The next two weeks are what equates to the Super Bowl in the video game industry.
Both Sony and Microsoft have brand new video game consoles launching this fall, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. People are lining up for the new PS4, which launches November 15. Microsoft has a bunch of sharks guarding the first Xbox One to be sold on November 22. Glitzy commercials are running during Sunday football games. Fanboys are arguing over which console is better.
Don’t buy either of them.
For those who have been following the video game industry for the last few generations of console launches, this will sound like a familiar story. But I’ll tell it anyway.
Every time a new video game console comes out, it launches with a handful of games designed to take advantage of the device’s whiz-bang features like improved graphics. With very few exceptions (see: “Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess” for the original Nintendo Wii in 2006 and “Super Mario 64” for the Nintendo 64 in 1996), those launch titles have been pretty bad. And so far it sounds like history is repeating itself with the newest generation of consoles.
The first round of reviews for the PlayStation 4 are out. The consensus? It’s a great console, but the games aren’t that great. And since the PS4 can’t play your older PS3 or PS2 games, you’re going to be stuck with a console that can only run games you probably don’t want to play anyway.
The Xbox One reviews aren’t out yet, but I guarantee the story will be the same once they do. Great hardware. Interesting new features. Bad games. Wait a few years for developers to make some blockbuster titles before you buy.
Plus, some of the new games launching on the PS4 and Xbox One, including guaranteed mega-hits like “Call of Duty: Ghosts,” will be available on the current generation of consoles like the Xbox 360 and PS3, giving you even less of reason to spend $US400 or $US500 on one of the new consoles.
Before all the PlayStation and Xbox fans pounce on me, I’m not saying the new consoles are bad devices. If you’re serious about gaming and want to be on the cutting edge, stop reading now and go stand in line for your new console.
But for most people, buying either the PS4 or Xbox One this year would be like buying a car without any gas. What good is a video game console if it doesn’t have any games you want to play? In the meantime, developers will make new titles for the PS3 and Xbox 360 since each of those consoles will continue to have tens of millions of players who haven’t upgraded yet. You won’t be missing out.
And finally, there’s pricing. With video game console sales declining year over year, I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft, Sony, or both decided to drop the price of their new systems next year. Critics have already blasted Microsoft for pricing the Xbox One $US100 more than the PS4, and unless Microsoft sells a more-than-significant amount of new Xboxes over the next several months, don’t be shocked if the price comes down a bit by Christmas 2014.
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