Oldies but goodies
But despite the marketing shift, the majority of gamers won't pick up either machine this holiday season -- and it could be several years before they do so.
And, frankly, that's just fine.
For the first time in several generations, there might be a stronger case to be made for maintaining the status quo than there is to being the first kid on the block with a shiny new toy. If you're on the fence about the next generation -- or don't have the money to upgrade this year -- here are five good reasons to not only stick with your current system(s), but be confident about doing so:
All the cool kids are there
Yeah, the folks on the bleeding edge will scoop up Xbox Ones and PS4s on launch day, but when they try to find friends to play with in Call of Duty or Battlefield, guess what they're going to have to do? Buy a current-generation version and play on their old machine.
The chief selling point for today's biggest shooters is their robust online communities. And with an installed base in the tens of millions, current-generation systems have that. At best, a few million PS4s and Xbox Ones will sell this year -- and that's going to make the number of opponents a lot scarcer than players of those games are used to.
Unlike the last generation, where Microsoft put a bullet in the Xbox and Sony quickly began downplaying the PS2, there's a viable business reason to keep the current-gen systems alive. The huge number of gamers still investing in franchises through downloadable content ensures that publishers will continue to support older systems, if only to keep their revenue streams uninterrupted. And those huge numbers means publishers will continue to release new games for those systems.
In short: New games won't disappear anytime soon for current-gen systems (well, maybe for the Wii -- but Nintendo's problems are a whole different matter). So if you can't afford a next gen console, it doesn't mean that you won't be able to play the industry's biggest games, with only a few exceptions.
Avoid early adopter fees
Microsoft and Sony can argue over the respective value of their new systems all they want, but both the PS4 and Xbox One are expensive pieces of tech. And the truth of the matter is that neither has an incredibly strong launch lineup.
Being an early adopter comes at a cost. You're often the guinea pig for systems, and sometimes (as with Microsoft's infamous Red Ring of Death), you pay a price for being so eager. Waiting a few months lets the companies shake out the bugs and can often result in lower prices for you.
In the case of the Xbox One, it might have a serious payoff, if you believe rumors that Microsoft is trying to find a partner to subsidize the cost of the new system.
Neither the Xbox One nor the PS4 will play current-generation games. That's an issue early adopters love to complain about, but they're so typically focused on experiencing new games on their new machines that it's not the big of an issue.
By avoiding the rush to get a new system, you don't have to worry about that. You can happily play the quality games in your collection until the new systems build up a library of must-have titles. Even better? You'll be able to get those must-have games at a lower price when you do decide to upgrade.
A chance to catch up
Perhaps because of the length of this console cycle, there has been an embarrassment of riches in the software market. Keeping up with all of the critical favorites is an enormously tall task, however.
By hanging on to your current generation console, you can do some backtracking and try out such all sorts of great, underappreciated games you might have missed the first time around, such as The Darkness, Enslaved, and Driver: San Francisco. (And when you do, be prepared to kick yourself for waiting so long to give them a shot.)
Added bonus? You can find them all available now for pennies on the dollar.
- Technology & Electronics