I have played video games my whole life. It all started with a Commodore 64 when I was just 3 years old, when my parents saw my love of games and fueled my ambitions. So here we are in the new year (2014) and 8th generation consoles are available: Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita. They are exciting. They are elegant. They are impressive. But are they worth getting them as soon as they come out?
I’m not going to argue with those who want to get them on Launch Day, but recent PS4 and Xbox One releases made me start to believe that it would be best to wait until the next next-gen consoles come out before buying THESE. next generation consoles. Reasons? I have some.
The first is obvious: the price. While it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to get one, the price isn’t exactly cheap. I remember paying $ 500 (less tax) for an early PS3. They were big and bulky, but that meant they had super powers! It was fun and great to have one, but it didn’t feel more than a year later that they were thinner and cheaper. If I had waited a year I could have had one for $ 200 cheaper. Now, it’s not a big deal to some people, but in hindsight I could do a few things with that $ 200. Most likely I would have lost it betting on long shots on the court, but still, I missed adding another memory! to my life! It may not sound like a big deal, but these reasons quickly start to snowball.
As the following reason: options for games. When you buy a next-gen console on or near launch day, you don’t have many titles to choose from. And I certainly can’t think of any breakthrough games that came out specifically for that system on launch day. Take the Wii, for example. When it came out, you were able to play The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess from the beginning. But what is the difference between the GameCube game and the Wii game? You have to balance and point your remote at the Wii and the maps were completely opposite. That is all. The graphics were the same, the enemies were the same, Link yelled when he brandished his sword was the same. The reason? The game was originally created for the GameCube. When the Wii came out, they only added two weak features and that was it. You could argue that it was still cool, but when Skyward Sword came out, you could see the Wii’s capabilities come out in full force. Twilight Princess seemed like child’s play in terms of maximizing Wii controls (the game itself really kicks butt and rivals Ocarina of Time & A Link to the Past in terms of the best Zelda games in my opinion).
Well, let’s get back to the topic. This is just one of many examples of the types of games coming out on launch day. They are mostly games that are ports of the latest generation of systems or games that have not maximized the capabilities of the new system. And you don’t have that many to choose from. And as you know, video games can sometimes cost a dime a dozen and finding gems can take time. You usually have to wait months for a good selection of games to come out and wait even longer to have a good collection of top-tier games to choose from.
Going back to when Wii came out, I was excited about Metroid Prime 3, but after that, what were my options? Little. After a while, I stopped searching and focused only on the names that I recognized (Super Mario, Donkey Kong, Final Fantasy, Metroid, Zelda, etc.). About 2 weeks ago I reviewed the titles for the Wii system only and couldn’t believe the bunch of games I missed! Now it’s my fault I didn’t pay more attention, but it shows how much first impressions can produce.
Now let me ask you, are you better playing games the first time or the second time? How about the third time? I already know the answer, the more you play, the better you become. This applies to almost everything in life. So why are we expecting such perfection on launch day? There were many reports that PS4 and Xbox One are not working out of the box. In terms of percentages it is low, you are going to have problems. But what if you have a problem? Ask everyone who got PS4 on launch day and it didn’t work. They had to call Sony, be put on hold because so many others are calling on launch day with “issues” like not having the tech savvy to sync their controller with their console. They then had to spend an hour going through all the possible ways to get the PS4 to work. When it doesn’t work, they had to wait for Sony to send them a box to repair or buy a new one, which could take weeks. It was a hassle. So while you likely have a good system, this is still a possibility. To me, it seems like it’s best to wait while the console makers figure out how to get the factory console into their hands with the least amount of hassle possible.
Last but not least, as technology improves, so does the console. But now you have to pay more, instead of getting it in upgraded packages. PlayStation 3 came out with Move. Xbox 360 came out with Kinect. The Wii came out with Motion Plus Controllers. The Nintendo DS came out with a bigger screen, 2 cameras, and an online store. The PSP came out with more storage capacity and a microphone. Some things could be added, others had to buy a new system. The point is, if you had waited, you wouldn’t have had to spend all that money to get all the cool features. Instead, I just donated tons of money to Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony while salivating and crying about all the new features that I can’t have unless I want to spend more money.
The bottom line is this: for me, it’s better to wait than to buy right away. If I wait for a generation to run its course, I will have a ton of great games to play, I can get consoles with the best features, I can get games and consoles at great prices, for me it is win-win-win. I’m not going to argue with those who want to be at the forefront, but for me that time has passed. I’ve spent too much money being on the cutting edge only to see today’s technology bypassed in the blink of an eye. I agree to let new technology develop over time, at which point I can enjoy it at a more affordable cost.
In the meantime, let’s enjoy the great games that I, and possibly you, missed out on during the seventh generation of consoles! Don’t hesitate to come for a ride!