Weekend Hot Topic: Your next video game hardware purchase

Readers discuss what new consoles and gaming hardware they’re planning to buy in the near future, including the Switch 2 and PS5 Pro.

The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Johno, who, with Christmas on the way, wanted to know if you’re already saving up for new hardware or if rumours of new consoles next year have caused you to pause your spending.

Even though Nintendo still haven’t officially announced it, a lot of people were getting ready for the Switch 2, although there was also plenty of interest in new PlayStation hardware, such as the Project Q and PS5 Slim.

Wait and see
I already bought a PlayStation 5 about 18 months ago, as my PlayStation 4 was on its last legs, so the only console I have any intention of buying anytime soon is the Switch 2.

If it’s backwards compatible, I’ll likely get one pretty close to launch. The PlayStation VR2 does look very good, but the lack of games and Sony’s silence since its release makes it too much of an expensive gamble at this point.

Special promotion
I’m sure I’ll get the Switch 2, unless Nintendo announce something insane like they’ll club a seal for every purchase, but after that the current state of Microsoft and Sony is making me think my next hardware will be a decent PC or maybe a Steam Deck or equivalent, so I guess I’ll need to start saving soon.

At the start of the generation I thought I’d save up for a PlayStation 5 and PlayStation VR2 but I can’t justify £1,000 for that even if I had that kind of cash lying around, particularly with no games to speak of.

I’ve got an Xbox Series X but it gets more use as a Blu-ray player and streaming box than a console, which is ironic since Microsoft’s obsession about that stuff meant I skipped the Xbox One.

As a footnote, it’s been said before but Microsoft Rewards was really useful for subsidising purchases – I got a controller from the Design Lab and a wireless headset from the Microsoft Store for the cost of just a few quid and a tiny bit of my time every day for a year or so.
FoximusPrime81 (gamertag/NN ID)

Nintendo +1
Personally, I always pre-order every Nintendo console, from the N64 onwards. As soon as Switch 2 is formally announced and I can pre-order, I will.

I buy Nintendo plus another but I haven’t bought into PlayStation from PlayStation 3 onwards, and even less recently. So, I will likely buy the next Xbox-whatever further down the line.

Although, between Xbox and PlayStation, they have become more like a mobile phone ecosystem thing (Android vs. Apple) where once you are in, you literally invest money into it for games, etc. And you sort of get stuck.

I would guess this happened most last gen to current gen. So, I would now think gamers are more likely than a couple of generations ago, to buy the next version of whatever they have now.

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Easy decision
Given the rumours, it does look like we’re set for new hardware. Like most people the ‘choice’ of what I’ll pick up was made with my last purchase. I went with the Switch last generation over the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, since I didn’t own a TV at the time, and now I’ve built up an extensive library of digital games (along with some cartridges), so unless Nintendo really drop the ball with the Switch 2 I’ll be getting that.

I’ll only not get it If it comes without backwards compatibility, or doesn’t offer a noticeable generational leap in presentation, fidelity, and performance over the current model. Both those should be a no-brainer but well… this is Nintendo.

If I was going to switch platform at this point it’d be PlayStation 5, now I have an actual television. Though I’d pick up the current machine in a sale over any new hardware. If I go onto Metacritic and order the games by top review scores for both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S then which console to pick up is another no-brainer, it’s the PlayStation.

The current exclusives are better and it’s become the default current generation machine due to sales, so development of third party titles prioritise it, as we see in Baldur’s Gate 3 (Microsoft has really shot itself in the foot with the Xbox Series S but that’s a different topic). That’s without factoring in backwards compatibility either, which makes it even more of a non-contest thanks to the PlayStation 4 catalogue.

PC of Theseus
Ahhh, new hardware! I love a bit of new hardware, but I do try and make my hardware last for as long as it possibly can.

I’m actually not planning on getting any new hardware for the rest of the year, but that’s because I have already purchased various bits and pieces.

Now my PC is pretty old, running a seventh gen i5 processor (for those who don’t know about such things we are now just on generation 14).

I was noticing some freezing when online racing – not good for either me or my fellow competitors. A quick look at my monitoring software was showing maxed out CPU and memory usage… ahhh a double bottle neck.

Well, the memory was easy enough and memory is cheap, a quick boost from 8GB to 16GB and it gives games a little space to breath.

The CPU was a bit trickier – without a complete system rebuild I was stuck on seventh gen processors. Trawling eBay I found a brand new i5-7600K in a police auction for a bargain price. Now, compared to modern processors it’s still slow – it’s about seven years old after all – but it’s about 20% faster than the i5-7400 it replaced.

All good! Except… the new processor runs much hotter, so again, eBay for a new cooling system.

So, there it is. Racing sims are seriously CPU intense, but I’m hoping this PC will now get me to the end of Windows 10 support in 2025, when I shall likely get a whole new setup.

But then my trusty Logitech MX performance mouse gave up after 14 years of great service! So that’s no good, how will I play first person shooters? Or move the cursor on the desktop? An unexpected spend for a swanky new Logitech G Pro wireless gaming mouse which is a lovely bit of kit! Adjustable DPI, programmable side buttons and, ultra lightweight and, for those that like that kind of thing, fully programmable RGB.

So, other than some memory, a new CPU, a new cooling system and a new mouse, no new hardware purchases at all! I can totally see why some people are put off the PC as a platform, these aren’t things that are problems when console gaming. But, despite all the faff I still prefer my PC.

Whatever you game on, have fun y’all!
The Dude Abides

Sensible precautions
I’ve started putting aside some money for the upcoming Switch 2. Actually, I kicked this off about six months ago. My goal is to have around £300 saved up by around March or April next year. But lately, I’ve been thinking that the Switch 2 might not hit the shelves until later in 2024.

If that’s the case, I’m planning to keep up with my savings. I think the console could end up costing more than £300, maybe around £325 if I were to guess. And considering how game prices have been going up, I’m also budgeting for about £70 per game at launch, kind of like what we’ve seen with PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X games.

Then there’s the thought of needing an extra controller. I’m guessing the Switch 2 will come with improved Joy-Cons, but I’m a bit doubtful that my current Switch Pro Controller will work with it – hopefully, I’m being too pessimistic!

So, all in all, it looks like I might need to save up around £450. It could actually work out better if the console doesn’t come out until next autumn. That would give me more time to get everything together.

Next gen purchases
I don’t intend on buying hardware until the next gen, having had an Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 for a while and recently picking up a Switch. I’ll look at the PS5 Pro but if the gains are similar to the PS4 Pro I won’t bother with it.

Though far off I still give my future purchase some thought, as the decision will be whether to ditch consoles and go PC.

I nearly did that this gen, but Sony first party exclusives like Bloodborne, God Of War, and The Last Of Us Part 2 were some of my favourites games last gen, so I stuck with console.

But now it looks like most of Sony exclusives will wind up on PC after a few years I’m thinking I’ll wait until the PlayStation 6 specs are announced, then spec up a PC a chunk more powerful to hopefully get 60fps on all games for the gen.

If during this gen some must have Sony exclusives remain console exclusive that may sway me to stick with consoles.

PC or PlayStation 6, though I will get a Switch 2 at some point. I can’t see it not having a clutch of exclusive games I will not want to miss out on. I’ll probably get it near the end of its life cycle, like I did with the Switch.

Non-cloud gaming
Over the next several years I think any new hardware for me will be limited to the Switch’s successor and, if Starfield or any future game proves to be a real killer app, an Xbox Series S.

The other realistic options would likely be a PS5 Slim or the rumoured Pro mode a year later. I’m don’t love how my PlayStation 5 looks, or how big it is, but there really isn’t anything those future models could offer that would make me regret owning it or want to go through the rigmarole of upgrading from it.

My standard PlayStation 4 never struggled with any games in a notable way, except with The Witcher 3 and XCOM 2, and I don’t think the technical issues with those were down to processing shortcomings that were addressed by the PS4 Pro.

People seem to get angry or anxious when more powerful models are announced because, for reasons that aren’t always to do with how their games run, they need to know they’ve got the most powerful hardware available.

Since that makes little sense to me, I’d be content to round things out with an Xbox Series S as an inexpensive and small addition, to give access to the full range of games I’m most keen to play. Even then I’ve met more than one gamer who’s baffled that I wouldn’t pay £200 for the more expensive option.
I’ve got faith there won’t be any Xbox Series X games that simply can’t run on a Series S (or are genuinely so inferior) because I think that would be an even bigger scandal for Xbox this gen than the regular accusations of the Series S holding the Series X back.

Aside from being the next generation of Nintendo, the exciting thing about a Switch 2 is it’ll hopefully be able to reliably play even more good technically demanding games in handheld mode. If it’s portable and about as capable as a PlayStation 4, and if the more powerful current consoles don’t start taking advantage of their processors in a more obvious way, the Switch 2 could end up in an even better position than the first one was, closing any significant gaps with versions of big new third party releases that are less compromised than they’ve ever been.

Finally, there’s an outside chance I’d get the Project Q if it isn’t overpriced and is reliable for playing PlayStation 5 games without needing a TV. It’s the price that makes that doubtful, though, so I could ultimately see myself paying £350-450 for a Switch 2, £150-250 for an Xbox Series S and stopping at that until 2028 at least. Seems pretty fair over that period, which makes me even more sceptical that cloud gaming will go mainstream in the next decade or so.

Take my money
I’ve got two PlayStation 5 controllers which I seem to send off and get fixed every 11 months for stick drift. It’s like clockwork.

I’d like to buy a controller with no stock drift.

Prêt à partir
There won’t be any new hardware I’ll be getting this Christmas, as the consoles I have do the best job for me, including any new gaming television.

I am though curious about any Switch developments, as it’s hard to see what a Switch 2 graphical quality will be all about. With PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, you pretty much know that the PC is going to be matching and beating these two consoles.

Nintendo’s graphical power is awesome and suit their games perfectly but obviously third party games have to be either squeezed into the device, and loose the amazing graphics, or are compromised in other ways. But Nintendo’s gaming is second to none and truly you’ll be enjoying the visuals whilst forgetting the PlayStation 5, Xbox, and PC.

As for VR and other gimmicks, no definitely not! They are definitely not up my street and even though I’m curious about them, I’ve just never seen anything that I’d find personally enjoyable about them.

So it’s really all about the software, as normal for me, and as Starfield has just gone gold and a second Alan Wake title is on the way… well, I think along with other exciting titles spread over the later part of this year I feel I am geared up and ready to get stuck into these exciting new worlds.

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