Why you Should Not Buy a Next Generation Console…Yet
Microsoft and Sony’s imminent entrance to the ninth console generation has taken a backseat for many in favor of the endless doom that is 2020. But with hype building for the next generation, many have opened their wallets to shell out hundreds of dollars to purchase the Playstation 5 or Xbox Series X. But maybe, we should not, at least not yet.
Of course, even if you wanted to purchase a new console, most retailers are sold out or will quickly sell out of online-only launch units. If you don’t manage to snag a console when should most think about purchasing an Xbox Series X or PS5? Should you wait a week, a month, a year? The specifics are up to you, but here are seven reasons to wait before deciding on which console to purchase.
Perhaps the most practical reason to buy later is the new console’s current prices. It is $500 for both of the disc drive models, $400 for the PS5 digital-only, and $300 for the Xbox Series S. Ignoring the Xbox Series S, which is already at a low price, these consoles will drop down into the $300 to $400 range, in all likelihood, two or three years after launch. There may even be a price cut of $20 to $50 at the end of 2021.
If the price is the only major concern, the Xbox Series S still seems like a good deal while shaving off $200 from the more powerful Xbox Series X. While reviews have been positive for the budget console, many reviewers are worried that it’s not future-proofed. It’s underpowered, with significantly lower RAM, less storage, and a weaker GPU and CPU.
There is no guarantee the Series S will perform well with all games throughout the generation. We have seen launch models of the current generation struggle to run late releases without significant compromises, and lower frame rates. Regardless, for those who are strapped for cash and want to stay on the cutting edge of consoles, it’s still the best deal.
If you plan on sitting out of the ninth generation for a while, it might make sense to not only wait for the price cut but the mid-generation upgrades as well. For around the same price as a launch console, you’ll likely get a much better package which will keep up with most of the more demanding games of the generation.
If tendencies of the eighth generation continue into the ninth, enhanced experiences for select releases will continue to roll out for premium pro consoles. It might be worth the time to play the best games of the ninth generation in a higher performance mode, for smoother frame rates and improved models and environments.
Not only will waiting a year save you money or provide you with a more powerful console, but it might just save you the hassle of a contentious machine. While the original Xbox 360’s nightmarish red ring of death is behind us, who is to say it won’t happen again?
We have seen this issue recently with the Nintendo Switch’s infamous joycon drift. This was reported last July and Nintendo has yet to release an updated controller. It seems the industry isn’t against putting out faulty products. At least given both the Xbox Series X and PS5 teardowns, it doesn’t appear that airflow will be too much of an issue. Dust removal being a much easier task with the PS5 than its predecessor. Although the complex nature of the adaptive triggers for DualShock 5 could cause trouble, especially for amateur trigger repairs.
Cross Generation Support
Like past generations, several small and large titles will continue to release on legacy hardware like the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. While these will be notable downgrades from their PC, PS5, and Xbox Series counterparts, they still offer a chance to play new games even as the eighth generation consoles phase-out.
We will see some of the major releases coming to both eighth and ninth-generation consoles include anticipated titles like Cyberpunk 2077, Assassins Creed Valhalla, and the recently released Watch Dogs Legion. Titles like Hitman III and Far Cry 6 are also releasing in the first couple of months of 2021. If this console generation is anything like past console generations, triple-A support for legacy consoles will continue to some degree through 2021 and possibly 2022. So there is no need to worry about missing out on tons of new games if you choose to wait.
A lack of new games may not be such a bad thing. Both eighth-generation systems have over 2,500 games, with more on the way. These official libraries are not even including the backwards compatible capabilities of the Xbox One, which can play Xbox 360 and original Xbox games. Even the PS4 has some support for Playstation 3 games which you can stream through the Playstation Now service.
So instead of rushing ahead to keep away the FOMO (fear of missing out), it might be worthwhile to slow down and enjoy the time to pick up some games you might not have tried. Or the interim year or two might push you out of your comfort zone and give you time to try out unfamiliar genres and experiences.
It is important to remember that you can play games more than once, something I have to remind myself when looking through new releases. You will benefit from playing a favorite title for a second or third play-through or as an opportunity to make new interpretations of a game and further explore elements overlooked in earlier playthroughs. I have spent much of October revisiting some of my favorites of the generation like Resident Evil 7 and Nier Automata.
Although physical backwards compatibility is available for the last console generation on both the Xbox Series X and the PS5 machines, this won’t stop the eventual clearance listings and significant price drops for many PS4 and Xbox One games. For physical collectors, this is a cause for celebration and a time to pick up missing games from collections on the cheap side.
But, just because both launch consoles are supporting backwards compatibility to differing degrees, that does not mean it will stay that way. Subsequent console revisions could remove backwards compatibility, as was the case with PS3, which lost it’s Playstation 2 backwards compatibility after launch. Like many others, I still hope that Sony might look into PS2 and Playstation 1 compatibility on the PS5. The dream of a machine that can do it all is very appealing, but it is not very likely as they have denied any attempt to do so.
Though many gamers have already chosen their side and plan on sticking with their console brand of choice, which console will turn out to be the one for you might be up in the air. Where Sony and Microsoft take their respective machines and services in the next couple of years is a future hanging over the industry. Regardless, depending on their success, it could have an impact on developer support for each console.
Will Sony’s continued focus on polished exclusives beat out Microsoft’s game pass and first-party multi-platform releases? It may take a couple of years to shake out. Though it doesn’t seem like either company is entering the ninth generation of consoles with a misconception of the market like Microsoft did with the Xbox one, a lot can go wrong in two years. In either case, until we know more about each console’s libraries and services, it might be worthwhile to see which approach works better and which is more appealing to you.
Whatever your hopes are for the next console generation, I urge interested buyers to wait before purchasing a new console. If you are struggling financially, as many currently are, know that you don’t need a new system, and it will be there for you when you are ready to move on or can comfortably afford it.
Are you convinced? Or have you already pre-ordered a new console or plan to buy one on launch day? Comment below on your ninth-generation console of choice and when you plan you picking one up.