Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Top 5 Reasons to Wait on Getting a Next-Gen Console (at least a little bit, anyway)

By Andrew Braid

 

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Well, it's the dawn of a new age in the gaming world, as Sony and Microsoft launch their brand new next-generation consoles, meaning that the eighth generation of consoles kickstarted by Nintendo last year with the Wii U is truly in full swing. The PlayStation 4 (having launched this past Friday) and the Xbox One (launching this Friday on November 22) are set to make major splashes in some shape or form, inevitably set to have a huge impact on the gaming industry's future. But hey, maybe you're just not sold yet on your two new potential suitors, and you don't want to rush into things before you find out you've made a mistake and end up stuck in a frustrating, unsatisfactory relationship (for example, would you prefer your significant console other to keep insisting on sharing about yourself with others, or to keep finding that kind of privy information for itself?) Regardless of why the PS4 and/or Xbox One haven't gotten you in line already, here's 5 reasons why a little more patience to wait it out might be a good idea...

 

#5.- The launch price will inevitably go down (that or new, better bundles will pop up later)

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The PS4 is currently selling for $400, just the console and a controller. The Xbox One is starting at a $500 price point, and comes bundled with the Kinect 2.0 (because Microsoft cannot allow themselves to admit that the first one was a piece of crap internet punchline). While it's likely that neither is going to start as disastrously as the PS3 did all the way in 2006 when it launched with a dangerously pricey $600, that's still a good deal of money we're talking about for a console, and just the console. Even the Wii U was deemed by many as too pricey when it launched last November to a $350 price for the Deluxe Set (because what Basic Set?). Even bundled with the underrated Nintendo Land, many were put off. Sales have started improving recently thanks namely to a price drop (to $300) and cooler, more appealing bundles with either The Wind Waker HD or New Super Mario Bros. U, which not surprisingly has left more than a few early adopters feeling annoyed. And we all know that the same is going to happen with the PS4 and Xbox One. Hell, I've already heard rumblings of an Infamous: Second Son bundle for the PS4, and that wouldn't even be six months away. So for those whose wallets need a break, don't feel too guilty. You'll undoubtedly get rewarded later.

#4.-  There's tons of great games available to catch up on with your current-gen console, and still some more to come

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And these aren't even close to the best examples... well okay, Uncharted totally is.

How much have you been using your current console lately? Really, think about it. Think of all the memories you have with it, some less stellar but (hopefully) many others good. Now think of all those games that are still out now, ones you have yet to really experience, ones you've either been meaning to play for some time, ones you've been intrigued by but haven't really decided to try out just yet. Personally I've amassed quite a few PS3 games in the past year or so, some of which I've barely even played, if at all (blame PS Plus for that). And there's certainly a good handful of older games I've meant to try on the system- the new GTA, Heavy Rain, Far Cry 3, Mirror's Edge, and who even knows how many great downloadable games, to name a few. If you're like me at all, then you'd agree that it seems like a goodIf this is truly going to be goodbye to your current gen console, wouldn't you want to ensure a better sense of closure? You know, so when you dump it for its younger, hipper, more attractive sibling, you feel less guilty about it?
...Though you can still secretly hook up again later when all those new late-life RPGs come out (Tales of Symphonia Chronicles HD, Kingdom Hearts 2 HD Remix, the new Persona game). Come on, you know you're going to.


#3.- Early launch issues will be out there (and are already happening), just like last time

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When your console dies, it sees... The Ring.

Launches are rough, there's simply no way around that. If you want proof, just look back to any big online-driven game that made its big debut with major server issues, crashes and setbacks. Diablo 3, Sim City, and GTA Online all suffered major early launch issues just in recent times, despite the full might of the biggest gaming studios working today running the joints. So yeah, launches are rough. But if your issues are sparking memes and parody videos in a matter of days, you know it's not going well.
From the Xbox 360's infamous Red Ring of Death to the recent Blue Light of Death greeting a few early PS4 buyers, it's abundantly clear that the current product could still use a few tweaks and fixes. If it's new on the shelf, it seems bound to have some issues to work out- even just last year the Wii U was put on notice for its slow loading times for updates and downloads, an issue which has been given a fix by Nintendo a few months later, with considerably (if not entirely) satisfactory results. If you really want that shiny new box to live up to its expectations once it's all unwrapped and set up, then you may want to give the developers some post-launch time to work out any hiccups, all the better to work towards those good first impressions that, while not vital or definitive, certainly can't hurt. Just because the developer says it's ready doesn't mean it's ready.

#2.- Launch titles are probably lacking, as developers still need time to figure out how to take full advantage of the system capabilities

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"Meh" has never looked so good.

So yeah, the PS4 launch library isn't all that stellar, if reviews are to be believed. And Xbox One's launch titles, while having one or two more solid exclusives at their disposal, don't seem to be shaping up a whole lot better. Sadly, the old days of instant classics launching with a system right out of the gate appear to be over- games like Super Mario World, Super Mario 64, the original Halo. Mostly we get a lot of glorified tech demos, good-not-great new installments of second-tier franchises, ports of games already released on other systems, and interesting-yet-flawed experiments. This all boils down to two simple factors: a rush to put out the game in time for launch, and a lack of experience with the new hardware (Ubisoft readily admitted to these when it came time to explain what the hell happened with Red Steel on the Wii). So launch games end up in an unfortunate position of having to be the lab rats, the test subjects whose mistakes and stumbles are for the sake of paving the way for later games to resolve those faults, becoming the true defining games of the system. Heck, the last real "classic" launch game would (arguably) have to be Wii Sports. Say what you will about the game, but it was damn revolutionary when it was released, and proved the perfect showcase for what the Nintendo Wii was capable of while being a memorable game in its own right. No wonder third-party support was so weak for the system: Nintendo was the only one who really knew how to take full advantage of the hardware, and wasn't willing to share (a lesson they're beginning to learn from).

#1.- The really good "system sellers" and "killer apps" are coming out later anyway

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Infamous: Second Son. The newly announced Uncharted game. The new Halo. Titanfall. Kingdom Hearts 3. Destiny. Dragon Age III: Inquisition. Watch Dogs. Metal Gear Solid V.
These are just some of many enticing games to come in the next generation of gaming.
Too bad none of them are out yet.
I guess what I'm trying to (rather bluntly) ask is this: why rush to get a new console if there isn't really much of anything out yet that you not only want to play, but absolutely feel you have to play? It simply seems unnecessary to go through all the trouble of waiting in lines, making pre-orders, or pushing your perfectly good current consoles out to the curb if your must-have games for the system aren't even coming for several months (that is if they're even set for 2014 at all).

Honorable Mention: Wait a little while, and the PlayStation/Xbox flame wars will likely calm down... somewhat, at least

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Right on, whatever the hell your name is (look, I haven't played Fallout, okay?)

I mean it's got to, right? I mean, it's not like it will ever really go away anytime soon, but things have been heightened to such extremes in recent months that South Park felt the need to satirize it (and as we all know, that's the ultimate sign nowadays of a major cultural hot topic). But once the systems have already been out for a couple of months, and the Christmas/Boxing Week storm has calmed, hopefully the flames of inane comments will cool to the normal levels of desperate justification and unwavering brand loyalty.
...Please? Come on, for once I'd really love to impulsively scroll through an IGN comments page that isn't littered with debates about which system's graphics are better (PS4), which selection of exclusives is stronger (PS4), or which one is the "true gamer's" system (PS4).
...Damn it, I'm not helping, am I?