If you are planning to pick up a new console in 2019, there’s no better time to do so than on Black Friday. In previous years, the sale has come with plenty of great deals from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, and 2019 should be no exception. What’s more, the end of the current console generation is looming, so there are likely to be even more discounts and bundles available than usual.
If you don’t have a horse in the race when it comes to the console wars, it can be hard to know which system to go for. Not only can the relative merits of the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch sometimes seem opaque, but things also get even more confusing when you consider the many different models on the market.
With Microsoft and Sony’s eighth-generation consoles, you have a choice between the Xbox One X or S, or the PlayStation 4 Slim or Pro, respectively. Nintendo fanciers used to have it easy, but now they too must decide between the regular Switch model or the new Switch Lite.
To make your decision easier, we’ve put together this handy guide to help you figure out the right choice for you this Black Friday.
Should I buy a PS4 this Black Friday?
The standard version of the PS4 is now the PS4 Slim, which is a sleeker, more streamlined version of the base console, though with almost identical internal specs to the original. For those who want the best quality, there’s also the PS4 Pro, which offers increased graphical power – at an increased price.
Related: PS4 Black Friday Deals
Third-party exclusives are perhaps the PS4’s greatest selling point. Both Sony and Microsoft have had some great in-house titles, but when it comes to third-party games, the PS4 is the clear front runner. Over the years Sony has secured exclusive rights to some incredible AAA blockbusters, including our 2018 Game of the Year winner, God of War, alongside The Last of Us Remastered and Marvel’s Spider-Man. There are more big hits still to look forward to, with Hideo Kojima’s highly anticipated Death Stranding coming out on 8 November.
Last year, the PS4 Pro was available, together with a copy of FIFA 19, for just under £300, lower than the original RRP of the non-upgraded version. Look out for even better deals this year. Sony will want to clear out stock before it launches the PS5, so prices could be as low as £150.
Should I buy an Xbox One this Black Friday?
The Xbox One S is a smaller, lighter Xbox One. If you’re buying on a budget, this is a great option as it costs less than Sony’s equivalent, the PS4 Slim. With the Xbox One X, Microsoft is able to boast the most powerful console in the world. Be warned, however – it is priced accordingly and costs significantly more than Sony’s premium console, perhaps in part because it came out a year later. Only splash out on this console if you’re sure you have a HDR-ready 4K TV that can make use of that extra fidelity.
While the Xbox One has fewer, less spectacular third-party titles than the PS4, it’s still home to some major franchises such as Gears of War and Halo. If you happen to still have some old Xbox 360 games lying around, there’s good reason to stick with Microsoft, as it is the only modern console to offer backwards compatibility.
Related: Xbox One Black Friday Deals
Last year, Amazon sold the Xbox One S with an extra controller for just £179. It was also the first time the Xbox One X was discounted, with Game selling the console in a bundle with Overwatch and Forza Horizon 4 for £449.99.
You can expect to see the same and more in the upcoming month, as the new Xbox has been announced for next year. The Xbox One X, in particular, should hopefully see a bigger price drop than usual and the Xbox One S might finally dip below £150.
Should I buy a Nintendo Switch this Black Friday?
Nintendo has always liked to do its own thing, and the results are often a mixed bag. For every one of its successes, like the Wii, there’s also a Wii U. The Switch has definitely been a hit, however. It’s a more powerful piece of hardware than we usually see from the studio, with some unique features.
As well as all the fantastic new Nintendo offerings like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Super Mario Odyssey, the Switch has more recently become home to a whole host of great indie titles, from Hollow Knight to Rocket League.
The Switch is, of course, the only home console that doubles as a handheld device, so if you like to game on the move it’s the obvious choice. This year Nintendo released an upgraded Switch with longer battery life for no extra cost.
Related: Nintendo Switch Black Friday Deals
The Switch Lite also came out this year. This is a version that prioritises the handheld experience. It’s a smaller model, with a slightly more efficient processor that will extend the battery once again. It doesn’t come with a dock, however, or any way to link the display to your TV, so don’t pick it up if that’s a feature you’re interested in.
Last year, Black Friday saw surprisingly good savings on the Switch. One deal offered the console, a Pokémon Let’s Go game and a Poké Ball Plus for just £284.62. Whether or not we’ll see such great savings again remains to be seen. Price drops aren’t guaranteed: we’re only two years into the Switch’s lifespan, so it’s unlikely we’ll see a new Nintendo console in 2020. With that in mind, there’s no reason to wait. Speaking of which…
Should I wait for the PS5 and Xbox 2?
For the more patient among us, it might be prudent to hold off until the next generation comes around. Both the Xbox 2 (aka Project Scarlett) and the PS5 (aka Prospero) are due for release in 2020 ahead of Christmas. You’ve waited this long – if you can wait another year it may be well worth it.
Both new consoles are expected to be backwards compatible, so interest in the older console generation, along with the prices of these products, is likely to plummet. Depending on your priorities, it could be worth holding out for a great saving on an old system, or saving your cash and putting it towards next year’s model once it’s released. Bear in mind though that it will take a good while for the number of exclusives on the next set of consoles to reach anything like the numbers we’re currently seeing for the Xbox One and PS4. So if you’re after a more robust gaming experience, your best bet is to invest in the current generation of consoles while they’re at a cheaper price.