The Best Gaming Console to Buy in 2023
2023 just might be the best year to get a new console thanks to the plethora of next-generation and current-generation options available. However, the expansive options may cause headaches and decision fatigue to some buyers, especially first-time gamers.
Although buying a gaming console in 2023 may seem straightforward, there are actually nuances and factors to consider when doing so. These can range from which platform and brand you prefer, which types of games you want to play, and many more that we will discuss further throughout this article.
To give you a summary of the best gaming console to buy in 2023, these are just some of the options in the market that may entice your gaming cravings:
1. PlayStation 5 (PS5)
PlayStation 5 (PS5) – The next-generation console king. Perfect for hardcore gamers who want to play the latest titles in 4K resolution and high-refresh rates, such as God of War: Ragnarok, Hogwarts Legacy, and The Last of Us Part II. Gamers with PlayStation 4s will also appreciate that the PS5 is backwards compatible with PS4 games.
2. Xbox Series X
Xbox Series X – The competitor of the PS5 and successor of the Xbox One X. Also perfect for hardcore gamers who want to play in native 4K, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, and raytracing turned on. Some notable Xbox Series X games are Forza Horizon 5, Halo Infinite, and Gears 5. Also backward compatible with all Xbox One X and select Xbox 360 games.
3. Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch – The best option for gamers who are out and about. Perfect for gamers who value portability and the ability to take their games across devices. Can be docked to play like a normal console on your TV, or be taken out with you everywhere you go.
Before deciding right away on which console to buy, you also need to know which type of person you are buying the console for:
Gamers love familiarity and being able to play the games they own from their previous consoles in new ones. Thus, it’s best to get a brand and platform that they’re already familiar with and comfortable with. E.g. if you (or they) currently own a PS4, then it’s a no-brainer to get its successor: the PS5.
If it’s for a first-time gamer, then you have more room to be free with your options. This time, it will really depend on your (or their) personality and preference.
The 4 best gaming consoles to buy in 2023
1. Sony PlayStation 5 Disc and Digital Edition
Sony PlayStation 5 Disc & Digital Edition
PlayStation 5 Console (PS5)
- Latest console in the PlayStation series
- Can run games in their highest quality
- Backward compatibility with PS4 games
Launched in November 2020, the PlayStation 5 remains one of the best next-generation consoles that money can buy in 2023. This is mainly thanks to its plethora of cutting-edge spec list and features such as its capability to play in native 4K, high-refresh rates, and raytracing enabled (in select games).
- Powerful and capable next-gen console equipped with cutting edge specs
- Can run games in native 4K, 120 Hz/FPS and raytracing
- The best library of exclusive games such as God of War: Ragnarok and The Last of Us Part II
- Has a custom-built 825 GB SSD for instantaneous load times
- Redesigned controller with adaptive triggers that brings realism into the next level
- Full backward compatibility with the whole PS4 game library
- Has a cheaper $400 digital-only version
- Big and chunky; may be hard to fit on some tables and desks
- No Dolby Atmos and Vision
- PS+ can still be improved
It’s also equipped with a lightning-fast 825 GB SSD, cutting load times from 2-3 mins. to virtually none. What all this means is that next-gen games like The Last of Us Part II will look stunning while also running smoothly on a PS5. With most next-gen games, you also have the option to choose between running your game at full 4K, turning raytracing on, and cranking up the refresh rate up to 120 FPS/Hz.
Additionally, the PS5’s DualSense Wireless Controler (or DualSense 5) is also our choice for the best controller out of any next-generation console due to its revamped design, solid latency and battery life, and adaptive triggers which bring immersion and realism to another level. These triggers add haptic feedback and resistance whenever you press the buttons while gaming. The haptic feedback and resistance you will feel mainly depend on the action being done in-game, but it’s mostly noticeable when playing games like Call of Duty: Warzone.
Of course, PS4 players will feel very much at home with the PS5. With full backwards compatibility with PS4 games, you wouldn’t need to worry about your old game library as it will work flawlessly on the PS5. Some PS4 games even get a free ‘enhanced’ version when played on the PS5, such as Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales.
Speaking of Marvel’s Spider-Man, here are three of the best PS5 exclusive & exciting games that you can play.
3 Best Playstation 5 Games
1. God of War: Ragnarok
God of War: Ragnarok – Slay Norse gods and explore the mythical world around Kratos and Atreus in this action-adventure PS5 exclusive. Get your copy here.
2. Horizon Forbidden West
Horizon Forbidden West: play as Aloy as she braves the wilderness and new threats in this open-world action sequel to 2017’s Horizon Zero Dawn. Get your copy here.
3. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales: swing into action in the beautifully raytraced version of New York City as Miles Morales in this latest installment of Marvel’s Spider-Man. Get your copy here.
Playstation 5’s Gaming Subscription
Moving on to Sony’s subscription service for the PS5, PlayStation Plus (PS+) is still very much just an add-on. Based on our experience, it isn’t much of a need or a good deal compared to Xbox Live Gold—which we’ll touch on later when we get to the Xbox Series X—but it does have its merits. First, PS+ allows you to play online games across PS4 and PS5. This means that if you get a PS5, you can play Fortnite with your friends who are on PS4 (and vice-versa).
Next, you also get access to a library of games that you can access and play as long as you are subscribed to PS+. Games like Back 4 Blood, DRAGON BALL FighterZ, and Devil May Cry 5 are up for grabs to play. Some gamers may also be enticed with PS+ game trials, where you can essentially try out triple-A titles like God of War: Ragnarok, although for only 5 hours. PS+ is split into three monthly membership plans: $9.99/month for Essential, $14.99/month for Extra, and $19.99/month for Premium.
If there’s anything to complain about the PS5, it would be very minor cons, such as its rather big, wide, and chunky design, and lack of Dolby Atmos and Vision which may be a deal breaker for avid movie and video watchers.
And as mentioned above, PS+ is still rather lacking compared to its competitors. Sure, it has a catalog of games that you can play, but it isn’t as fleshed out and streamlined compared to Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass.
The PlayStation 5 is available for $500, but a cheaper $400 version is available, namely the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, which is exactly the same console but does not have any disc drive to insert your PS4/PS5 games in.
If you have your whole game library on the cloud and have no plans of buying physical copies any time soon, then saving $100 to get the Digital Edition might be the way to go.
2. Microsoft Xbox Series X
Microsoft Xbox Series X
Xbox Series X
- The fastest and most current Xbox series right now
- Game in 4K with its blazing fast graphic processing power
- Backward compatible, allowing you to play selected games from the older series
On the other side of the spectrum, we have Microsoft’s answer to the PS5: the Xbox Series X. Similar to the PS5, the Xbox Series X was launched in November 2020 and is meant to be a next-generation console, meaning it is equipped with the latest and cutting-edge specs and features. Native 4K, 120 Hz support, raytracing capabilities, Dolby Atmos and Vision, and many more.
- The most powerful next-generation console to date
- Capable of native 4K, high-refresh rates, and raytracing
- Has Dolby Atmos and Vision for avid movie watchers
- 1 TB of storage for futureproofing
- Backwards compatibility with Xbox One and Xbox 360 games
- Access to both Xbox exclusives and some PC exclusives
- Xbox Game Pass and Live Gold are miles ahead of PS+
- Easy to navigate interface
- Design lacks inspiration and shape is rather underwhelming
- Controller lacks innovation; essentially no differences with previous gen’s controller
- Xbox exclusives are still lacking to this day
This all translates to silky smooth gameplay with zero loading times and all the frames that you can ask for. This is especially obvious with Xbox exclusives like Minecraft where you can enable raytracing and native 4K. If you think Minecraft can’t be a graphically intense and aesthetic game, then you just haven’t played it on the Xbox Series X yet. It also one-ups the PS5 on storage as it’s equipped with a custom 1 TB NVMe SSD, giving you more room to store your games in.
On the Xbox Series X’s controller, there isn’t really much to say as it is very similar to the Xbox One and even the Xbox 360. It’s your typical Xbox layout with a few refinements such as the D-pad seeing a slight change with its minimal look and the new matte and tactile finish of the left and right stick. However, because of these minor refinements, it lags behind the innovation of the PS5’s DualSense Wireless Controller which features a completely new design and adaptive triggers that bring a new level of immersion while playing.
For Xbox One users who are looking to get an Xbox Series X, you will feel very much at home as the interface is also met with minor, quality-of-life changes that won’t alienate you. For first-time Xbox users, don’t worry as the Xbox Series X’s interface is very easy to navigate thanks to its huge, colorful tiles that are akin to Windows 8 and Windows 11’s aesthetic.
We can’t talk about next-generation consoles without talking about their exclusives, so here are the best three Xbox Series X games in 2023.
3 Best Xbox Series X Games
1. Gears 5
Gears 5: Uncover the past of Kait Diaz as an all-out war rages in this next-gen third-person shooter. Get your copy here.
2. Sea of Thieves
Sea of Thieves: Ride the waves and explore the roaring seas as a pirate in the story-driven and action-open world of Sea of Thieves. Get your copy here.
3. Halo Infinite
Halo Infinite: Navigate the expansive world and universe of Halo in the latest, next-gen installment of the franchise: Halo Infinite. Get your copy here.
Xbox’s Gaming Subscription
As we are on the topic of games already, it’s time to talk about what we think is perhaps the best feature included as an optional subscription service in all Xbox consoles: Xbox Game Pass. We have already mentioned how lackluster PS+ is, and it’s not really because it’s bad on its own—the Xbox Game Pass is just miles better.
For some context, PS+ $9.99 plan will get you monthly rotation of games, online multiplayer, and some exclusive content and discount. Meanwhile, the Xbox Game Pass, which is also $9.99/month, will allow you to download and play a much larger library of games than the PS+, with triple-A titles like Sea of Thieves being available as FULL games instead of trials on the PS+. This library of games also includes EA Play games like The Sims 4, Madden NFL 23, and many more.
But that’s not all—for just $14.99, you can get the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and have these perks and features on your PC as well. Yes, you have read that right: you can play Xbox games on your PC natively while also having access to some of the best PC games out there. This makes the Xbox Series X a very pleasing choice for PC gamers who are looking to play a huge selection of games both on PC and on their console.
If you’re wondering if Xbox Live Gold still exists: yes, and for also $9.99 a month, it still serves the same function it did a decade ago. It is still your only gateway to online games and a monthly rotation of free games you can keep permanently on the Xbox Series X. However, unlike PS+, Microsoft’s choice of free games is much better, with games such as Little Nightmares and Autonauts going free occasionally.
With our time and experience with the Xbox Series X, there is very little to complain about. It can run any game, including next-gen ones, without any hiccups. it’s a total multimedia monster thanks to Dolby Atmos and Vision capabilities. And finally, its backwards compatibility with Xbox One and 360 means that even Xbox 360 gamers will feel welcome to the Xbox Series X. If anything, we would have just appreciated innovations on the controller and a design that’s a bit more inspired than it is right now. It looks cool and all, but yup—it does look like a fridge at times.
Our main con for the Xbox Series X would be its rather lacking roster of exclusives. Although we have listed exclusives that you can play on the Xbox Series X, they’re not really “exclusives” in the same manner as PS5’s as these games are also available on PC. Microsoft, it’s 2023. We think it’s time to release a proper and major exclusive for your flagship console.
Xbox Series X is available for $500, with an all-access version available for $34.99/mo for 24 months which includes the Xbox Series X console, controller, and 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
3. Microsoft Xbox Series S
Microsoft Xbox Series S
Xbox Series S
- Cheapest next-gen console
- Accesses both Xbox & PC exclusives
- Same terrific controller as the Xbox Series X
Continuing on the trend of next-generation consoles, we have the Xbox Series S—the weaker but still capable sibling of the Series X. Released the same day as the Series X, the Series S features a less powerful CPU, GPU, and smaller storage. Because of these cutdowns, the Series S is only capable of 1440p instead of native 4K, although 120 Hz/FPS is still available in select games. What this means in real-world use and gaming is that games will look a bit worse on the Series S, but it will still run them like a champ.
- The cheapest next-gen console to date
- Access to both Xbox exclusives and some PC exclusives
- Minimalist and sleek design
- Silent but powerful
- Same as Xbox Series X; Xbox Game Pass and Live Gold are miles ahead of PS+
- Same terrific controller as the Xbox Series X
- Can only output 1440p
- Same as Xbox Series X; lacks exclusives and no innovations on controller
- Equipped with only a 512 GB SSD
- High-refresh rate and raytracing vary per game
- No disk drive
Raytracing capabilities and performance will vary too, although so far, triple-A titles such as Watch Dogs: Legion supports raytracing on both the Series X and S. The Series S is also a digital-only console, meaning it won’t be able to play your blu-ray games and movies. As a digital-only console, its design and shape is different from the Series X, although for good reasons. It’s smaller, more compact, and sleeker. Nevertheless, if you’re a gamer who loves having physical copies of their games, then this console isn’t for you.
The Series S also features the same controller, interface, and features as the Series X. They only really differ in price and power. For all intents and purposes, the Series S is still very much a next-generation console, but just not in the same league as the PS5 and Series X. It’s a console that’s curated for gamers who are on a budget and would like to get a feel of what next-gen gaming is like.
As the Series S is essentially the same console as the Series X, it also has the same list of exclusive games to play. Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, and Sea of Thieves, just to name a few. Just be reminded that the Series S is a digital-only console. The only way for you to play games is to download and store them, and unfortunately, it will be tough for the Series S to store a lot with its small 512 GB SSD. We really wish Microsoft could have at least made the storage on par with the Series X at 1 TB, as 512 GB is simply not enough for most triple-A titles nowadays.
With games reaching storage sizes as big as 100 GB or even 150 GB (looking at you, Red Dead Redemption 2), the Series S will only be capable of storing 5-6 triple-A games before it gets full. There are options to expand the storage of the Series S (and the X as well), with official offerings from Microsoft being expansion cards, but these cost a lot—and we mean a lot.
The 512 GB expansion card starts at $139 with 1 TB at $219, and an outrageous 2 TB for $399 which costs only $100 less than the Series X. With that being said, we find it very difficult to recommend purchasing any of these expansion cards. If you’re looking to get the Series S, just temper your expectations with its storage until prices come down or better alternatives come for expanding it.
Let’s talk about the Series S ace up its sleeve: pricing. The Xbox Series S is available for $299, although as of writing, it is on sale at for only $239. For $200 less than the Series X, the Series S is seriously a good deal. It’s a rather cheap alternative and doorway to next-gen gaming, although without the glory that makes next-gen gaming next-gen.
If you couldn’t care less about its lack of native 4K capabilities, varying mileage on high-refresh-rate and raytracing, meager storage size, and lack of a disc drive, then the Xbox Series S is the console made just for you. It’s cheap, it’s powerful (enough), and it’s next-gen.
4. Nintendo Switch OLED Model
Nintendo Switch OLED Model
Nintendo Switch OLED
- Best handheld console currently
- Big, bright & beautiful OLED screen for great gameplay
- Can be docked to play on the big screen
Ending the list is the only current generation and handheld console on our list: the Nintendo Switch OLED. Originally released in 2017 and upgraded to the OLED model in 2021, the Nintendo Switch remains the premiere choice of gamers when it comes to handheld consoles. Thanks to its modular form factor, the Nintendo Switch can switch from your typical couch console to a handheld one seamlessly.
- Best handheld option in the market right now
- Big, bright, and beautiful OLED screen
- Can be docked and be played on your TV
- Easy to bring anywhere you go
- Decent battery life
- Excellent selection of exclusives such as Breath of the Wild and Pokemon Scarlet
- Can struggle with performance and graphics in handheld mode
- Small 64 GB base storage
- Only decent graphics and resolution even while docked
- Poor WiFi performance makes it hard to play online
- Nintendo Switch Online membership is useless for handheld gamers due to poor WiFi performance
This is done by undocking it from the included docking station and attaching the Joy-Cons (the Switch’s controllers) to the screen. Apart from that, some of the Switch’s notable features are its beautiful OLED touchscreen, easy-to-replace Joy-Cons in case of controller drift, access to Nintendo exclusives such as Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, and portability.
Compared to the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, it is pretty much a given that the spec list and features of the Nintendo Switch will pale. However, its magic lies in its portability. If you’re a gamer who’s constantly on the go and loves to bring their games along with them, then go for the Switch. It’s also got the advantage of being able to dock and play it like a normal home console when you’re at home.
On top of that, you also get access to some of the best exclusive library ever, which consists of these game titles.
3 Best Nintendo Switch Games
1. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: Embark on your Journey as Link and unearth the secrets of Hyrule in this breathtaking open-world exclusive of the Nintendo Switch. Get your copy here.
2. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet: Encounter the newest generation of Pokemon while you explore the new open-world of Paldea. Get this double pack here.
3. Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey: Relive your best childhood memories in the finest installment of the franchise yet, all in its sandbox and platform glory. Get your copy here.
The Full Analysis of the Nintendo Switch (OLED)
On other things about the Switch, we can’t forget to talk about its performance, battery life, and longevity as a handheld. First, let’s cover performance: since it’s a handheld console, it can only pack so much power and capability. This basically translates into a gameplay experience that varies a lot from game to game, with newer games giving the Switch a really tough battle at times. For example, we recently finished Pokemon Scarlet on the Switch while alternating between its docked mode and handheld mode.
While docked, it performed as expected. Sub-1080p resolution with okay graphics, but when it’s time to play handheld, the performance and graphics get downgraded by a large margin. The biggest and most noticeable hit here is performance, with most of my playtime in handheld mode of Pokemon consisting of 15 FPS or lower in dense areas and sub-25 FPS on average. In 2023, these numbers are hard to bear when even phones nowadays are capable of pushing 60 FPS and even 120 FPS flawlessly. The Switch also lags behind its competitors when it comes to graphics.
Most games look okay when docked, with sub-1080p being its resolution most of the time and FPS locked at 30. However, when played in handheld mode, games turn muddy and hard to appreciate. This is especially noticeable with the lack of anti-aliasing in some games, making lines look jagged and rough.
The base storage of the Nintendo Switch is also something that worries us. It starts at 64 GB, which nowadays is literally what we refer to as the minimum for consoles and gadgets. On a good note, it does have an SD card slot that remedies this problem without costing too much unlike the Xbox Series S. Another thing to take note of when getting the Switch is its poor online and WiFi capabilities.
If you’re planning to play something like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online, then you’re going to have to resort to docking your Switch and plugging an ethernet port in as its WiFi capabilities just aren’t going to cut it. We experienced this first-hand while playing the online mode of Pokemon Scarlet and disconnected 5 minutes into the experience. We tried reconnecting and even resetting our Switch’s network settings, but to no avail.
This also means getting a Nintendo Switch Online membership will be hard for us to recommend as you won’t be able to enjoy your online experience unless you’re docked with an ethernet port.
Lastly, let’s talk about its battery life in handheld mode. With our extensive use of the Switch, we noticed that it averages around 4-5 hours depending on the game. With heavy games such as Pokemon Scarlet and Breath of the Wild, it only lasted 5 hours on battery.
With lighter games, however, it can easily last 6+ hours. Your mileage will vary, of course, but expect that the Switch will need to be charged at least once or twice a day if you’re constantly in handheld mode.
The Nintendo Switch isn’t perfect. In fact, we listed a lot of flaws and rants regarding our experience with it, but it’s still the best handheld choice out there thanks to its decent battery, big OLED screen, and a library of notable games.
The Nintendo Switch is on sale for $349 which is about $49 more expensive than the Xbox Series S. If you ask us which of these two you should get, it’s going to be heavily based on your preference. If you value portability, Nintendo’s exclusives that are leaps beyond the Xbox, and don’t mind the cons that we listed for the Switch, then go for the Switch. However, if you want something more powerful and something that can play next-gen games, then the Series S will be a better fit for your needs.
The best games to get for these consoles
To make it easier for you to decide, here are the following games that we think are the best for each console:
The best VR games for consoles
As Virtual Reality (VR) is slowly cementing is place in the world of gaming, it’s start to take note of the most notable VR games around. However, not all consoles support VR just yet, like the Xbox Series X and S which do not have official VR headsets and support from Microsoft as of writing. Thus, this makes the PlayStation 5 the current king for gamers who want to immerse themselves in virtual worlds and action.
1. VR games for PS5
The PS5 has a healthy library of VR games available thanks to Sony’s support and the release of PS VR way back. Some of these games include:
- Hitman 3
- Dreams Universe
- ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission
- Beat Saber
- Doom 3
- No Man’s Sky
- RESIDENT EVIL 7 biohazard
Of all the games on this list, we highly recommend checking out Beat Saber where you can slash notes and dance to your favorite music. Or better yet, embody Agent 47 and assassinate targets in Hitman 3. No Man’s Sky is another solid VR game where you can free-roam open space, build your base, and harvest resources. It’s basically Minecraft in space. Who wouldn’t want to check that out?
2. VR games for Nintendo Switch
As of writing, the Nintendo Switch only supports one VR game: Nintendo Labo. This game will also require you to purchase Nintendo’s very own Toy-Con 04 VR Kit. Be wary that this isn’t your typical VR experience like the PS VR on PS5.
The Toy-Con 04 VR Kit consists of objects such as toy guns, telescopes, and more, which you can use to interact with Nintendo Labo in your VR headset. It’s fun for families and kids, but for gamers who want a bit more action, the PS VR will be your top choice.
Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room: PS5 or Xbox Series X?
Before we wrap up, let’s briefly compare the PS5 to its main competitor, the Xbox Series X. With our extensive time and hours with both of these consoles, we will confidently vouch for the PS5, but mainly for its exclusives and better selection of triple-A titles. This is because if compare their specs and features, these two titans are almost identical, with the Xbox Series X just slightly edging the PS5 on CPU clock speeds and GPU teraflops (which you will never notice when you use either).
Therefore, our verdict on the comparison between these two next-gen consoles will be this:
- If you value exclusivity or a big fan of the PlayStation exclusives like God of War and Spider-Man, then the PS5 is a no-brainer.
- If you are more concerned with online features and overall a larger library of games to play with Xbox Live Gold and/or Xbox Games Pass, then the Xbox Series X is for you.
- If you watch a lot of Netflix, YouTube, and movies, or have a Dolby Atmos and Vision setup at home, then the Xbox Series X is the way to go.
- If none of the above are any of your concerns, then going for either the PS5 or Xbox Series X will be a big win for your gaming cravings and wants. It will really just depend on your gaming preferences and personality to choose which of these next-gen consoles deserves a spot beside your TV.