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When you are deciding which console to buy for your family there is plenty of advice about which is best: Switch, Xbox Series X|S or PlayStation 5. This page has all the information to help you make this choice.

But before you do, it's important to also consider getting an older console. The Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Wii U are all excellent systems with some amazing games. If you are starting out on the journey with your children, don't feel the need to have the latest technology. Even Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are great for some very affordable gaming.

Here are the main things to consider before deciding which console will work best and offer good value for your family. It’s worth going through each of them together to be sure that you can access the games you and your children want to play.

Image 260 Here are the main things to consider:

Exclusive Console Games

A big driver of which console you choose may well be the games your children want to play. While the most popular titles, like Fortnite and FIFA are available on all systems, there are some titles that are only available on one particular platform.

Nintendo Switch Exclusives

Here are the most popular exclusive Switch games that you can’t play on Xbox or Playstation:

PlayStation Exclusives

Here are the most popular exclusive PlayStation games that you can’t play on Xbox or Switch. This includes PlayStation 4 games on can play on PlayStation 5:

Xbox Exclusives

Here are the most popular exclusive Xbox games that you can’t play on PlayStation or Switch. This includes Xbox One games that you can play on Xbox Series X|S:

Console Backward Compatibility

Whether you have an existing collection of games on a particular system, or would like to access cheaper older games, it’s important to understand which older games and peripherals a new console supports as this can greatly unpack value and enjoyment.

Switch
The Switch does not support any Wii or Wii U games. You cannot use the Wii or Wii U controllers on the new system. You can purchase older games when they are re-released on the system in an enhanced version.

However, the Nintendo Switch Online subscription grants access to a catalogue of the best NES and SNES games. This is an affordable way to access these old 8-bit and 16-bit games from the 1990s.
Xbox Series X|S
The Xbox Series X|S enables you to play the majority of the Xbox One games, and a selection of older Xbox 360 games. If you have a collection of Xbox One or Xbox 360 games on disc, then you will need the more expensive Xbox Series X that includes a disc drive to access these games.
PlayStation 5
Unlike the PlayStation 4, which didn’t play older games, PlayStation 5 will play the majority of PlayStation 4 games. If you have a collection of PlayStation 4 games on disc, then you will need the PlayStation 5 with the Blue-Ray player to access these games.

Console Subscription Services

Along with offering games to buy individually, modern consoles also offer a subscription that provide access to a ready library of games. This is a great way to get more value from your console and has an impact on comparing the relative costs on each system.

Nintendo Online
£3.49/month for a single membership or £31.49/year (£2.62/month) for a family subscription for up to 8 people. It enables online play for Nintendo Switch games. It also provides a free library of retro games that were on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). This also provides cloud saves of your progress.

There is also a Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app that lets you talk to other players in certain games.
Xbox Gold
£6.99/month. Lets you play with others players online. It also offers a few free games each month and substantial discounts.

Xbox Game Pass
£7.99/month subscription. It provides 100 top-tier games. Once subscribed you can download the game at no extra cost. All first party games are automatically added when they are released.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
£10.99/month subscription. Includes Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass. It also lets you stream over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles, similar to the service offered by PlayStation Now, on mobile devices.
PlayStation Plus
£6.99/month. It enables online play, provides discounts and two free games each month. This also offers cloud saves, and you can also share games with other players.

On PlayStation 5, PlayStation Plus also enables you to download and play some top PS4 titles on your PS5. The games are top-tier from the PlayStation 4 library, although not a huge number are rated for younger players.

PlayStation Now
£8.99/month. It provides hundreds of PS2, PS3 and PS4 games to play on demand. The games are streamed to your PS4, PS5 or Windows PC like a Netflix film but with interactions. Because of this you need a fast internet connection of about 5Mbps.

Additionally, PlayStation Now also lets you download some PlayStation 4 games to play locally on your system without streaming.

Console Peripherals

The cost of setting up a new console to be enjoyed by the family can change substantially when you consider how many controllers you require for the system. Some newer consoles support older peripherals, like the Wii U working with the Wii-Remote controls. However, this is not always the case. Therefore, acquiring four controllers to support multi-player games can add to the cost considerably.

You may also want to factor in what other peripherals you will require to set the system up. Players may require a headset to communicate with others online. Also, some controllers require batteries or battery packs.

Switch Peripherals
The Nintendo Switch comes with a pair of detachable Joy-Con controllers. Many of the simpler games enable you to play with two people without the need to purchase additional controllers. More involved and complex games require each player to have their own pair of Joy-Con controllers.

You can purchase additional Joy-Con controllers or more traditional Game-Pad style controllers. An official pair of controllers will cost about £62. This would enable you to play many games with four players.
PlayStation Peripherals
The PlayStation 5 comes with one of its new DualSense controllers. These are required to play the new PlayStation 5 games that take advantage of its new force-feedback and vibration enhancements. You can, however, still play PlayStation 4 games on the new system using your old DualShock PlayStation 4 controllers.

You can purchase official DualSense controllers for £59. To be able to play games together as a family of four you would need to purchase three of these for a total of £177.

While you can use the PlayStation 5 on any modern television, to take full advantage of the system's higher resolution and smoother visuals will require a higher specification television.
Xbox Series X|S Peripherals
The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S come with one of the new Xbox controllers. However, you can use the Xbox One controllers on the Xbox Series X|S. You can also use the newer Xbox Series X|S controllers on the Xbox One.

You can purchase official Xbox Series X controllers for £54. To be able to play games together as a family of four you would need to purchase three of these for a total of £162. You may also want to factor in the batteries required to run these controllers. These will cost around £15 per controller battery.

The Xbox Series S comes with half the storage (500GB) of the Xbox Series X. If you want to keep lots of games installed on the system you can expand the Xbox Series S via the Storage Expansion Card. This costs an addition £217 for an extra 1TB, and makes the system more expensive than the Series X.

While you can use the Xbox Series X|S on any modern television, to take full advantage of the system's higher resolution and smoother visuals will require a higher specification television.

Console Cost Comparison

Adding up all these costs will vary depending on the priorities in your family. However, we can get a good comparison if we consider how much it would cost to play games with a family of four as well as online for a year:

Switch - Shared Joy-Cons
Cost assumes 2 players use half of Joy-Con pair each. This limits play to games that support 4 players with shared Joy-Cons.
• Console: £279
• Additional Controllers: 1 * £62 = £62
• 12 Months Online Subscription: £31.49
Total: £372.49

Switch Lite
Portable version that can't be plugged into TV. Can still play 4 players but have to huddle round small screen:
• Console: £199
• Additional Controllers: 3 * £62 = £186
• 12 Months Online Subscription: £31.49
Total: £416.49

Switch
Cost assumes one full Joy-Con controller for each player.
• Console: £279
• Additional Controllers: 3 * £62 = £186
• 12 Months Online Subscription: £31.49
Total: £496.49
Xbox One
The previous generation Xbox. Many new games you purchase offer an upgrade path to Xbox Series X|S.
• Console: £249
• Additional Controllers: 3 * £54 = £162
• 12 Months Online Subscription: £49.99
Total: £460.99

Xbox Series S
Digital only game purchases, reduced performance and half the storage (500GB) compared to Xbox Series X.
• Console: £249
• Additional Controllers: 3 * £54 = £162
• 12 Months Online Subscription: £49.99
Total: £460.99

Xbox Series X
Digital or physical game purchases and higher performance and storage (1TB) than Xbox Series S.
• Console: £449
• Additional Controllers: 3 * £54 = £162
• 12 Months Online Subscription: £49.99
Total: £660.99

PlayStation 4
The previous generation PlayStation. Many new games you purchase offer an upgrade path to PS5 version.
Digital or physical game purchases.
• Console £249
• Additional Controllers: 3 * £44 = £132
• 12 Months Online Subscription: £49.99
Total: £430.99

PlayStation 5 Digital
Only digital game purchases but same 825GB storage as disc version.
• Console £359
• Additional Controllers: 3 * £59 = £177
• 12 Months Online Subscription: £49.99
Total: £585.99

PlayStation 5 BlueRay
Digital or physical game purchases with 825GB storage.
• Console £449
• Additional Controllers: 3 * £59 = £177
• 12 Months Online Subscription: £49.99
Total: £675.99


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