It’s that time of the year. Pumpkins are used for decorating porches, the turkey population will soon become scarce and shiny paper will tightly wrap boxes of super fun time presents and toys underneath an uprooted (or fake) tree in living rooms across the nation (insert other cultural or national holiday references here). As is the case every half-decade or so, that also means it’s time for new gaming consoles! What are being lauded as the greatest hunks of plastic to ever grace the game industry, otherwise known as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (referred to from here on out as the PS4 or XB1), are soon to be in the hands of consumers everywhere. I’m excited, you’re excited and most of all – the people that profit from their release are excited. Should your excitement really transfer to you paying money for it, the day it comes out, before you or anyone you know has really had a chance to discern if it’s worth hundreds of your hard-earned cash? I’m not so sure…
Read on for eight reasons why I don’t think you should buy the PS4 or XB1 at launch!
This is obvious and anyone with the mental capacity to read numbers knows this. The XB1 will cost you no less than $500 at launch and the PS4 no less than $400. That’s a LOT of money. Some people are even paying for BOTH at launch! Now, I love games just as much as anyone – click my name up at the top of this article or look at my Twitter, I write about, play, talk about and think about them pretty much at all times…but there needs to be a line. In order for me to drop anywhere from $400-$1,000 on something before I even really know if it’s worth it or not takes something pretty spectacular. Granted, they both look incredibly spectacular already, but let’s just call me a cautious optimist and know that I’m perfectly content with holding out a bit longer.
The differences between the PS4 and XB1 are not only minuscule, but are few and far between. At their original announcements, the XB1 really tried to differentiate itself – it really did – but they have since changed most policies and aligned more in line with “what gamers want”. Not to bash the general public or Microsoft in any way, but what we have now are two systems with their only real differences being the logo, name and company behind them. While this is a bit hyperbolic to claim, not even the software is looking to be overly diverse. They can both stream content, they both have robust social sharing features, even the PS Eye is looking to become more like the Kinect and the Xbox controller’s d-pad is even less different (albeit much better) this time around. Clearly they both want to capture the largest audience possible – but what’s the point of competition if you’re basically competing against yourself?
Just weeks ago, people were worried that the PS4 wouldn’t support game capture devices. To this day, many people in the regular public think the Kinect is not only going to spy on them, but steal their identity and become autonomous (okay not really). For those informed, we don’t really know how they perform at all. Will PSN finally download patches and install games faster? Will the downloading while playing work, or will it go at a fraction of the speed? How are the pack-in headsets after hours of use? Is the new Xbox d-pad better or is it just another webbed monstrosity in disguise? Does Shadow Fall’s multiplayer really keep you coming back for more? Will Killer Instinct be anything like the originals, or is it an entirely new franchise now? Until reviews and word from your friends start coming out, we don’t really know anything truly meaningful about the PS4 or XB1.
There are exceptions to this if you count Nintendo consoles pre-Wii U. Games like Super Mario World, Super Mario 64 and Twilight Princess were all incredible games, whether they were released at a console’s launch or on its death bed. But on the average, the launch lineup is usually underwhelming when compared to the eventual library of offerings even just a few months down the road. This means inevitable price drops (especially on the multiplatform games) and no real incentive to pick up the “big games” at launch. This upcoming generation is trying to fool you into upgrading to next-gen versions of current-gen games…but don’t take the bait. Games like Madden, Call of Duty, Battlefield and many others boast “next-gen” features when they drop next month, but we all know that isn’t really going to be the case.
Name your favorite franchises for either Sony or Microsoft. Sure, some of you might include Killzone or Forza, I’ll give you that. What about Gears? What about Uncharted? What about Halo? What about inFAMOUS? There is a long list of game’s that aren’t even thought about yet and won’t be revealed until next year’s E3 or maybe even the years after that. Also, if this past generation proved anything, if you wait for that big game that you’re dying to play (inFAMOUS: Second Son in my case) then there will surely be a bundle for you to purchase that probably includes some type of discount, not to mention a price drop may have already happened by that point. This is really a continuation of the last point – the best games are yet to come. It won’t kill you to wait, I promise.
If you went back in time to the 1990’s and complained about the SNES not being able to play NES games out of the box, people would think you’re insane for expecting it. Fast forward a couple decades and we’ve all kind of just expected it. The PS2 played PS1 games. The Xbox 360 played (most) Xbox games. The PS3 (some versions) played PS1 and PS2 games. The Wii played Gamecube games. Backwards compatibility as far as the eye can see! Granted, there are solutions for these issues, such as Gaiki streaming with the PS4, but we can’t trust something we have yet to see in action and have only heard about in theory. This isn’t a deal breaker, but just keep in mind you’ll probably want to keep your old system around even if you upgrade.
While it pains many to think about now, it has to be brought up. Let me know in the comments below: how many Xbox 360s or PS3s have you gone through in your time this generation? Red rings of death, yellow lights of death, overheating and so much more have become synonymous with the generation as a whole. As technology improves and engineers get even more creative with their builds, it means future complications are all but inevitable. How many people do you know that bought a 360 or PS3 at launch still have an original day-one launch console that operates flawlessly just as it did out of the box? I would be skepical, whether I was considering the purchase of a PS4 or XB1.
This is truly, far and away, the best reason to hold out a bit longer. Hell, a game that set new records and is sure to go down as one of the most popular and best-selling games of all-time (Grand Theft Auto V) just released! Beyond: Two Souls is even more recent with tons of huge games still to come. In fact, the large majority of the next-gen launch lineups are appearing on current-gen consoles as well. If you buy a PS4 or XB1 not only will you have very few games to play, there will be significantly fewer people to play with. There are millions of gamers on the platform you own right now – why give that up for something that isn’t even proven yet? How about instead of buying either next-gen console, you play your backlog and catch up on games you missed. Don’t lie to me and tell me that you’ve played everything you want, because that’s virtually impossible. Or, if you have, maybe you should expand your gaming interests and try something new.
I think PC gaming is better than console gaming 90% of the time. There, I said it. We have a nice piece running through some of the main reasons and I wrote a guide on how to get games for cheap. What more do you need? Yes, in order to get a PC with the same or better specs than the next-gen systems it will probably cost you upwards of $500 – but you’re paying for more than just a gaming and media device. With all of the extra versatility, increased power, upgradeability and cheaper games (not to mention huge amounts of free games like these and these) to play, there are few reasons to not just join the club! Also, check out the list of upcoming (or very recently released) PC exclusives between the four (including Wii U) current platform offerings. This doesn’t even include many free-to-play offerings! Hopefully you don’t break your mouse’s scroll wheel…
That concludes the list. I’ll be buying a next-gen console eventually, just not at launch. I’ll probably wait for the inevitable Second Son bundle and grab a PS4 once the dust settles, the first few patches are out and I can enjoy a more stable and robust experience. In the meantime, I’ve got plenty of great new games and forthcoming games to play, a PC to upgrade, a Vita to neglect and a backlog to feel ashamed of…
Let us know your thoughts down in the comments and feel free to point out even more reasons or, more than likely, tell me why I’m wrong! Thanks!