In less than a month, the next generation of video game consoles will be upon us. On November 22, the Xbox One will officially launch in Australia, followed by the PlayStation 4 on November 27. Doubtlessly you’ve already spent plenty of time deciding which console is best for you — but have you considered holding off altogether? Here are five reasons why you’re probably better off waiting at least a year.
#5 Launch pricing is for suckers
Since the 16-bit era, every console generation has followed the same pricing strategy — start at a premium to fleece the hardcore fans, then introduce a succession of price cuts to bring more consumers into the fold.
With no exclusive launch games to write home about (see below) there’s really no compelling argument for rushing out and buying these consoles on day one. Hold off until the post-Christmas period and you may be able to shave a hundred dollars off the price. At the very least, you can expect a more compelling games bundle to appear in the months to come. Hold your horses and save!
#4 The ‘multi-platform’ effect
The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have some interesting exclusives — you can read our thoughts on a handful of launch titles here and here. However, most next-gen games are being co-developed on both new and old consoles. From Watch Dogs to Metal Gear Solid V and Halo: Spartan Assault, many of the most hotly-anticipated next-gen titles will also be appearing on your current system (albeit in a less visually impressive form.)
We suspect it will be many, many months before this situation changes. The fact is, publishers like to turn as much profit as possible, and there are still plenty of Xbox 360 and PS3 owners clamouring for new games. You need to ask yourself; is it really worth investing in a new console for what mainly amounts to the same titles with a slicker paint job?
Our advice is to hold off until the next-gen install base has grown — this is when we’ll really start to see what next-gen consoles are capable of. Until then, the old guard will continue to hold back their potential.
#3 Where’s the technological “carrot”?
The Xbox and PlayStation 2 came with an inbuilt DVD player, which was a massive incentive to buy. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 ushered in HD gaming and movies, which were a must for anyone who had just upgraded their TV set. These acted as irresistible carrots that enticed hundreds of thousands of consumers to pony up the cash and take a bite.
We’re not sure what killer hardware app these new consoles bring to the table. We’re sure you’ll agree that Kinect 2.0 doesn’t really count. We suppose an argument could be made for 4K content but that wont be entering the mainstream for years, which is just one more reason to wait a while longer.
#2 If it ain’t broke…
The past few months has seen the release of Grand Theft Auto V, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag, Batman Arkham Origins and Battlefield 4. All these games manage to push current-gen hardware further than ever before, proving beyond doubt that there’s still plenty of life in these old dogs. Microsoft has gone on record saying it will continue to support the Xbox 360 until at least 2016 and Sony has a solid track record of sticking by old console owners.
As mentioned above, a large number of next-gen games will also be landing on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. There’s a wealth of entertainment still awaiting those who stick around. The old adage “be content with what you have” has never been more relevant.
#1 Fence-sitters prosper
Jumping on board at the beginning of a console’s journey might give you bragging rights — but it also increases the risk of crashing and burning. While it’s highly unlikely that either the PS4 or Xbox One will be total flops, there’s still an outside chance that one of these consoles could be a sales disappointment, leading to less third-party support and a shorter lifespan. Just look at what’s happening to Nintendo at the moment, and it was the clear-cut winner of the previous console generation. Just like with Blu-ray/HD-DVD, it’s prudent to wait and see.
Lifehacker’s weekly Streaming column looks at how technology is keeping us entertained.