This Generation Proves You Should Never Buy a Console at Launch

If you really think about it, you never really have to buy new consoles for at least a year (or more).

Yes, I know some of the hardcore gamers out there buy every new system the instant it comes out. It's their primary hobby and they're collectors.

I've often bought a new console right on launch day. It's sort of exciting, you know? There's nothing like bringing home that shiny new piece of technology, with the hopes that the new generation of interactive entertainment will be even more amazing than the last.

I get it. You want to have the best of the best at your fingertips. I understand the mentality and I've been guilty of the "I want it now!" mindset numerous times, especially when it comes to new game consoles.

But you know, it's not necessary.

I was pretty convinced the PS4 and Xbox One were legit day-one purchases

I was going to get the PlayStation 4 on launch day because I got the PS2 and PS3 on launch day, so why break the trend? Besides, I'd really liked everything I'd heard from Sony during 2013 leading up to the launch. It was clear to me that they had acknowledged their mistakes concerning the disastrous PS3 launch, and they had worked to fix things. They'd utilized lots of developer and gamer feedback, and the result was a vastly more accessible (and cheaper) machine.

I wasn't going to get the Xbox One because a). I didnt feel like spending a full grand on one day, and b). I never buy Xbox's out of the gate. They usually freakin' break in a month, anyway, and there are almost never any exclusives I really want in the first six to twelve months. Remarkably, the Xbox One appears to be pretty reliable this generation, but I'm still not seeing the must-play titles in the first year.

Wait a year and good things can happen

If you look at that games that are currently available for the PS4 and Xbox One, and the games on tap for the holiday season, what would you really be missing if you didn't own either console? I guess the top contenders would be TitanfallForza Horizon 2 and Sunset Overdrive for the Xbox One and inFamous: Second SonDriveclub and LittleBigPlanet 3 for the PlayStation 4. Of course, in both cases, the latter two titles are available at the end of the year, meaning there was all of one exclusive up until the holiday season that wasn't available on previous-gen consoles.

See? Wait a year. If I had waited until October or November, I think it would've made more sense. More next-gen games are immediately available, and a lot of promising titles are on the immediate horizon (BloodborneUncharted 4: A Thief's EndHalo 5: GuardiansThe Order: 1886The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, etc.) Was there really any need to have the PS4 (or Xbox One) throughout 2014? I'm not so sure.

And of course, as reliable as both systems have proved to be, manufacturers can always use a bit more time to work out the kinks. There are always a few.

Patience is a virtue

It really is. Had I missed inFamous: Second Son (and Titanfall, if I owned an Xbox One) during the first year of the new generation, I wouldn't have been all that upset. As for the Wii U, I haven't been interested in that system since it was announced, although I'd be more likely to consider it because of Mario Kart 8 and Hyrule Warriors. But again, were those games available in the first year? Nope.

The bottom line is that I've been quick to pull the trigger many times and in retrospect, it was never essential. I wouldn't have missed out on much. Well, the PS2 may have been the lone exception, as that system's first year was amazing. But you'll never see a console like that again, that's for sure.

Featured Columnist

A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.

Published Jun. 24th 2014
  • wampdog29
    The only problem with this is you seem to try and say that EVERYONE should wait....if NOBODY buys consoles at launch, then you won't have much a year later either. Prices also will take longer to drop as well. It's just the way things work.
  • Axe99_1967
    I think it should definitely be the case that the crowd that go for consoles at launch are a niche mob, but the headline of this article is just wrong. Personally, I got a console at launch, and have had 300 hours worth of entertainment on it since, including a very enjoyable 100 hours of KZ:SF (mostly online - the campaign wasn't much to write home about - yes, the online doesn't gel with the ADHD, 'it's all about me' crowd, but it's one of the best team-based shooters out there), had a blast with War Thunder, enjoyed Assassin's Creed: Black Flag in higher resolution, with shorter load times, and wondered why they didn't spend more time working on refining Knack......

    The same goes for the XB1 side - there are huge Forza fans out there, and anyone suggesting they won't have got their moneysworth from being there at launch are living in their own little world and missing out on the broader universe around them. Dead Rising is also a series with lots of fans. I hear there were even a handful of people that liked Ryse ;).

    So saying that you should never get one at launch is silly. If I'd followed the advice of this article, I'd have missed out on hundreds of hours of fun (as in six months' time KZ:SF's MP will be pretty quiet, so it's not as if it would be the same experience starting in November this year) and for an amount it would have cost me in November this year (for the PS4, there was some point in waiting for the Kinect-less XB1 for those not hot on Kinect but keen on the XB1) I could spend that last year and have the fun earlier.

    Of course, it's not necessary, but then we step into the argument of it being a luxury, in which case we can write off gaming altogether (after all, gaming is hardly a live-or-die necessity, is it ;)) - so it all comes back to whether someone will get value for their money for it, and for many they will. Yes, many others will get sucked in by the hype and buy early when they didn't need to - but to suggest that no-one would get their money's worth from it is just silly talk.

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