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Choosing your first gaming console can be an exciting yet daunting task.

With so many options on the market, how do you decide which one is the right one for you? 

The gaming console that is best for beginners provides a user-friendly interface, a stellar game library full of titles perfect for new gamers, and an affordable price point.

Read on to learn which console is the best choice for gamers just starting.

What To Consider When Picking a Gaming Console?

When deciding which gaming console is the best fit, there are a few key factors to consider:

  • Game library – The variety and quality of games available are one of the most important considerations. Look for consoles with many high-quality exclusive games in genres you enjoy.
  • Controllers – Pick a console with controllers that feel comfortable and intuitive in your hands. Complex controllers with lots of buttons can be overwhelming for beginners.
  • Multiplayer – Local and online multiplayer allow you to play with friends. Ideal for those new to gaming.
  • Price – Look for affordably priced consoles if you’re on a budget. Extra features and power push up the price.
  • Ease of use – Choose user-friendly consoles that are simple to set up and navigate. Complex interfaces are frustrating.

These factors will help you select the ideal console for starting your gaming journey.

Overview Of The Main Gaming Consoles

The three major companies in the gaming console market are Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. Here is a quick overview comparing their latest flagship consoles:

Sony PlayStation 5

  • Powerful next-gen hardware
  • Cutting-edge immersive controller
  • Expansive game catalog of 3,000+ titles
  • Exclusive games like Spider-Man, God of War
  • 4K gaming and multimedia features
  • Most expensive option at $499

Microsoft Xbox Series X

  • Strong performance with fast load times
  • Backward compatibility with Xbox One games
  • Xbox Game Pass subscription with 100+ games
  • Seamless online multiplayer gaming
  • Student pricing available for $299
  • Controllers feel bulky to some

Nintendo Switch

  • Hybrid portable and home console gaming
  • Fun exclusive games like Mario, Zelda, and Animal Crossing
  • Simple, intuitive controllers good for beginners
  • Affordable at $299 for the base model
  • Lower power and graphics than PS5 and Xbox
  • Smaller game library than competitors

Now that you’re acquainted with the major consoles, let’s dive into their strengths and weaknesses for beginning gamers.

Sony PlayStation 5

Sony’s PlayStation 5 is their newest and most advanced console. With cutting-edge graphics, powerful performance, and next-gen gameplay experiences, it is designed with hardcore gamers in mind.

Pros for beginners:

  • Stunning and immersive graphics with 4K capability
  • The new DualSense controller has impressive haptic feedback
  • Some easier exclusive games like Sackboy and Bugsnax

Cons for beginners:

  • Very expensive at $499 for the base model
  • Complex controller with a steeper learning curve
  • Often sold out and hard to find in stock
  • Many exclusive titles cater to experienced players

While it is an incredible piece of hardware, the PS5’s high price tag and focus on cinematic realism make it less than ideal for gaming newcomers. However, PlayStation fans will appreciate starting on Sony’s latest and greatest.

Microsoft Xbox Series X

With the Xbox Series X, Microsoft has created a powerhouse console delivering smooth 4K gameplay and ultra-fast load times. It builds on the strengths of the popular Xbox One.

Pros for beginners:

  • Plays Xbox One games so tons of backwards-compatible titles
  • Xbox Game Pass offers 100+ games for one monthly price
  • Simpler controller than PlayStation 5
  • Student pricing drops the cost to the entry-level of $299

Cons for beginners:

  • Can feel overwhelmingly large with lots of features
  • Menu interface takes some learning to navigate
  • Supply shortages mean units often sell out
  • Bulkier controller shape is not for all hand sizes

The Xbox Series X is a solid choice for beginners, particularly with Xbox Game Pass providing instant access to a vast game library. Just be prepared to spend some time learning your way around the Xbox dashboard menus.

Nintendo Switch

With its family-friendly games, pick-up-and-play design, and affordable price, the Nintendo Switch is tailor-made for novice gamers. Its versatility and approachability help take the intimidation factor out of gaming.

Pros for beginners:

  • Seamless shifting between handheld and TV gaming
  • Intuitive controllers with simple button layouts
  • Fun and colorful exclusive franchises like Mario, Zelda, Splatoon
  • Affordable at $299 for the base model
  • Easy to navigate interface and menus

Cons for beginners:

  • Less powerful graphics and performance vs. Sony & Microsoft
  • Smaller game library compared to other consoles
  • Joy-Con controllers small for some hands
  • No option for disc-based games

The Switch’s user-friendly design and wide variety of enjoyable first-party games make this the best choice for getting started with console gaming. Exclusive Nintendo titles are perfect for players of all ages.

What are the Best Games for Beginners?

Starting with the right games that are tailored for beginner-level players will make picking up gaming skills much smoother. Here are 5 of the best games to start any new gamer off right.

Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)

This 3D Mario platformer is colorful, upbeat, and family-friendly. With simple controls and power-ups, you navigate challenging levels chasing after Bowser. It’s an inventive addition to the iconic franchise.

Untitled Goose Game (Multiplatform)

Take on the role of an annoying goose tasked with ruining a village’s day in humorous ways. With no time limits, you can honk around and cause lighthearted chaos.

Forza Horizon 5 (Xbox)

For racing game fans, the Forza series serves up high-speed thrills. Horizon 5 sets driving challenges across stunning recreations of real open-world locations. You can tweak controls to match your skill level.

Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart (PlayStation 5)

This action platformer stars a duo of alien heroes with cool weapons and gadgets. Vibrant alien worlds and an easy-to-grasp upgrade system make it an accessible intro to the genre.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)

The charming life simulator invites you to build your ideal island paradise populated with cute animal characters. Decorating your island and home is utterly relaxing.

Trying out a variety of game genres helps you determine what types of games you most enjoy playing as a beginner. Sampling critically acclaimed franchises also gives a solid gaming foundation.

What Is The Cost Of Gaming Consoles?

Gaming consoles range in price from $299 on the affordable end for a Nintendo Switch to $499 for a fully loaded PlayStation 5. When selecting your ideal console, keep your budget in mind.

Here are the prices for each console:

  • Nintendo Switch – $299 for the base model, $349 for the Switch OLED model
  • Xbox Series X – $499 for a console with a disc drive, $299 with Xbox All Access payment plan
  • PlayStation 5 – $499 for a model with a disc drive, $399 for a digital edition

Games are generally $59.99 for new releases across all consoles. Online multiplayer requires a $9.99 monthly subscription on PS5 and Xbox but is free for Switch. Controllers range from $69.99-$79.99 each.

For those looking to keep costs down, the regular Nintendo Switch offers strong value. Game Pass on Xbox provides affordable access to hundreds of games for a monthly fee.

Where To Buy a Gaming Console?

Due to global supply chain issues, gaming consoles can be tricky to find available in stock. Here are some tips on where to buy your console:

  • Check inventory trackers online showing real-time restocks at major retailers.
  • Sign up for in-stock email alerts from stores like Best Buy, Target, and GameStop.
  • Follow restock accounts on Twitter that announce availability at various merchants.
  • Don’t rule out buying refurbished directly from manufacturers.

Consoles sold out extremely quickly When they were announced as back in stock. Prepare your payment and shipping info in advance for the fastest checkout.

Persistent shoppers can land consoles at list price with some dedication. Avoid resellers charging inflated scalping prices. Stock checkers, quick checkout skills, and a bit of good luck will help you get your hands on your chosen console.

Setting Up Your New Gaming Console

Once you have your shiny new console, getting it up and running is a breeze by following these steps:

Select placement – Leave 6-12 inches of ventilation room around your console to prevent overheating. Place it near your TV and outlet.

Plug in and power on – Connect HDMI and power cables securely into the back input ports. Press the power button to turn it on.

Connect controllers – Sync up any wireless controllers by connecting to the console via a USB cord or Bluetooth sync button.

Complete system setup – Follow the on-screen prompts to get your console online via WiFi, create user profiles, and set preferences.

Sign in to accounts – Link your gaming network IDs and subscription accounts like Xbox Live or Nintendo account.

Install any updates – Let the console download the latest software update for added features and fixes.

With those steps complete, your console will be primed and ready for action. Time to start gaming!

Connecting Your Gaming Console To Your TV

Modern gaming consoles are designed for seamless connection to your television. The two main steps are:

1. Use an HDMI cable – This supports transferring video and audio signals. Plug one end into your console and the other into an HDMI port on your TV.

2. Change TV input channel – On your TV remote, select the input channel corresponding to the HDMI port you used. You may need to cycle through inputs.

For the ideal gaming experience, aim to game on a TV with a low response time and a high refresh rate for smooth visuals. Response time under 5ms and refresh rate of 60Hz or higher works well.

Make sure your TV is set to gaming mode to minimize input lag. Turn this setting on in your TV’s options.

With the proper cables and input selected, you’ll be gaming in glorious high definition in no time!

Playing Games Online

One of the best parts of modern gaming consoles is the ability to play multiplayer games online. Here is how to enable online play:

  • On PlayStation 5 you need a PlayStation Plus subscription.
  • For Xbox Series X, join Xbox Live Gold.
  • Nintendo Switch Online is required for online play on Switch.

These memberships cost around $9.99 monthly. They give you access to online multiplayer, voice chat, exclusive discounts, and free monthly games.

Once subscribed, simply connect your console to WiFi. Make sure automatic game updates are enabled. When launching a multiplayer game, choose the online versus local co-op option.

Chat headsets allow direct communication with other players. Look for gaming headsets from brands like SteelSeries and HyperX.

Jumping into competitive and cooperative online games greatly expands your gameplay possibilities and enjoyment.

Caring For Your Gaming Console

Investing in a gaming console is a significant purchase, so you’ll want to take proper care of it. Here are some tips:

  • Keep your console clean by wiping it with a dry microfiber cloth.
  • Don’t block the console’s vents, keep space around them for airflow.
  • Use a surge protector to avoid electrical damage from power fluctuations.
  • Be gentle with game discs, don’t touch the undersides.
  • Let discs fully install updates before ejecting to avoid corruption.
  • Only use official first-party charging cables and batteries.
  • Keep the console away from moisture, dust, smoke, and extreme temperatures.
  • Transport the console carefully if taking it places to avoid jostling and drops.

With proper care and maintenance, your gaming console can deliver many years of entertainment. Handle it with care so you get the most out of your purchase.

How To Determine the Right Console Pick for You?

Picking your first gaming console is an exciting gaming milestone. Assess the following criteria to decide which console is the best fit for you:

  • Desired game types – Choose a console with top titles in genres that appeal to you.
  • Exclusive games – Weigh access to must-play exclusives like Mario, Halo, and Uncharted.
  • Hardware power – Lower or higher-end graphics and performance needs?
  • Multiplayer preferences – Local co-op or online competitive?
  • Portability needs – Handheld gaming or living room only?
  • User interface – Menus simple or advanced and customizable?
  • Budget – Is affordability your top priority?

Once you think through your gaming preferences, the choice of your ideal console for starting is clear. Don’t worry, you can always add more consoles to your gaming arsenal later on.

Picking that first gaming console starts you on an amazing hobby that can last a lifetime. Weigh your options carefully, and enjoy all the interactive entertainment experiences that await. Game on!

FAQs About Gaming Consoles for Beginners

Will I be able to play all the latest games on any gaming console?

While most modern gaming consoles can play a wide range of games, some games may be exclusive to certain consoles. It’s important to check the game’s compatibility before purchasing a console.

How much storage space do I need?

It depends on how many games you want to be installed at once. A 500GB hard drive can hold around 10-15 average-sized titles. You may need to uninstall old ones to make room. Install disc games rather than download them to save space. Add external USB hard drives to expand storage.

What resolution and graphics settings should I use?

1080p HD TVs are perfect for gaming. Consoles will auto-detect your TV’s optimal resolution. Adjust graphical settings like frame rate cap, field of view, and motion blur based on your preference, not just maxing them out. Start with default settings.

What accessories do I need?

A second controller is essential for local multiplayer. Headsets are required for online chat on most consoles. Optional extras like racing wheels, fight sticks, charging stations, and controller grips add convenience and immersion. But they aren’t necessary for beginners.

How can I get help learning to play games?

Read each game’s manual and in-game tutorials first. Visit the console’s online help documentation or community forums with questions. Watch YouTube videos of people playing to pick up tips. Ask gaming friends to teach you in person. Enable accessibility features if needed.

Can kids use gaming consoles safely?

Yes, through proper parental controls. Restrict mature-rated content, limit screen time, disable purchases, turn off communication, and set age limits for online interaction. Monitor gameplay and teach kids how to avoid inappropriate behavior. Don’t share credit card info.

How do I choose between PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo?

PlayStation and Xbox are best for hardcore gaming, sports games, shooters, and online play. Nintendo is better for families, kids, party games, retro games, and portability. Choose based on preferred game genres, features, controllers, and console exclusives. You can’t go wrong with any of the major brands.

Should I buy a gaming console or a gaming PC?

The choice between a gaming console and a gaming PC ultimately depends on your personal preferences and budget. Gaming consoles offer a more budget-friendly and user-friendly option, while gaming PCs offer more customization and potentially better graphics.

Tom Velasco

Tom Velasco

I'm just a regular guy who loves hobbies. I'm also the creator of Hobbyist To Riches, where I've spent the last 15 years trying out all kinds of hobbies that make life happier and financially rewarding. My adventures have taken me around the world to immerse in different cultures and their diverse pastimes. I love sharing this journey of discovering new passions!

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