This past couple of weeks of information about next-generation consoles roared with a vengeance. We’ve heard more about the new Xbox, code name “Scarlet” with it opting not to have a camera system. Predominately, the Playstation 5 had new features discussed at Wired. These leaks and news information come with the idea of getting on the hype train to buy a new console during the launch window.
Don’t do it.
Look at the launch titles for the PlayStation 4, the Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. All of the launch titles were not strong enough to justify buying on launch for the majority of gamers. In the case of the Nintendo Switch, the imperative change came because Nintendo dropped support for the Wii U. This particular approach is actually the antithesis of the PlayStation 4, Xbox, and Nintendo’s other precedent, the 3DS.
One of the major arguments you will hear is backward compatibility. By getting the new Xbox or the PS5, you get a future proof console. These two assumptions work significantly backward, especially considering the circumstances of gaming.
First, it’s worth thinking about what a lot of gamers face: backlog games. Look at people’s Steam catalog, your console game catalog, or even their Humble Bundle catalog. There are multiple games that they haven’t finished yet. I emphasize the word finish because many times people drop it without conscientiously thinking why they want to drop it. A new console will not be the motivation to complete the games on the backlog. That can only happen with you willing yourself to do it.
Futureproofing your console doesn’t reward you at all. The older console that you have will still play games. That older console will reliably handle all the accessories you purchased for it. The emulation aspect of the next generation consoles is still questionable. A significant amount of games coming out within that window maybe remasters that you can get for cheaper as developers try to figure out the console. There are also pro-models that you can use to get extra juice off of last-gen without the risks stated above.
In fact, you’re rewarded more for waiting. The longer you wait, the better you rewarded with prices. Within the first year of the game console’s life, you may find a decent bundle or a bonus incentive like gift cards or online. Within the next 18 to 24 years of launch, you definitely see better bundles with games, special edition consoles, and sweeteners that make the purchase worth it.
So the question becomes, when does it become appropriate to get a next-gen console?
If you are platform-hopping from one particular consult to another, make the jump. We have to deal with the fact that game libraries (especially digital libraries) are locked to platforms. Since you’re already going to split away from your library, you face no penalty for jumping. Thus getting a new console is a clean jump, and you can still have fun while you wait.
Speaking of waiting, another small reason to jump to next-gen consoles is that you’re cool with waiting, like me. I am a graduate student who has a significantly limited schedule. I am willing to wait for 2 to 3 months if it means I know I can have it later for the times I can game. This approach seems not useful, but at least it comes to grips with life’s commitments.
The last, and arguably the most important reason: you just want to stunt and look cool. Like earlier with waiting, you don’t care about having something be a dust collector for six months. You’re cool with the thought of going through buggy experiences that may occur with the next-gen console. You just wanna show that you got the latest and greatest thing and that everybody else can’t touch. You will also probably have people thinking you’re petty, selfish, and a whole lot of other negative words. Vanity is only a fleeting moment for electronics. Don’t worry about it and have fun.
If you’re jumping because of utility, you’re going to have a bad time, but if you’re doing it for the sake of early adoptions, then jump on the SSS Next-Gen Hype!