Looking to upgrade to a new game console? This is the article for you! There’s nothing quite like a really good video game console.  Sure, you can’t really dispute the ultimate flexibility (or possibilities) offered through PC gaming, but when it comes to simple and effective plug-and-play entertainment, where you know “for sure” that you’ll be able to load up that new title and it will definitely work (with little to no glitches, bugs or finagling required).  That’s always pretty much been the draw of the console market – its user-friendliness and overall usability.  Of course, in recent times, gaming consoles have become both super-powered as well as super-portable, making them as desirable, if not more so, than they were previously.  What we’re about to look at are (arguably) your best choices for this Christmas season, assuming that you’re in the market for a new console of some kind…

The obvious contenders:

Sony’s PlayStation 4

ps4

The most common thing you’ll hear from people in the market today when it comes to gearing up for video gaming is likely to be “just go buy a PS4”.  The truth is, yeah, it really is just about that simple.  Not only is Sony’s new flagship system incredibly powerful, capable of handling multiple strings and juggling games, apps and more with little effort at all, it is also building quite an impressive library for itself as well.  This comes in addition to all the effort put forward by Sony execs to make indie game development for its PlayStation online platform extremely easy as well.  The point is – this machine features incredibly deep features in every way imaginable.  It’s design is impeccable right out of the box and rest assured, there are even more amazing things on the way.  For example, there’s been much talk about “project morpheus” and how the PS4 is going to integrate Oculs Rift-like VR into the equation.   That’s definitely something to keep on your radar, but only if you’re a PS4 owner, of course.

Microsoft’s Xbox One

Xbox OneSony’s rival, or brother in arms, from another perspective, is Microsoft’s Xbox One, which is a similarly powerful console with an array of ultra-cool and impressive features to boot.  Seriously, it’s probably going to be a bit of a toss up between the PS4 and the One, with gamers choosing sides over which exclusive titles they like best.  In all honesty, both consoles are downright amazing.  Naturally, if MS’s great library is more to your liking then the choice is obvious, isn’t it?   Additionally, engineers on this side of the fence are also always working on various improvements and additions, so expect to be wowed later on by what they release as well.

Handhelds:

Nintendo’s 3DS XL

Nintendo’s 3DS XL

Time and time again, Nintendo’s great little handheld 3DS XL console keeps on winning out with critics and fans alike.  In a barrage of online reviews and tests, this device keeps on edging out the competition as well, with its dual 3D screen and great game selections.  Naturally, it also functions well as a camera and once most gamers learn about its streetpass and spotpass features, which allow you to quickly link up to wireless networks and/or connect with other 3DS users for gaming as well as social networking.

Sony PlayStation Vita

Sony PlayStation Vita

Of course, nearly always coming in around second (and sometimes first) place is Sony’s PlayStation Vita, which is basically an incredibly powerful handheld console which is capable of much more than it lets on.  Not only will you find plenty of games and apps to keep you busy, but it can also be used to connect to and augment gameplay on its big brother, the PS4.  In fact, with remote play enabled you can play PS4 games on the vita.  If that weren’t enough, how about some amazing bundles to lure you in, like the Borderlands 2 bundle, which is an incredible must-buy for FPS fans that are always on the go.

Streaming console set top boxes:

Ouya

Ouya

Lastly, we bring you something entirely different altogether – an all-in-one affordable console / entertainment device which connects directly to your tv.  You’ve probably heard about this product / project via Facebook or Kickstarter already, right?  Basically, this box comes in two versions, one priced at around $99 and the other just shy of $130, with the pricier one having additional features and such.  It is able to play any of the games in the Ouya library as well as function as a streaming web / app portal for running services like Netflix.  At the same time, each box serves as its own “dev kit” of sorts, meaning that you can actually get your games up there for view and sale if you are so inclined to do so.

Some are already claiming that the “Ouya is dead”, but it’s still an interesting gadget to play around with and it most certainly is capable of providing hours of great entertainment, especially if you’re creative or frequently travel.  When you consider the low-cost too, the value here is clear.  At the very least, it’s worth picking one up just to have a nice travel-ready entertainment center.