The PlayStation 4 releases this week, with the Xbox One following one week later, and the gaming world is holding its collective breath as we kick the doors open to a new generation of console gaming. Last week, I talked about why people who pre-ordered a PlayStation 4 or those who pre-ordered an Xbox One should feel pretty good that they made the right choice with their console decision.
But what about those who can’t afford a new console at launch, or PC gamers who have been sitting on the sideline wondering if they were making a mistake by not jumping in and buying a shiny new box? Should they pick up a few extra shifts at work in order to plunk down the cash?
Well here’s the good news: there’s no need to make any drastic moves just yet, and I’ve got five good reasons why you should feel good about not pre-ordering either of the new consoles.
5. Titanfall Is Coming to PC and Xbox 360
One of the biggest and most talked-about games of the next generation will not be coming to PlayStation 4, but it WILL be coming to PC and Xbox 360. While the community may end up being more robust on the Xbox One side, that doesn’t mean the PC or 360 experiences will be any less amazing. The game will play the same way, it will still look great, and there will be a lot of other people online looking to join in the action.
Titanfall may be the Xbox One’s baby, and it may be one of the best reasons to buy the console, but don’t think that you have to leave your gaming PC or Xbox 360 behind just to play it.
4. New Consoles Are Expensive
$399 for a PlayStation 4 and $499 for an Xbox One is a lot of money when you already have a capable computer or console in your home. For PC gamers, that price may only be a fraction of what you spent to set up that computer in the first place, but you set it up so you would never need a console again. It seems a little silly to go back now and buy a console now, right?
Especially during a launch window, there’s just not going to be a lot of killer games that demand your immediate attention when they release. History has proven that game developers learn how to maximize their game’s performance as the generation rolls on. Plus there are often some pretty damaging bugs in the first batch of consoles that get released, so waiting until a couple of years after launch might not only yield fewer headaches, but maybe even a discounted price by then as well.
3. Graphics Cards Make New Consoles Look Puny
This one is certainly more for the PC crowd, but still an important piece to note. If you have the money to spend and want to get the best looking games for your money, then you’re probably better off buying a new graphics card. With so many options out there these days, there are cards you can get for as low as a couple hundred bucks that will have the hottest new games running on Ultra settings for at least a couple of years, and will likely continue to play most games on High settings for several years after that. Considering that the new consoles are already being beaten out by gaming computers in games like Battlefield 4, it seems silly to plunk down the cash on a console rather than a graphics card, especially if graphics are your number one priority.
Additionally, there’s been a lot of talk lately about resolutions and framerates. Some games will only run at 720p on one console while running at full 1080p and 60 frames per second on the other. Certain console exclusives, like Killzone: Shadow Fall or Forza 5, will be running smoothly at the highest resolution possible, but some of the third-party games just aren’t going to perform exactly the same from one console to the other. Fortunately for you, with the ability to tune your graphics settings to meet your every whim, you can pretty much ensure that your games run smoothly at the highest resolution possible every time.
2. PlayStation and Xbox Won’t Play Everything
There are certain game types that for whatever reason just aren’t available on consoles for the most part. The MMO genre has never translated very well to consoles, so games like Star Wars: The Old Republic, RIFT, World of Warcraft, or EVE Online are only available on PC. If you’re a fan of this genre, then you’d be buying a console that wouldn’t even support this type of game (for the most part, as there ARE exceptions to this rule). Why plunk down $500 on a console that won’t even play your favorite style of game?
And it’s not just MMOs; real-time strategy games and MOBAs also get left out in the cold for the most part on consoles. Games like Starcraft 2, League of Legends, and Dota 2 are currently only available on PC. And don’t forget about city building games like SimCity. You can’t get that on PlayStation or Xbox.
But on top of that, what about all those games you already own and love from nearly a decade of Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 memories? The Xbox One won’t (so far as we know) play any of the Halo games or Gears of War. PlayStation 3 owners can’t pop in The Last of Us or Gran Turismo 5. This is unfortunate, as many gamers simply don’t want or need two consoles in their living room, but they may not quite be ready to give up on some of their older games, either. So by waiting to buy a new console, it gives gamers more time to work through their back catalog before acquiring a whole new library.
1. The Next Gen Is the Current Gen
Both PC gamers and current gen system owners can feel pretty good about the state of their gaming machines. For PC gamers, whether it’s superior graphics, access to a large database of games for often deeply discounted prices on Steam, or the ability in many games to play with either the keyboard and mouse or a controller, playing games on the computer already feels pretty damn next-gen. With Steam’s Big Picture mode (and their impending SteamOS), PC gamers can even connect their computers to a big HDTV and get the same experience console gamers are already used to.
Xbox and PlayStation fans can look at recent titles and realize that the games coming out right now aren’t exactly ugly. Assassin’s Creed IV, Battlefield 4, The Last of Us, and many others are all incredible looking games. Sure, playing a next-gen version of these games might be nice, but the fact is that developers have finally learned how to maximize performance on these systems, so games released to these platforms over the next couple years are going to continue looking pretty fantastic.
So if you’re feeling like you’re missing out on all this “next generation” stuff, I’d say you can probably relax, as you’re already living it.
Whether you are a PC gamer or a long-time console fan, I think you can safely assume you won’t be missing out on too much in the first year or so of this “new generation” of consoles. Sure the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will be a lot of fun with some great exclusive titles, but gaming PCs, the 360, and the PS3 still have some legs, and you don’t need to feel like you’ve got nothing to stand on. Just pick up new games that you want as they come out, and don’t worry what anyone else tells you. You have the right system for you, and that’s all that matters.