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Close-up photo of the white-and-black Nintendo Switch OLED Model. Credit: Nintendo

The Best Game Consoles of 2022

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Close-up photo of the white-and-black Nintendo Switch OLED Model. Credit: Nintendo

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Editor's Choice Product image of Nintendo Switch OLED

Nintendo Switch OLED

Though not the most powerful console on the market, the Switch boasts an incredible library of games. The OLED Model also has a vibrant 7-inch screen. Read More

Pros

  • Incredible games catalog
  • Playful, ingenious design
  • 7-inch handheld screen

Cons

  • Thumbstick drift is common
  • Lacks 4K output
Editor's Choice Product image of Xbox Series X

Xbox Series X

If you want maximum value, variety, next-gen performance, and plenty of great multiplayer games, the Series X is probably your best bet. Read More

Pros

  • Incredibly powerful tech
  • Hugely improved load times
  • Future proof

Cons

  • Absolutely massive
  • Needs more default storage space
Editor's Choice Product image of Sony PlayStation 5

Sony PlayStation 5

The standard PS5 comes with a 4K UHD drive; haptics built into its DualSense controller make for next-level immersion; and the games are phenomenal. Read More

Pros

  • Fast solid-state storage
  • Wonderful 4K, HDR gameplay
  • Excellent new controller

Cons

  • Bigger than previous consoles
  • Needs more default storage space
Product image of Xbox Series S

Xbox Series S

An affordable and attractive next-gen machine, the Series S pairs perfectly with an Xbox Game Pass subscription. It offers upscaling for 4K displays. Read More

Pros

  • 4K upscaling and video playback
  • Four generations of Xbox games
  • Compatible with next-gen titles

Cons

  • Doesn’t output in native 4K
Product image of Nintendo Switch Lite

Nintendo Switch Lite

The Switch Lite comes with a couple notable compromises, like a smaller screen and less battery life. But it offers portability and years of fun. Read More

Pros

  • Incredible games catalog
  • Simple all-in-one design

Cons

  • Thumbstick drift is common
  • Pretty small screen

When shopping for a new game console, the first question to ask yourself is what you intend to use it for. Are you invested in the Mario, Pokémon, or Zelda series? Do you need hardware that can play UHD Blu-rays or stream 4K video? Are you just looking for an all-in-one entertainment system without any bells or whistles?

It’s easier than ever to find a great piece of gaming hardware—though it can certainly be tricky to hunt down the latest and greatest hardware around the holidays. The good news is that you’ve got four or five incredible options on the dedicated home console market right now.

The Microsoft Xbox Series X (and the smaller Xbox Series S) are both great entry points into the Xbox Game Pass ecosystem, which grants you access to hundreds of great games for the price of one monthly subscription. And it offers a ton of cross-generation compatibility in terms of both game selection and accessories like controllers, headsets, and so on.

Sony’s PlayStation 5, meanwhile, delivers some of the best exclusive games in the industry—the Insomniac Spider-Man series, God of War, and so on. And Nintendo’s Switch has plenty to offer players as well: handheld gaming, flexibility and portability, and plenty of fun, family-friendly exclusives of its own. Each of the big three is a great choice.

After years of hands-on experience, we feel more than confident in calling these the best game consoles you can buy right now.

Editor's Note

The recommendations in this guide are based on thorough product and market research by our team of expert product reviewers. The picks are based on examining user reviews, product specifications, and, in some limited cases, our experience with the specific products named.

Product image of Nintendo Switch OLED
Nintendo Switch OLED
  • Outputs to your TV in 1080p or plays as a handheld system
  • 7-inch OLED handheld touchscreen
  • 64 GB of internal storage
  • Adjustable stand for a wide variety of viewing angles
  • Online and local multiplayer, plus wireless system link

Nintendo’s flagship console got some recent quality-of-life upgrades with the arrival of the Switch OLED Model. Available in a stylish new white-and-black design and red-and-blue “neon” version, it offers a seven-inch OLED screen in handheld mode, along with 64 GB of storage—double that of the original Nintendo Switch. The catalog of games is superb, ranging from the 2017 Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to last year’s near-perfect Super Mario 3D World remaster.

Another big selling point for the hardware continues to be its playful versatility: You can play it on the go as a handheld by taking it off the dock.

You can play it on your television with a controller; you can share one of your Joy-Con with a friend and enjoy hassle-free “couch co-op” in games like Mario Kart and so on. You can also use the built-in stand to prop it up for use as a shared screen when you’re playing multiplayer away from your TV.

Every Switch available right now is at risk of developing the same “Joy-Con drift” problem, caused by a defective thumbstick design, but Nintendo has promised free repairs for Joy-Con controllers that stop working properly. Having a Joy-Con fail certainly isn’t ideal, but it’s a risk worth taking for a console with exclusives like Super Mario Maker 2, Pokémon Sword and Shield, and Breath of the Wild.

If you just want a great video game console, and you aren’t too fussed about having it hit specific performance benchmarks or serving as a be-all-end-all entertainment system, the Nintendo Switch OLED model is a perfect choice.

It offers all kinds of unforgettable gaming experiences, from single-player adventures and RPGs to Mario Kart to unique multiplayer titles like Splatoon 3 and Nintendo Switch Sports. Unless your kid wants to play Spider-Man, Elden Ring, or Destiny 2, the Switch is hard to beat.

Pros

  • Incredible games catalog

  • Playful, ingenious design

  • 7-inch handheld screen

Cons

  • Thumbstick drift is common

  • Lacks 4K output

Product image of Xbox Series X
Xbox Series X
  • Native 4K output with a full library of 60 fps and 120 fps games
  • Best-in-class accessibility and accessory customization
  • 1 TB SSD for internal storage
  • 4K UHD disc player and robust backward compatibility
  • Online and local multiplayer

The Xbox Series X is the console I use the most in my free time at home. Its social features, multiplayer systems, and game selection are great for a wide range of players—though it may seem more appropriate for teens and adults compared to the all-ages appeal of the Switch.

The two newest Xbox consoles look great in any living room, they have the biggest library of games available on any one system, and they work great with all your favorite streaming services, Blu-rays, and a wide variety of entertainment apps. If you haven’t owned a Microsoft console since the Xbox 360 days, they’ve come a long way in terms of both power and dependability.

If you want maximum value, Xbox has that. If you want performance, the Xbox wins that one nine times out of 10. If you want to play new multiplayer games with friends online, and you don’t want to fool around with a big expensive gaming PC, the Xbox is probably your ticket. It doesn’t have Zelda or God of War, but it’ll make you a very satisfied customer.

Pros

  • Incredibly powerful tech

  • Hugely improved load times

  • Future proof

Cons

  • Absolutely massive

  • Needs more default storage space

Product image of Sony PlayStation 5
Sony PlayStation 5
  • Native 4K output with support for up to 120 fps
  • 4K UHD disc player and immersive controller haptics
  • 825 GB SSD for internal storage
  • Enhanced compatibility with loads of PS4 and VR titles
  • Online and local multiplayer

The Sony PlayStation 5 is the console of choice for many people who prefer single-player, cinematic games. If you’re looking for a good story and some peace of quiet to yourself, chances are you’ll love the PS5. It’s a significant upgrade from the PS4 Pro, it comes with a 4K UHD disc drive, the haptics built into the DualSense controller make for next-level immersion, and the games are great.

It doesn’t have quite the games library that the Xbox and Switch have as of yet, but when you add in the PS4 titles that are compatible with it, there’s still a lot to keep you entertained. There’s a digital edition out there, as well, but it’s near-impossible to find, so it might be worth using the disc drive for all your movie viewing.

PlayStation recently revamped their subscription service models with additional tiers and more classic games, but it lacks the backward compatibility of the Xbox ecosystem. (It’s similar to the Nintendo Switch in that way; you can play some of the classics, but you’ll have to buy them again or subscribe to one of Sony’s online services.)

If either Spider-Man: Miles Morales or Final Fantasy VII Remake looks appealing to you, you’ll have a blast with the PS5 and its incredible lineup of console exclusives. Most of your favorite multiplayer titles are here, too, and they’re adding more retro classics all the time. God of War: Ragnarok looks poised to make quite a splash when it launches, and you won’t be able to play that one anywhere else.

Pros

  • Fast solid-state storage

  • Wonderful 4K, HDR gameplay

  • Excellent new controller

Cons

  • Bigger than previous consoles

  • Needs more default storage space

Product image of Xbox Series S
Xbox Series S
  • 4K upscaling with support for up to 120 fps
  • Best-in-class accessibility and accessory customization
  • 512 GB SSD for internal storage
  • Full next-gen catalog and robust backward compatibility
  • Online and local multiplayer

If you’re looking to maximize your options—next-gen games, every generation of the Xbox catalog, 4K video playback, and all the streaming apps you can handle—the Xbox Series S is an unbeatable value. Paired with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription (and games like Forza Horizon 5 or Halo Infinite), the Series S will provide high-performance gameplay and entertainment for years to come.

All your favorite video and music apps are here, along with thousands of games, and the next era of first-party Xbox titles is only just beginning. This is a great way to enjoy favorites like Call of Duty: Warzone, Fortnite, GTA Online, and Minecraft.

Pros

  • 4K upscaling and video playback

  • Four generations of Xbox games

  • Compatible with next-gen titles

Cons

  • Doesn’t output in native 4K

Product image of Nintendo Switch Lite
Nintendo Switch Lite
  • Compatible with the vast majority of Switch games
  • Comes in violet, yellow, turquoise, and pink
  • 32 GB of internal storage
  • Lightweight design for maximum portability
  • Online multiplayer (Wi-Fi) and wireless system link

If you don’t need all the features of the OLED Model, you’ve got another great Nintendo option. Priced at $199 or less, the Nintendo Switch Lite is an elegant, all-in-one solution to the problem of wanting to play the latest Animal Crossing or indie-game sensation and not having a Switch.

It’s a gorgeous, sturdily made system that plays almost any game—the exception being that you can’t remove the controllers from the handheld configuration, so motion controls and other features are somewhat limited.

Otherwise, the other main compromises you’ll find are its somewhat smaller screen and lack of TV (“docked”) mode. And its battery may not hold up quite as long as the larger, standard OLED Switch. It’s available in a fun array of colors: turquoise, yellow, coral pink, indigo blue, gray.

You’ll find yourself wanting to play this all the time, wherever you go. It offers the same 32 GB of storage as the original Switch, expandable with any standard microSD card.

Pros

  • Incredible games catalog

  • Simple all-in-one design

Cons

  • Thumbstick drift is common

  • Pretty small screen

Meet the tester

Alex Kane

Alex Kane

Sr. Editor, Search & Updates

@alexjkane

Alex Kane is a senior editor at USA Today’s Reviewed and the author of the Boss Fight Books volume on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. He has written for Fangoria, PC Gamer, Polygon, Rolling Stone, StarWars.com, and Variety. He lives in west-central Illinois.

See all of Alex Kane's reviews

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