Consoles just got complicated. Really complicated.
Three short years after Sony and Microsoft faced off with their next generation of black slabs, an avalanche of new machines are queuing up for a space under your telly.
Here we provide a simple guide to each machine, with some wise counsel as to which will suit your needs best.
The 'original' Xbox One
- Prices start at £199 - including a game
- Huge array of games, with backward compatibility for some old Xbox 360 games
- It's big, but it works
If you want to be part of the next generation of gaming for under £200, the 'chubby' Xbox One is the best choice. It doesn't offer HDR or 4K gaming, but if you haven't got a massive 4K TV, that doesn't make any difference.
If you're keen to play FIFA 17 (coming 29 September) without splashing loads of cash, this is your best bet.
PlayStation 4 (original or slim)
- £259 for the new slim model, with 500GB hard drive
- HDR visuals - for both the new slim model and 'original' model
- Better graphics performance than the Xbox One
There's a reason the PlayStation 4 has outsold the Xbox One in the last few years - it's a much better black box. The new slim model isn't more powerful, nor will it do anything the original PS4 can't do - both support improved HDR visuals (thanks to an update coming to the original PS4). If you can find a good deal on an original PS4, scoop it up. If you want a box that's 30 per cent smaller, but just as powerful, wait until 15 September for the new model to roll out.
Xbox One S
- 4K resolution (for new, compatible titles) and HDR visuals
- Can play 4K Blu-ray
- £249 for a 500GB model is seriously good value
This is the console the Xbox One always should have been: a small, powerful entertainment system with seriously decent graphics and a welcoming user interface. If you've got a 4K TV and want to make the most of it, get one of these.
PlayStation 4 Pro
- The most powerful games console ever made
- Arrives 10 November for £349
- HDR, 4K gaming, and gives the best experience of PSVR (arriving 13 October for £349)
If you've always preferred PlayStation over Xbox, the Pro is the way to go. No, it doesn't offer Blu-ray support, but as far as gaming goes, the Pro will produce the best looking gaming experience of 2016. As developers get used to the new power on offer, you can expect games to get seriously good looking. Yes, it's a lot more expensive than an Xbox One S, but if only the best will do, wait for this.
The Nintendo NX
- Both portable and home console
- Cartridge-based games
- Coming March 2016
Nintendo has never liked to follow the crowd - a trait that arguably harmed the company when the Wii U failed to impress the masses. Whispers would suggest the NX isn't following the 4K, HDR pattern of Sony and Microsoft, with Nintendo opting for a portable console with handheld functions. If they repeat the magic of the Wii and create something for 'casual' gamers the world over, we might not care about photo-realistic graphics.
Xbox Project Scorpio
- Insanely powerful specs
- Six teraflops of graphics power - which is loads
- VR ready
Microsoft raised many eyebrows at this year's E3 event with the announcement of a console we wouldn't see until late 2017. It didn't have a box, it didn't have a price, it didn't even have a proper name. Project Scorpio will fit into the Xbox One line up, but it's not altogether clear how developers will make games for it; while all existing Xbox One games will work on Scorpio, not all Scorpio titles will work on the Xbox One or One S.
We can expect incredible graphics. We can expect VR games (though again, we don't know who will be making the goggles - perhaps Oculus?). We can expect a massive price tag. If you're serious about gaming, you'll want to start saving for this one now. Or maybe just save yourself the time and build your own powerful gaming PC?