I'm aiming for this to be an advice thread for anyone yet to invest in the current console generation. I've had a quick search of the forum and I don't think there are any threads that would match this one, though I did find a few for the previous generation. I'm not much of a gamer, and so usually stay about half a generation behind the consoles. I've been undecided over the current generation in particular for quite some time, but inevitably I'm going to have to come to a decision… I've done a bit of reading around, but I'd prefer to hear people's own views, and there's only so much detail reviews go into. There's a few characteristics I'm wondering about, placed in rough order of concern. Any advice from those in-the-know would be most welcome ^^. Offline-ness I prefer to play mostly offline. The previous console generation has been pretty happy with sitting around offline. Are there any particular dependencies the current generation consoles have, regarding wanting to connect to the internet? Obviously some features will require internet connectivity, but do the consoles work offline okay? Licenses Somewhat related to offline-ness is the whole DRM issue. Back in the good old days, if I had a game disc/cartridge/e.t.c., I owned the game. I remember some speculation going around a while ago that XBox One was considering mostly or entirely download-only games. My problem with this is that I like to keep games long-term. I still have my Genesis from the 90s, for instance, and occasionally revisit the original version of Eternal Arcadia on the Dreamcast. With downloaded games, sometimes they require a “DRM check” before they can be run, connecting to some internet server to verify that the game is owned legitimately. The problem there is that the vendor can choose to withdraw this checking service at any time, and will do so inevitably, effectively locking out the game for good. There is also the problem of medium damage; what happens if the medium the game is stored on gets damaged, and the service hosting the game for download has since been withdrawn? With a traditional disc-based or cartridge-based game, even if that itself were somehow damaged, it would be a simple case of finding a replacement on Ebay. There's also the problem of moving DRM content across consoles in the event a console breaks, which usually requires some sort of online service, which itself will inevitably be discontinued at some point. Removable Storage The 360 had a removable hard drive. It's nice to have a separation between console and saved game data, as if the console breaks, all that hard-earned save data is still nice and safe. It need not be sent away with the console for any repairs either. I hear this has switched around now, though, with the PS4 having a removable drive unlike the XBox One? Also related to this is the ability to back up save data. I've had mixed success between both the 360 and the PS3 in backing up game saves to USB storage; some game saves were “not copyable” for some reason, on both consoles. Cross-Platform Releases Is the games industry shifting towards cross-platform nowadays, with platform-exclusive releases becoming more of a minority? I imagine the most popular release platform for games is going to be PC, such as via Steam. But what might be the most popular one for consoles? I always imagined Playstation as being the common first-choice for games vendors. I'm keen to avoid the situation where a great game is released, but isn't available on the platform I have, obviously discluding games that are deliberately platform-exclusive. Some of the recent previous-generation Metal Gear games, for instance, I think have been available on Playstation and PC, but not XBox. Then there's the question of platform-exclusive games, and how many of those there are likely to be for each of the consoles. I've been following the Halo series on the 360 for a while, which is obviously XBox-exclusive, but having seen Halo 5's story I think I can break away from it now, otherwise I'd likely be looking at an XBox One. DLC/Mod Restrictions I hear the consoles support Mods for some games? I've heard there was some trouble for Mod support with the PS4, specifically regarding Skyrim mods. Is this still the case? Has this spread or is it likely to spread to other games? Are there any other problems regarding DLC for the PS4? Noise The 360 was notoriously noisy when in operation. I was surprised at how silent the PS3 was in comparison. What's it like for the current generation? other, minor wonderings… Less concerned about these, but nonetheless interested… Do the consoles have an optical or coaxial port for audio? The PS3 had an optical port, and the 360 had one built into the AV plug. If not I'll need to buy some sort of adapter, hopefully not too pricey… Not that I used it much, but the PS3 had the PSN network, which was largely free to use. Most of the online gameplay on XBox 360 required a paid subscription to XBox Live. It was nice to occasionally play with people online, but it's just not something I used often enough to justify paying for it. Presumably the XBox Live and PSN networks are used to implement online-play for the current generation? Is PSN still largely free, and has XBox Live become “more free” in some way? Are standard definition video and audio connections available for the current generation consoles, composite/S-video/SCART/e.t.c.? I mainly ask this as I use those connections when I want to record gameplay, such as for YouTube upload, which I'm able to do inexpensively in standard definition, using a simple DVD recorder. I hear that the current generation consoles offer facilities for recording and uploading to YouTube, though… How do those facilities work? Are they there for both consoles? Are they available for all games? Still, it's nice to be able to record them manually, so that I can keep the recordings, and can make screenshots out of them too. The standard definition audio cables, usually the red and white RCA pins, are useful for ripping game audio too, which I sometimes do. As a more advanced question, do any European or PAL-region gamers have any knowledge of how the consoles handle PAL60 / “60Hz Mode” / “480i Mode” when placed in standard definition? Is it mandatory for most games, as it tends to be on the 360? I've heard whispers about some sort of game sharing functionality too, where someone can play your game remotely. Though presumably this would require PSN or XBox Live, and potentially cost? I hear the XBox is more powerful than the PS4, in contrast to the previous generation, where it was the opposite. Is this true? Is the difference noteworthy in gameplay? Though having asked, I'm not usually too fussed over performance and such. I've also heard an old rumor that the XBox One has a lengthy boot sequence when it starts, but I'm doubting this is true. How are the consoles for backward compatibility? I hear Sony are going for a one-generation-back policy, much like Nintendo seem to be doing. Other stuff? Are there any other important considerations I've missed? Things I may want to think about and look into before committing? I don't expect either one of the consoles will completely address all of my concerns, but I imagine one of them will be better suited than the other. I'm also a little curious to see what questions that others still in the deciding phase have. Any words of wisdom welcome, even if they only address one or two things ^^.