October 26 2013 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
Are you excited for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One? I wouldn't blame you if you are. While many gamers might be starting to be happy with their Wii U or are still happily engaged with their Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, there is no secret that new hardware releases can get people excited. We recently got the iPhone 5s and 5c, Apple's annual phone release, and per usual new hardware and toys get potential buyers excited. It's especially notable with new console generations because they only come these days about once every seven to eight years. I would be kidding myself if I said I wouldn't love to have a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One proudly sitting under my TV next month. I was certainly proud of my Wii U launch console when I bought it day one.
However, unlike new versions of phones that can draw upon old features and applications to be instantly relevant while they wait for people to actually take advantage of their capabilities, new gaming consoles are generally not so cut and dry. While fans of either console next month spend time bickering about launch lineup, features, price point, and 1080p versus 720p... I am here to tell you why you should be putting off your "next-gen" console purchases until a later date.
5. Lack of Worthwhile Games
For many, this would be their #1 reason to not buy a next-gen console just yet. Ultimately, games are why we buy consoles to begin with, right? I could spend time arguing with you that I feel the Xbox One has the superior launch lineup, but reality is that neither lineup is really that impressive. Especially when you consider the biggest games of the year are also going to be chugging along like usual on your Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. In fact, if game lineups are the only thing you care about I could seriously argue that the Wii U is your only console choice this holiday. It already has several established games that are not only great experiences, but combined provide a much deeper lineup currently. ZombiU, Lego City, The Wonderful 101, Pikmin 3, Sonic Lost World, Super Mario 3D World, Rayman Legends—that lineup already trumps the other two consoles.
Still, this isn't about the Wii U: fact remains the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 lack any must-own software until some point next year. Why buy now when you can better spend your money elsewhere?
4. Missing Features
The PlayStation 4 won't have low power standby mode or streaming games out the gate. Neither will support third party USB headsets at launch. Sony has been purposely avoiding talking about and showing off the video capture capability. Fact remains that what we know is likely only the tip of iceberg. When we plop down $400 to $600 for a new console we should realistically expect to have all the same features as someone spending the same amount next year would, right? We all know new features come all the time, but they've already mentioned several really slick features during the console reveals...but many of them won't be there at launch. This is starting to sound like the Wii U all over again: a lot of great ideas, but they aren't available at launch. Meaning? Empty promises to drive day one sales and a console releasing before it's truly ready.
3. Unknown Performance Differences
We've certainly seen some rather impressive gameplay which, supposedly, is on Next-Gen hardware, but we haven't seen just how big of a difference these games really are when compared to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of similar games. Just how much better looking is Ryse over PlayStation 3 game The Last of Us? Do we even know if the Xbox One can support full 1080p with 60fps at launch? Do we know if PlayStation 4 games are actually going to look markedly better than PlayStation 3 games? We assume many things, but until the games are in our hands we have nothing to judge upon.
Fact is, most launch games don't end up being that impressive to begin with, and there are usually several performance issues as developers wrap their minds around the new technology. The eSRAM may be great, but it may be a year or two before anyone learns how to take advantage of it. Avoid the inconsistencies, buy later.
2. Money and Trust
These consoles are pricey. Maybe not $599 PlayStation 3 pricey, but still relatively expensive pieces of hardware. It's a pretty big investment for many gamers to make, let alone to make blindly, without knowing what the future holds. Most presume that the PlayStation 4 is going to have the superior game lineup overall, but can we really judge future games off prior success? THQ and Capcom used to have fantastic resumes as well; now one has their door closed, and the other is struggling to stay relevant with their own fanbase. The Xbox One may have the superior launch lineup, but can we trust them when they say they are committed to first and second party software? Will Project Spark end up being as fantastic as the reveal made it out to be?
Reality is that buying a video game console is like making an investment, except the investment is into your future entertainment needs rather than into making a tangible profit. Why make a blind guess about your future when you can wait and see how it pans out? You don't have to be that guy that waits five years to do anything and then buys a cheaper backlog of great games, but you can at least wait until great software hits, reviews roll in, and there is a definite bevy of great titles on the horizon. Right now it's a lot of promises with no actual results from both sides. That, and since third parties aren't even relying on these consoles to stay afloat, you can still enjoy a lot of great content on your current system for years to come. Why rush it?
1. Avoid Launch Console Problems
You remember the Red Ring of Death, right? How about the day-long day one update for the Wii U, and how trying to stop it bricked your system? What about the sluggish UI the PlayStation 3 launched with out the gate? How about people's launch Wii U console which still may be randomly freezing? What if the "cloud" crashes out the gate and half the content available vanishes? Maybe the controls stop holding a charge or the HDMI ports get loose and go bad after only a few weeks. Fact is that despite the numerous tests consoles go through before being released, there are always a lot of unforeseen problems because the console hasn't been available on wide scale and properly tested in the average home environment. What if all the venting on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One still isn't enough if the consoles are placed on standard TV stand shelving with other devices (cable box, etc)?
I can't tell you what the problems are going to be at launch, but I can tell you that problems are going to exist, as they have with every console at launch since the dawn of requiring that we plug our systems into the internet. Smart buyers are going to let early adopters deal with these issues and step in and buy their console after Sony and Microsoft have fixed them, which should be some point next year.
It's easy to say I am being hypocritical in presenting these reasons. I bought a 3DS, Wii U, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and likely an Xbox One at launch. I went through all the hardships with several regrets. I'll be going through it with the Xbox One yet again and probably regretting the purchase within a week. However, you don't have to be me. I exist to make the mistakes so you don't have to. I buy launch consoles to warn people about what they are getting. Don't be me. Let me do my job and inform you when the right time is to dive into the next generation. When it's safe. If you really must have something new this holiday for hardware, do yourself a favor and buy a Wii U. They don't brick anymore; the UI is a lot faster; the eShop, TVii, and online work well; and most importantly it has enough software to satisfy you until some point next year. It's also cheaper, and not every game costs $60. Go figure.
Wait until next year folks. It's just the smart thing to do.