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So you’re ready to buy one of the new-generation consoles from Microsoft or Sony (if you can find one), and your budget will also allow for a couple of titles to start. That’s all you need, right? Well, unless you want to play like it’s an Atari circa 1983, not really.
The folks over at Reviews.org did the math for us on the hidden costs that go into being a modern-day user of the new Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5. You can read the full report here. (Don’t get sticker shock if you do—those prices are Australian. The US dollars are below.)
These are base-price models of the consoles. You could spend closer to double the sticker price for a console right now, because availability is extremely limited. All the major retailers are sold out.
To determine gaming’s true cost, you need to take into account that almost everything is online and multiplayer these days. At a minimum, that’s $59.99 per year for the multiplayer option (Live Gold on Xbox or PlayStation Plus). You need a super-fast internet connection, which they estimate starts at $1,020 per year. You also need extra storage for games—1TB for the Xbox is $220, $230 for the PlayStation.
Finally, they factor in the TV. This is fudging it a bit—it’s not like owning a 4K TV is exclusive to gamers, after all. But that said, 4K does seem like a prerequisite for a decent view of the virtual playing fields. Factor in almost $1,400 minimum for a TV that does the job, and that’s probably on the cheap side.
Total it up, and you see that the console is just the tip of the iceberg, as depicted in below.
This doesn’t take into account extras like a new controller or a headset.
Suggested options for saving money: Get a digital-only console that doesn’t take discs to save a few bucks up front (which you’ll lose later buying more expensive digital-only game titles). Also, you can try the Game Pass Ultimate service for Xbox (which includes Live Gold) or PlayStation Now, both of which give you access to plenty of games for one price. Yeah, those aren’t really great options. So be prepared to back up your need to game with a second job to pay for it.
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