Should you buy a Playstation or Xbox right now?

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 14, 2016
Updated • May 22, 2018

Microsoft and Sony plan to release new consoles, the Xbox One S and Project Scorpio by Microsoft , and the Playstation Neo by Sony.

Microsoft plans to release the Xbox One S, a slim version of the Xbox One, in August 2016, while both the Neo and the Scorpio will be available in (late) 2017.

The plan to push out new console models is not entirely new, both companies have created slimmer or more efficient models of consoles in the past, but what is new is that the new models that come out in 2017 will be more powerful than the original versions released in 2013.

The original Xbox One and Playstation 4 are not capable of delivering the performance needed for VR gaming or 4K gaming, and the only viable way out was to push more powerful consoles that deliver the power needed for those technologies.

A number of questions come up automatically:

  1. Should you buy a Playstation or Xbox right now, or wait until the new systems are released?
  2. Will all games / accessories run on old and new hardware?

Before I address those, let's take a look at what we know so far about the refreshes.

Xbox refreshes

xbox one s

Microsoft announced on this year's E3 that it will launch two new Xbox consoles: the Xbox One S, a slim version of the Xbox One, available in the coming months, and Project Scorpio, a more powerful version of the Xbox, at the end of 2017.

These new devices are offered next to the existing Xbox One meaning that Microsoft will offer three Xbox One versions to gamers at the end of 2017.

Let's look at the two new consoles first.

Xbox One S

The Xbox One S is a slim version of the original Xbox. It is about 40% slimmer than the original Xbox One and includes some new features on top of that.

For one, it is offered with a hard drive capacity of up to 2 Terabyte (which is 1TB more than the current internal maximum) but will also ship with a new 4K Blu-Ray player that supports ultra HD Blu-Ray discs.

Additionally, the Xbox One S supports 4K Ultra HD Video (streaming) and High Dynamic Range, and ships with an internal power supply instead of a power brick that the old system requires.

Ports are moved to the front of the console, and a vertical stand is offered to position the console vertically instead of just horizontally.

The console will ship without a dedicated Kinect port, but Microsoft announced an USB adapter for that which it plans to offer free of charge to existing Kinect owners.

The Xbox One S ships with a redesigned controller featuring textured grips and Bluetooth support.

Project Scorpio

The Xbox console codenamed Project Scorpio won't be out until the end of 2017. It is a hardware refresh unlike the Xbox One S and as such, will be more powerful than the current Xbox One or the Xbox  One S.

Microsoft stated that the Scorpio will be powerful enough for 4K gaming and virtual reality, and that existing games will benefit from the more powerful hardware as well.

The company did not reveal any specifics about the hardware or design of the console other than that it would support 6 Teraflops of graphical performance instead of the 1.3 of the Xbox One, and that it would feature an eight-core CPU with 320 gigabytes per second of memory bandwidth.

Playstation refresh

The Playstation 4 refresh is called Neo by Sony. Unlike Microsoft, Sony did not reveal the new console during its E3 press conference which also means that it did not provide any information about it either.

Sony confirmed the Playstation 4 Neo, and that it will support 4K gaming and VR but that is about it currently. It is very likely that it will feature an UHD Blu-Ray player.

Should you buy a Playstation or Xbox right now, or wait until the new systems are released?

If you want to buy an Xbox One or Playstation 4, you may wonder whether it makes sense to wait and buy one of the new console refreshes, or buy one right now.

There is no definitive answer for that as it depends largely on what you plan to do with either system.

If you have a 4K TV or plan to buy one, or want to jump on the VR bandwagon once it takes up speed, it makes sense to wait for the refreshes to be released and buy one of those.

If you don't care about 4K or VR, and are sure that your stance won't change in the coming years, then you may very well get a PS4 right now or the new Xbox One S that will be out in August.

Both companies confirmed that all games and accessories will work with current consoles and the refreshes, and that they will do anything in their power to make sure that third-party developers will make games and hardware available for all versions of a console.

The one exception to that is VR content which will likely work only on the Scorpio and Neo.

Microsoft revealed the starting price of the Xbox One S -- it is $299 for the 500GB model -- but neither Microsoft nor Sony have revealed how much the Scorpio or the Neo will cost.

Considering that we are talking about major hardware upgrades, it is likely that the price will be -- a lot -- higher than that.

The answer to the question depends on your requirements, whether you want to wait more than a year before you start playing games, and also money.

The end of console gaming as we know it?

Some gamers have expressed concern for the accelerated release cycle. Both consoles came out in 2013, and in some regions as late as 2014.

The main concern is that this could be the beginning of a trend to release consoles in shorter time spans.

Doing so would remove another console gaming benefit: being able to use it to play games for many years without upgrading components.

It is possible that this is just a one-time thing that Microsoft or Sony won't repeat in the future. Then again, if they see that releasing new devices in shorter periods works well, they might switch to the release model fully.

Now You: What's your take on the development?

Should you buy a Playstation or Xbox right now?
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Should you buy a Playstation or Xbox right now?
Should you buy a Playstation or Xbox console right now, or should you wait for the Project Scorpio or Playstation Neo refreshes out in 2017?
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  1. Dave said on June 16, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    PS4 but seriously if you are true gamer get a PC.

  2. Patrick said on June 16, 2016 at 12:01 am

    What I did. Upgraded PC to i76700k, R290, 16GB ram bought a Steam Link and Steam controller, PC games are STILL cheaper in the long run…

  3. Hawk said on June 15, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    I’ll buy a PS4 to play primarily the God of War and the Horizon Zero Dawn.

  4. Theodor Hertzl said on June 15, 2016 at 12:10 am

    Sad to see “PC Gaming Fascism” is alive and well over here. This mostly stems from the unemployed, unengaged, degenerate basement dwellers from second world countries. The people who ironically, almost killed the PC Gaming in mid 2000’s with the rampant software piracy. Thankfully these days we have anti tamper solutions like Denuvo, which will hopefully be integrated in most games by 2017. Moving on to the matter of consoles… Every self respecting gamer or technologist already owns all of the consoles on the market, besides a gaming computer, and these upcoming console revisions and upgrades are more than welcome. Console exclusive games offer unprecedented and transformative triple A experiences not found elsewhere, in the same way PC exclusive games offer genres and titles not found on consoles. Long story short: If you are a true gamer, you are invested in both worlds. Otherwise you are a degenerate bigot, and most probably a racist/sexist. I on the other hand will be spending my evenings immersed in games such as
    Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and BloodBorne as well as ArmA 3 and Ashes of the Singularity.

    From the sun-bathed Los Angeles, California, I wish you a nice day.

    Long Live America.

  5. CHEF-KOCH said on June 14, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Martin :)

    Another problem we may need to talk about is DRM, it’s like cancer (and nope I’m not Ballmer ;) ). DRM now made it directly into the hardware (e.g. nVidia’s pascal GPU). WHich overall means it’s not only anymore software based or a matter of what cables you use, in most situations it also remotely connects to internet to check the modules and other stuff. We have similar story right now (in EU) because SmartTV which spying each time, how long you watch xyz, what you like which apps you use and more. My fear here is that we already silently get this in hardware and everyone only care about benchmarks. Please all make your eyes wide open and re-think about this. PC is a bit you can control but consoles, no one really knows, you can’t open it without breaking the guarantee and there are some factors which are more and more coming which revoke your control over it.

    All the stores, Steam, uPlay or whatever is horrible, they collect everything, what you play, how long, IP, hardware and many more. I don#t know why they are so popular, I think just because laziness of people? I don#t know, I only hope price and *to get everything each hour’ is not the beginning from the end, no one really these days estimates good games. Because you can download it (legal/illegal) get drm which changes some OS related things, possible manipulates you or your behavior and more.I not complain because someone pay for it, but we should more careful and before you buy, why not wait until someone reviewed it?

    It’s not paranoid but just think about it, overall you support such behavior. It’s a shame. I#m also angry if I would be an PS4 or Xbox one owner, because they released the consoles and now you should buy the ‘same’ crap just because UHD? When this will end, HD is fine or do you know want to buy UHD hardware? This is how they make money, with each new extension, game titles, … Oh and then you need a second controller, a new headset and whatever … *sigh*.

    1. Dave said on June 15, 2016 at 12:03 am

      That’s valuable information about the Pascal GPU.

      I could do with a pre-Skynet processor upgrade too. I wonder what’s good.

    2. Anonymous Coward said on June 14, 2016 at 10:03 pm

      You know, I suspected hardware DRM was in the pipes but hadn’t heard anything about it until now – no surprise really. I was thinking about getting a GTX 1070 because I feel like the GTX 970 fell short of its promises. Now I might just overclock the piss out of it and buy a used one if it melts. I’m also sticking with my pre Skynet CPU lol

  6. Yuliya said on June 14, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    I feel bad for people who spent 400-500 EUR on a console and further invested in games for the said console, so in less than three years to become obsolete by a newer model, which is more expensive and somewhat more powerful. And what’s the point of the Xbox One refresh? Who would buy that anymore? Whoever wanted already has one, and if they plan in buying the next console they might as well just wait for the more powerful one. And whoever wants to buy a console now will most likely do the same; why would someone buy a product at its near-EOL..?

  7. CHEF-KOCH said on June 14, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    To the hell with consoles. PC is the only real solution.

    PC people crying because FPS limits and Console people cry because PC possible looks better or has more fps. I don’t see any real compromise in that, especially because multi-platform is still an issue. I think if you are really a hardcore gamer you play better on PC.

    Since I’m not that gamer I only can speak for my friends, they often buy everything, Xbox and PS4 because titles (exclusive for xxy) and because they not like compromises. I not understand the console hype anyway.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 14, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      I stopped playing on consoles after PS2 for the most part, and have not bought a new system in years (last was Nintendo Wii).

      Console gaming has changed a lot over the years, and not only for the better. The days of popping in a cartridge to start playing immediately are long gone, and consoles these days suffer from issues that PC gamers had to live with for over a decade: huge downloads, installation of games, and frequent updates and 0-day patches.

      Add to that, that they cannot compete with PC anymore visually, and that hardware advancement makes it necessary to push out hardware more frequently, and you end up with little incentives to do your gaming on consoles.

      Sure, playing in front of the TV may be a better experience for certain games, but what else is there?

  8. Anonymous Coward said on June 14, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    I did a lot of research and decided on a used PS4 (the cooler and quieter matte model). If you already have a decent gaming PC, most XB1 games are coming to Windows sooner rather than later. If you shop around you can get a good deal on a used console. Mine was only two months old and looks brand new. For the price of a new console, I got my PS4 and a dozen games. Slickdeals and eBay are your friends. Also check the GameStop 4 for $20 deals, etc. Be patient and keep an eye on seller ratings.

  9. Dave said on June 14, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    The hardware upgrade is only for graphics. All games will still work on the older versions, except VR exclusives. Of course many new consoles are collecting dust these days, because there’s nothing fun to play on them.

    I’m still waiting to see what Nintendo is up to, but I’m sure it’s something rubbish and disappointing, with a library populated by crappy instalments in formerly great franchises, HD re-makes, and so many different controller requirements that playing any game requires you to check the box just to find out what hardware is needed.
    Go Nintendo :/

  10. Corky said on June 14, 2016 at 10:40 am

    On the topic of release cycles for consoles, i would say the announcements fall inline with typical release cycles, there was a 4 year gap between the original Xbox and 360, the XBone broke that tradition with a 10 yea gap. Similarly with 4/5 year gap from the original PlayStation to the PS2 and again to the PS3, the PS4 extended that gap to around 5/6 years.

    Basically a 4-5 year release cycle (or thereabouts) is the norm for consoles not the exception.

  11. Appster said on June 14, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Disclaimer: I am neither a Sony- nor a Microsoft-fanboy as I own both the PS4 as well as the Xbox One.
    And no, I would not buy the Xbox One S. Microsoft has announced the Scorpio project, which is in fact a new generation with backwards compatibility. Why would I buy the Xbox One S today? It will be outdated in 1 1/2 year. No way. I am already pissed that my Xbox One only lasted 4 years effectively (2013 – 2017). The only customers I can see buying the Xbox One S are people interested in UHD Blu Rays or people not knowledgeable enough to be informed about Scorpio.
    The same is true for Sony. I assume the PS5 is already lingering around somewhere and I expect the PS4 Neo to be the counterpart of the Xbox One S, essentially just bringing in UHD Blu Ray compatibility.
    And please, guys, don’t tell this corporate BS about how the Scorpio will not replace the Xbox One and how it is no next-gen console. Sorry guys, a console 4x stronger than its predecessor is in fact next-gen. It just has backwards compatibility. I didn’t hear stupid comments about how the first PS3 60 GB would not replace the PS2 just because it was able to handle PS2 games. That is just stupid. Let’s face it, the next generation is arriving.

  12. E3-of-Dreams-2016 said on June 14, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Just stick with Sony. Every game that used to be a Xbox exclusive will also run on Windows 10 from now on. Probably not on Steam, but still…

    And, after the leaked specs of Project Scorpio, Sony will probably go back to the drawing board and change the targeted specs of Playstation Neo as well. So… take those previously leaked specs with a grain of salt.

    Finally… I personally prefer the Sony lineup of games. And that’s what really matters in the end.

    1. Corky said on June 14, 2016 at 10:24 am

      Not all Xbox games are going to run on Windows 10 only those that Microsoft and/or the developer allow, it would have to carry the “cross-play” label.

      1. Corky said on June 14, 2016 at 7:26 pm

        @Anonymous Coward, that maybe true of the already announced games but ultimately the choice on whether a game is going to be cross-play is going to be down to Microsoft, and i dare say it will be purely a marketing decision.

      2. Anonymous Coward said on June 14, 2016 at 2:50 pm

        Halo 5 is the only exclusive that isn’t planned for a Windows 10 release. Phil Spencer mentioned something about how Halo 5 was designed exclusively for console. But when you think about it, the XBone is just a PC and you can easily use the XBone controller on PC, so it’s probably just a matter of time. The Windows 10 and XBone experience are one in the same going forward.

  13. pcmasterrace said on June 14, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Here is my experience.
    When I wanted to buy PSX, PS2 came out. Then I waited for PS2 price to drop.
    When I wanted to buy PS2, PS3 came out. Then I waited for PS3 price to drop.
    After that I stopped caring about buying console.

    Playing FPS/TPS with controller is also harder for me. I like using mouse better.
    I played console games on my friends home. Just go to their home to play console games :)
    Sadly now they’re not buying any new consoles anymore.. After working it’s hard to find time to game they said.

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