2015 Video Game Consoles

Introduction

2015 Video Game Consoles - Introduction Once considered to be a nerdy and reclusive hobby, video games have broken into the mainstream along with comic books and tech, helping enforce the notion that geek is the new chic (or should we say Sheik?)

While stores used to be overrun with people lining up for the latest Beatles or Rolling Stones album, today people line up for the newest and hottest video game consoles, sometimes camping out for days to secure a place in line.

We're well into the newest generation of consoles, with the three biggest players in gaming (Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft) revving up their hardware revisions and software releases to earn a coveted spot in your home entertainment center.

We here at BFads.net have profiled the best and worst that each console has to offer and compiled it all into our 2015 Video Game Consoles article, a strategy guide all your own, helping you navigate the crowded video game market and take home the best console while keeping some extra coins in your pocket.


PlayStation 4 - 500GB

2015 Video Game Consoles - PlayStation 4 PlayStation 4 - $398.99 at BJ's

The Sony PlayStation 4 continues to be a dominant force in home consoles, following in the steps of its predecessors who have been popular since back in the mid-90s when the first PlayStation hit the store shelves. They're so successful because they adhere to what has proven to be a winning formula; they have the largest volume of hit titles that appeal to a wide array of gamers. Whether you're a fan of shooters, sports titles, RPGs, indie titles, or you dabble in all of them, there is something you'd love to play on PS4.

While PSN has struggled to keep up with many of the social and ease-of-use features that make Xbox Live such a success, Sony hit the ground running and blew right past Microsoft when they debuted the PlayStation Plus premium service. For $50 a year (or much less if you keep an eye out for Hot Deals) gamers are treated to full-blown downloadable titles for PS4, PS3, and PSVita every month. The games are even yours to keep as long as you're subscribed to PS+. These games aren't castoffs, either. There are some genuine AAA blockbusters that have been featured on PS+, and on top of these freebies, there are dozens of discounted titles made available to PS+ subscribers.

In addition to a large pool of available games, Sony has also done a great job of keeping gamers interested with new and limited edition hardware and bundles such as the 20th Anniversary DualShock 4 controller or the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront Special Edition PS4 console.

Notable exclusive titles: Bloodborne, The Order 1886, Uncharted 4, Infamous Second Son, The Last of Us Remastered, Killzone Shadow Fall.


Xbox One - 1TB

2015 Video Game Consoles - Xbox One Xbox One 1TB Madden NFL 16 Bundle - $396.99 at Amazon

Microsoft's Xbox One seems to finally be finding its footing after a series of missteps before and at time of launch. When the console was announced, the Xbox One was known for a controversial new software policy that would prevent owners from sharing games they had already purchased. If that didn't sour gamers enough, the forced bundling of a next-generation version of the motion gaming flop Microsoft Kinect drove the price up by $100 over the competition.

Microsoft responded by showing they were nothing if not nimble, reversing the software policy in time for launch and abandoning the Kinect within the first year to match the PlayStation 4's less expensive selling price. The result has been a resurgent increase in popularity for Microsoft and has allowed gamers to see past the rocky launch and appreciate the Xbox One for what has always made Xbox consoles popular.

As far as hardware prowess goes, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are nearly a wash, so we won't waste time talking hardware specs. What the Xbox has always excelled at is exclusive software and online services, particularly Xbox Live. PSN has come a long way, and Nintendo has barely gotten their feet wet in online gaming, but it's Xbox Live that stands at the top of the hill as the premier online gaming service. It's packed with features and easier than ever to use, and while the competition still struggles to even match the social features of Xbox Live, Microsoft continues to expand the service.

The Xbox has always been known as a console that caters specifically to the hardcore gamer, and Microsoft reinforced that dedication by shocking the entire industry when they offered backward compatibility with Xbox 360 games and last-gen Xbox Live titles as a free downloadable update - a feature only offered on Xbox One. On the hardware side, this autumn Microsoft will release the Xbox One Elite wireless controller - a fully customizable controller with steel control sticks, interchangeable paddles and d-pads, and adjustable trigger sensitivity.

Notable exclusive titles: Halo 5 Guardians, Rare Replay, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Forza 6, Titanfall.


Nintendo Wii U - 32GB

2015 Video Game Consoles - Nintendo Wii U Nintendo Wii U 32GB - $316.75 at Amazon

With what is perhaps the silliest name for a console ever, Nintendo took a huge risk with their latest home console, the Wii U. As they did with the Wii, Nintendo has forgone traditional control methods for the second generation in a row, making the Wii U the first ever home console to feature a second-screen tablet interface - which opens a variety of gaming options that are simply not possible on other consoles.

Of course, new and innovative consoles are only as good as the software that drives them, and software is where Nintendo has always knocked it out of the park. Unfortunately, the Wii U console should largely be considered for Nintendo fans only, since it has suffered from limited third-party support, which means almost a complete absence of entire genres of games such as first person shooters, sporting games, and RPGs.

To garner new interest in the console, in addition to a steady stream of stellar first party games, Nintendo took a page out of Activision's playbook and launched their own line of interactive and collectable figures, called amiibo. With over 7 million figures sold since launch, amiibo are a genuine hit if not a phenomenon all their own. Players can take their favorite amiibo and tap it on the Wii U game pad, and instantly the character becomes playable on screen. They can also level up their amiibo, making them stronger and faster, and their progress is saved right on the figurine.

Notable exclusive titles: Super Mario Maker, Splatoon, Super Mario 3D World, Pikmin 3, Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart 8, Yoshi's Woolly World.


New Nintendo 3DS (3DS/2DS/3DSXL/New 3DSXL)

2015 Video Game Consoles - New Nintendo 3DS New Nintendo 3DS - $195.30 at Walmart

Never one to shy away from confusing naming conventions, this line of glasses-free 3D handheld consoles continues to show Nintendo's dominance in the world of handheld gaming.

The latest in this line is aptly titled “New” Nintendo 3DS and 3DSXL. These handhelds will still play the entire 3DS library as well as original DS titles, and if you've already got a 3DS, 2DS, or 3DSXL, all of your downloaded content and data can transfer over to the new console.

So what's new about it exactly? The New 3DS/XL is actually only a mid-generation hardware refresh, a practice for which Nintendo is famous. Like the DS Lite and Game Boy Advanced SP before it, the New Nintendo 3DS/XL consoles improve over the original hardware designs by offering both cosmetic and functional upgrades, like removable faceplates, a faster processor, and a second control stick. The New 3DS/XL also offers improved 3D, which uses front-facing cameras to actually track the player's eye movement and adjusts the angle of the 3D appropriately to keep the immersion going.

The New Nintendo 3DS/XL's most lauded new feature will likely be the integrated NFC reader offering full support for Nintendo's wildly popular line of amiibo gaming figures and new amiibo cards. Simply tap these figures on the corner of the 3DS and the figure comes to life inside your game, offering new content and challenges within the game you already own.

Please note that the New Nintendo 3DS is currently only available in the Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer Bundle. This means if you're only after the new console, the 3DSXL is your only option if Animal Crossing does not interest you.

Notable exclusive titles: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart 7, Pokemon Alpha/Omega, Super Mario 3D Land.


PlayStation Vita

2015 Video Game Consoles - PlayStation Vita PlayStation Vita - $189.99 at Amazon

The PlayStation Vita has unfortunately suffered the same fate as its predecessor, the PlayStation Portable. Namely, it doesn't have the level of software support it needs to make it a must-own handheld console like the New Nintendo 3DS. While there are a few notable titles released in 2015, the console really only caters to fans of Japanese RPGs at this point in its life (and if you are a JRPG fan, the console is indispensable.)

With that said, the PS Vita does have a nice back catalog that can make it a decent purchase if you don't already own one. It's definitely the most powerful handheld on the market, offering full blown console-like experiences that the 3DS just can't offer. Also, if you're a PlayStation 4 owner, the PS Vita acts as a remote play device; you can play PS4 games on your handheld when the TV is occupied.

Notable handheld exclusive titles: Borderlands 2 Special Edition, Uncharted Golden Abyss, Resistance Burning Skies, Gravity Rush.


Conclusion

If there is one thing that is true about all video game consoles, it's that Black Friday is unequivocally the best time to buy a new one. Holiday bundles have become a Black Friday staple, and for those who are looking to dive into a new video game system, the value found in these bundles is something that can't be matched any other time of year. Not only that, but most of the year's blockbuster titles can be had for a hefty discount, making it affordable to kick off your new software library.

If you're shopping for a gamer with a new console on their most wanted list, keep your browsers, tablets, and smart phones tuned in to BFads.net, where we'll sort through the myriad of console and video game deals and let you know which ones should not be missed.

As always, for up to the minute price breaks and door buster info, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

October 5, 2015
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