This is my absolute favorite time of the console cycle: the time when everyone is talking about next-generation systems, but before anyone actually has them. This sweet spot means that lots of people have very strong opinions, but no solid hands-on facts to back them up – a magical combination that gives rise to countless online arguments.
If you get caught up in one of these “debates” (or if you actively seek them out like I do), you need the right syllogistic skills to score a win and leave your opponents humiliated and incorrect. All of these arguments basically go the exact same way when handled properly, so I’ve assembled the following responses that will help guide you to a decisive victory and all the internet accolades that entails.
Step 1: “lol stupid [Microsoft/Sony] fan”
Imagine that you are just minding your own business online when you see a post/tweet/comment that is complimentary (or at least optimistic) regarding the console you have decided to hate. You obviously can’t just allow that person to have their own opinion, so you need to engage and educate them. That’s where this phrase comes in handy; it is a perfect opening salvo, because it discredits your opponent without taking issue with any one specific statement or point. It’s a fire-and-forget insult that practically begs for a response – and that’s when the discussion really gets going.
Step 2: “[Microsoft/Sony] only cares about money.”
Okay, now that you have your foe on the hook, how do you keep them agitated enough to keep responding, but exasperated enough that they don’t really think things through? You make it about money and loyalty. That’s what this response is for; it establishes the console manufacturer you hate is driven solely by the cynical pursuit of wealth. But beyond that, it also implies your own superiority. It says “The company I support cares about me as a person, but the company you support treats you like an ATM. And you are a sucker because of it.” This argument is full of holes, but don’t worry: We won’t be dwelling on it long enough to matter.
Step 3: “It is ugly.”
Regardless of how your opponent responds, your best move is to shift focus away from objective facts (like the idea that all companies need money to continue operating) to something more subjective. You need something that can’t be disproven – a grenade that you can just pull the pin from and put your hands up. That’s why your next move is making fun of the enemy console’s appearance. If you say it looks bad, no one can tell you you’re wrong; it’s just an opinion! In the case of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, this is an especially easy statement to make, because both of them are actually pretty ugly. Think I’m wrong? Prove it.
Step 4A: “But it won’t play my old PlayStation 1/2/3 games.” (Xbox defenders only)
If you are on Microsoft’s side instead of Sony’s, you want a good PlayStation 5 dig instead. Backwards compatibility – specifically with older generations of hardware – is the perfect choice here for two reasons. First, it’s something that Xbox Series X/S handles better than PlayStation 5. Second, it’s a feature that people have very strong feelings about, even if they never use it. Will anyone ever dig out their old PlayStation copy of Vandal Hearts and play it? No, of course not. But you need to project the illusion that being able to do that is the most important thing in the world. Also, if needed, remember to emphasize that if Sony didn’t want backwards compatibility to be such a big deal during generational transitions, maybe it shouldn’t have popularized the concept with the PlayStation 2.
Step 4B: “Game Pass only exists because no one will pay full price for Microsoft games.” (PS5 defenders only)
Okay, here’s where the path splits a little. If you are defending Sony and PlayStation 5, then you need to get in at least one good Xbox-specific dig. Game Pass is like a gift from the heavens in that sense, since it makes zero sense from a business perspective. It’s like Microsoft is saying, “We know it’s asking a lot to pay $60 or $70 for our games, but if we let you play a hundred of them, will you please just give us a little money?” It just looks pathetic and desperate, so hit that hard at this point in your argument.
Step 5: “Just buy a PC.”
You just derided a specific feature of either the PS5 or Xbox Series X/S, so where do you go from here? Your opponent will likely retaliate with the PS5/Xbox defense above that you didn’t use. Ha! That’s funny, because you’re about to reveal the big twist: You aren’t actually arguing about consoles at all. So far, these responses haven’t been about building up your favorite console; they’ve been about tearing down your hated console. Now, this response pulls back the curtain on your true allegiance. Surprise! Your support for PC over either next-gen console is the prestige moment, showcasing your own discerning intelligence and egalitarian principles that put you above the murk of such petty things as “console wars.”
Step 6: “Grow up, loser. There are more important things in this world than video games.” (Checkmate)
At this point, your opponent is weary, and this is the critical final blow. You’ve strung this poor internet stranger along for several exchanges, but now you have other important things to do with your cool life. You are an adult with perspective and wisdom, and you don’t have time to spend all day online like a nerd. That’s why you pull this dismissive ripcord, which clearly signals that you consider the matter closed. Furthermore, it says that you don’t even care, you never cared, and your opponent is the dumb one for investing all of this time and effort anyway. Congratulations! You won! At this point, all you need to do is go back to the beginning and start the rewarding process all over again.
In case of emergency:
If you get confused and blow it and somehow find any of these responses being used against you in an argument, there is still one guaranteed way to come out on top: Block, mute, and go on with your life.