Although a great many of you aren’t gamers, I’m certain every one of you has at least heard a bit of buzz by now, talk of how the next generation of gaming has finally arrived.
A few weeks ago, after several months of build-up and hype, both Sony and Microsoft launched their next-gen consoles, amidst torrents of excitement and acclaim. The Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 are the next level in console gaming; the hardware in each system represents a huge leap forward in processing power and graphical capacity. Even better, both Microsoft and Sony have some very exciting plans for their players, plans which include streaming, multimedia capacity social connectivity, and even digital games sharing.
There’s a catch, naturally.
I don’t doubt that many of you have your eyes on one of the two new consoles. If you don’t, you probably know someone who does. I’ll be blunt…
Save yourself the expenditure. As they are now, neither system is really worth your time. There are a few reasons for this.
There Really Aren’t Any Games Worth Buying Yet
To put it lightly, the current line-up of games for both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 is rather abysmal. Those few next-gen titles that do exist are mostly mediocre. Ryse: Son of Rome has received reviews that can be described as lukewarm, at best. The Fighter Within is pure, digital garbage. Knack is entertaining, but too short to justify a purchase of several hundred dollars. Need for Speed Rivals is promising, but ultimately falls short of being a system seller; Dead Rising 3 is in the same boat.
Every other game available on either console can be played on current-gen systems (or better yet, on PC). In short, regardless of whether you go with Sony or Microsoft…you’re not going to have that many games you can actually play.
The Previous Generation Is Still Supported
It’s not as though there’s any real rush to go next-gen, anyway. Both Microsoft and Sony have made it clear that their older-generation consoles have at least a few years left in both of them, yet. Truth be told, the current generation’s line-up currently blows that of the two ‘superior’ systems clear out of the water, and neither the Xbox 360 nor the PS3 is really that far behind its next-gen kin (more on that in a moment).
Launch Consoles Tend To Have More Issues
The hardware in both next-gen offerings is incredibly complex, so it’s not surprising that, at launch, we’re going to see more issues than we will later down the line. It’s a risk every early-adopter takes: neither studio has had the chance to iron out all the kinks with their new systems, and as a result, those first in line to purchase them run the risk of encountering a whole host of errors which could be more or less nonexistent a few months down the line. We’ve already seen a few issue surfacing with launch-day systems: many Xbox Ones have shipped with broken disc drives, while a number of PlayStation 4’s have encountered an issue which we’ve begun to refer to as the dreaded “blue light of death.”
Unless you’re willing to run the risk of having an overly-expensive paperweight instead of a top-of-the-line video game console, you’re probably better off waiting.
The Developers Haven’t Quite Figured Out What They’re Doing
When the Nintendo Wii U launched, it was, for lack of better terms, horrendously boring. The hardware felt gimmicky and pointless, the line-up of games was boring and somewhat uninspired (with only a few noteworthy exceptions) and scores of developers opted to abandon the system in light of poor sales and high risk. Now, a few years later, the Wii U is finally hitting its stride, with a bevy of incredible first-party exclusives and a number of third-party and independent developers willing to create titles for it.
It’s a familiar song-and-dance for anyone who’s ever seen a console launch, and it happened with both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, to a lesser degree. With any new console, it takes a while for the developers to hit their stride. They need to get used to unfamiliar hardware and software. They need to explore the limits of what they can do with new peripherals. Basically, they need to test the waters before they’re ready to dive in. As a result, I’d expect we’ll see many of the best next-gen titles in about a year or two, once everyone’s been able to spend a bit of time with the new kids on the block.
The Price Is Through The Roof
There’s also the small matter of how much you’re willing to hurt your wallet. The PlayStation 4 will run you at around $400, while buying an Xbox One will set you back $500. In this economy, those prices are nothing to sneeze at, particularly when it’s taken into account that neither system actually comes with any games.
They Don’t Really Offer Anything New
Online media streaming? Live-streaming of games? That’s old hat on the PC. Cloud connectivity? I’ve got Netflix for that. Digital game sharing? Steam’s doing something similar. The sad reality is that once you break things down, neither the Xbox One nor the PlayStation 4 really offers anything all that unique or exciting. All they really give you is prettier graphics and a bit more processing power, neither of which is particularly revolutionary.
There’s been a lot of hype about the next generation of console gaming…but most of it has ultimately fallen flat. While I’m certain both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 will prove promising a few months down the line, at the moment neither offers anything terribly compelling. Taking into account both systems’ weak game line-ups, few revolutionary features and overly high price tags; you’re definitely better off waiting to step into the future.