Dear Lifehacker, I've always been interested in gaming but over the last few years when I was at university I didn't really have time or the money for it. Now that I'm out of uni the timing seems right to wait until November and purchase the new XBox One or PlayStation 4. Before playing the latest releases I'm really interested in playing through some of the titles from the last five years I've often heard praised such as Portal 2, GTAIV and Bioshock. Will I be able to do this on a new console?
The PS4 seems to boast some backwards compatibility, but it's unclear whether these particular titles will be downloadable from whatever their version of the cloud is.
Gamers that I've asked about this say I could play anything I want and get more bang for my buck anyway if I built my own gaming PC. The Lifehacker articles on this are quite helpful but I've never built a computer before and it feels like I could lose a lot of time to the research alone. Any advice? Thanks, Late to the Cake
When you go to the cinema, do you like to sit in the front row with your popcorn and forget about the technology involved? Or do you secretly want to be the projectionist?
While the above analogy is shamelessly broad, the answer does help to indicate whether you're better suited to console or PC gaming.
Judging by your post, you're probably not overly fussed about anti-aliasing, blistering frame rates and maxed-out settings. Subsequently, the effort and expense it takes to build a PC gaming rig probably isn't worth it. We think you'd be better off with a console which are relatively cheap and designed for comfortable bouts of fuss-free gaming. Indeed, once you've plugged it into your TV, the only thing you really need to worry about is the controller in your hands.
Given the low prices these days, I'd suggest buying an Xbox 360 or PS3 right now and enjoying those games at discounted prices (each console currently costs around $300 and most of the games you mentioned can be snapped up brand new for $20 or less). This removes the backwards compatibility issue and also means you can start gaming straight away.
Once you've got some quality Xbox 360/PS3 gaming under your belt, you can decide if you're keen enough to want a new machine, which are also reasonably affordable — both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will retail for under $600 in Australia. You can find out more about both next-gen consoles in our Xbox One and PS4 launch postmortems.
If any readers feel LTTC would be better off plumping for a PC, feel free to challenge us in the comments section below. Also be sure to let LTTC know which games he should pick up from the current generation.
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