Being a consumer-friendly console means about what you think it means. A consumer-friendly console is one that sports features designed to consider the needs and wants of the consumer (even if they aren’t the needs and wants of the manufacturer). A consumer-friendly console is a console worth admiring.
So which current console is the most consumer-friendly? That’s a question that requires you to consider several factors. Doing so reveals a possibly surprising ranking that requires you to ask just how much being consumer-friendly really translates into great sales.
3. PlayStation 4
+ Incredible Exclusive Games
+ Generous Online Service Features
+ Early Access to Many Games/Content
– No Backward Compatibility
– PlayStation Now Service is Problematic
– No Crossplay
It’s difficult to label the world’s most popular gaming console as being the most consumer unfriendly – especially when they arguably have the most actual games – but there are a few facts that we must face regarding the matter.
First off, the PlayStation 4’s lack of true crossplay is inexcusable. There is no reason that PlayStation fans can’t play with owners of other consoles and devices that can possibly be interpreted as being consumer friendly. Sony just wants to create a premium PlayStation ecosystem that is difficult to leave.
The lack of that feature is honestly enough to put Sony in the last place conversation, but it’s not the only thing the PS4 lacks. Sony also does not support backward compatibility via the PlayStation 4’s hardware. Some say there are technical reasons why that is the case, but others believe that Sony has avoided addressing those problems because they wanted to push their PlayStation Now service. Said service is too expensive, features too limited of a library, and requires a very stable internet connection.
PS4 has the games and other exclusive content, but Sony sometimes uses the console’s virtues in ways to punish fans.
2. Nintendo Switch
+ Many fan-favorite franchises
+ Console can be altered for a variety of situation.
+ Lowest Price for Hardware/Online Service
– No Easy Access to Nintendo Back Catalog
– Expensive Accessories
– Weak Online Service Features
The Switch is hard to rank on this list. There’s very little doubt that it features unfriendly features, but there’s some doubt as to just how consumer unfriendly it is.
Attacking the Switch means attacking Nintendo. Considering just how beloved Nintendo is, that’s something that can shut down most conversations. To be fair, there are good reasons that Nintendo is beloved, and the Switch embodies some of those reasons. That’s especially true of the console’s games. It’s been quite some time since we’ve seen a Nintendo console that has housed so many beloved Nintendo franchises. Yet, with great new Zelda and Mario games in its library and titles like Mario Party, Super Smash Bros., Metroid, and Animal Crossing on the way…well, Nintendo still has some of the best exclusives.
On top of that, the base Switch console is reasonably priced and has been designed to accommodate gamers in various situations. It’s a portable device, a traditional console, and its unique controllers allow you to easily play with others. Its online service is also $40 cheaper than the competition.
The problem is that the Switch isn’t a very modern console in ways that matter most. Its online service offers features that should be standard, Nintendo loves to overcharge for accessories (some of which, like the Pro controller, are incredibly useful), and the Switch’s best first-party titles almost never go on sale. Worse is the fact that Nintendo has yet to offer Switch owners an easy way to purchase older Nintendo games as they have with previous consoles.
The Switch isn’t dragged down by awful features, but it’s hindered by some baggage.
1. Xbox One
+ Backward Compatibility
+ Incredible Game Pass Service
+ Crossplay/Xbox Anywhere Makes it Very Flexible
– Tragic lack of Exclusive Games
– Likely to Be Replaced First
It feels strange to say that the Xbox One is the most consumer friendly gaming console when it’s also the console that lacks actual games. Indeed, the sheer quality of the PS4 and Switch’s exclusives makes it a hard sell to this day.
However, in terms of consumer friendliness, we wish that the PS4 and Switch had what the Xbox One features. With the Xbox One, you are able to play hundreds of classic Xbox and Xbox 360 games simply by owning their original discs. If that’s not enough, you can access a rotating library modern and classic Xbox titles via the service’s amazing Game Pass program (which is something that PS4 and Switch owners would kill to have a true equivalent of).
If that’s not enough, Xbox One also offers true crossplay support as well as the ability to buy certain games for either Xbox One or PC and play them on the other platform. That’s a simply amazing ability.
Yes, the Xbox One’s lack of exclusives hurt, and yes, it will likely be replaced by a new Xbox soon. Neither of those points completely overshadow what the Xbox One offers those who purchase it.