Gears of War, and Forza franchises. However, there are several titles for each platform that buck these trends such as Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Nintendo Switch, widely considered one of the best story-driven RPGs of all time.
In short, you can’t go wrong with any of the three. But if you want something that’s good for gamers of all ages, get a Switch. And if you primarily want to play multiplayer action games, get a PS4 or Xbox One.
Home console vs portable/hybrid
Next up, we have location. If you’re mainly looking for something to play at home, you’ll be fine with any traditional game system such as the Xbox One or PlayStation 4. But if you’re looking to game on the go, you need a hybrid system such as the Nintendo Switch or the portable-only Nintendo Switch Lite.
Since a portable system can be played anywhere, that’s clearly the better choice, right? Not so fast! Portable systems are typically a little less powerful than their home console counterparts, meaning that cross-platform games will usually have slightly sharper graphics and run a bit smoother on home consoles.
There are also multiple versions of each current-generation console to cater to those looking for even higher frame rates and better graphics. Enter Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro. Both of these consoles bridge the gap between the current generation and the upcoming next-generation consoles by giving you 4k gaming and higher frame rates in many existing titles.
Luckily, game designers work hard to optimize titles across all platforms. This means that for the most part, all cross-platform games will run just fine on mobile and hybrid consoles. But if you want the absolute best possible graphics and frame rates, go with a home console — or better yet, one of the souped-up variants.
Portable and Hybrid Consoles
Home Video Game Consoles
Enhanced Home Video Game Consoles for 4k Gaming
Blu-ray, YouTube, Netflix, and more
The last point to consider is versatility. Did you know that current-generation home video game systems can also play Blu-ray discs? Not only that — they also support various streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and more. So regardless of your preferred form of digital entertainment, the PS4 and Xbox One have you covered. Even the Nintendo Switch supports some streaming video content providers such as YouTube, although your options are a bit more limited.
Get a game bundle and save
Looking for yet another way to save? You may have noticed that many sellers on Swappa are also bundling several games with their listings. This gives you a head start on your game library and can often save you a considerable amount of cash compared to buying the titles separately. In practice, this means that you can pick up a gently used Xbox One and a bunch of games for about a third of the cost of a brand-new PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X.
Swappa’s quick picks
Made it this far and still can’t decide? That’s both good and bad because it shows how you can’t go wrong with any of them. But since we want to make things as easy as possible, here are our quick picks:
- Younger gamers (14 and under): Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite
- Mainly looking to play on the go: Nintendo Switch Lite
- Largest library of party games and kid-friendly exclusives: Nintendo Switch
- Best action-adventure exclusives and RPGs: PlayStation 4 family
- Competitive online multiplayer games: PlayStation 4 or Xbox One
- Cheapest entry into 4k gaming experience: Xbox One X
- Interested in Virtual Reality: PlayStation 4 family with PSVR
Whichever game console you choose, you’ll always find the best deals on Swappa. Our safe and easy-to-use marketplace makes finding the best deals a breeze. And because our expert moderation team reviews every listing before it goes live, junk devices are nowhere to be found. So what are you waiting for? Get the best gaming deals on Swappa today!