So, you can’t get yourself a PlayStation 5 or an Xbox Series X.
Yet another thing that 2020 had ruined.
From the scalpers charging insane amounts on eBay, the robberies of said scalpers, and the shortages and increased demand caused by COVID it’s really no surprise that a lot of people won’t be getting their hands on one until later in 2021 - when hopefully things have calmed down and this entire quarantine has blown over.
Hopefully. For the love of god, I cannot stand another year being trapped at home.
Anyways, so you most likely won’t be getting any of the shiny new machines so you’re going to be stuck with the consoles you may already have, which in a year or two will be considered obsolete. Gaming is an expensive hobby, and with technology marching on and an upcoming inflation in the average game price, it’s only going to get more expensive. It’s only a matter of time before you’re spending a hundred bucks on Madden 31 and it’s still the exact same game from ten years ago except you actually see the players sweat in real-time.
However, there will always be the stragglers. The ones who simply can’t upgrade to the new systems. They can’t afford it, or there’s nothing of interest right now. If you go on social media, you’ll feel like you’re missing out as people get to enjoy seamless loading and ray tracing while you’re just stuck with a console that will soon be out-of-production, and for which the latest games will no longer be ported over to.
And that’s why I’m writing about this. You see, I recently completed my playthrough of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales on PlayStation 4 and I can already feel the age of my console with it when I've never experienced that before. My console would need to stop the game so it could load the next area if I was going too fast, there’s pop-in and I always have the feeling I’m missing something. An amazing game that was bogged down by the system it was on, meant for something more powerful. By no means, these issues don’t take away from the game, but it was there throughout the whole time I was playing the game.
I currently have Yakuza: Like A Dragon sitting on my shelf and I know that game will be amazing, just like Yakuza 0, Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza 2 Kiwami, but I’ve seen footage of the game running at 60FPS, which the Dragon Engine couldn’t do on a normal PlayStation 4. I’m afraid that it will cheapen my experience as I have to suffer long load times and the game’s framerate tanking in bigger fights. I have not seen PlayStation 4 footage, but it made me think about playing games when there’s already something better out there.
It’s hard to let go of something you’ve put hundreds of hours in. I’ve played Monster Hunter World and its expansion Iceborne for nearly a thousand hours. With Monster Hunter Rise coming out next year, a game that follows in the footsteps of World, it came to me that I had to eventually retire my character and move on to the next big thing. There’s always the choice of staying and continuing to play but I felt I was done with the game. I couldn’t beat Alatreon, I surely won’t beat Fatalis. I’ve already squeezed out all the ounces of fun I could get from the game so I know that I want to pour another couple hundred hours into a new game - with improvements and new monsters to fight. I know I can never go back to World after Rise because it happened before with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. Another thousand hours were left behind as I moved onto World. I can’t keep playing a game that I no longer have fun in, so once Rise comes out, I’ll have to set the game down and never play it again for a very long time.
However, throughout this whole article, I’ve been pretty much advocating that “newer is better”, “the future is the only way forward” or some other quote I will definitely mess up in its use and wording. However, I know that sticking with what you have is still a valid option. It’s what we had to do as kids after all circa 1990-2009 where you didn’t have a computer in your hands almost every single day. There are plenty of people out there who still play the classics on obsolete consoles. Super Mario Bros. on the NES, Halo: Combat Evolved on the original Xbox and you know what, it will a cold day in hell before Super Smash Bros. Melee players will stop lugging around CRTs for their tournament unless Nintendo shuts it down because they’re the industry equivalent to a skilled craftsman who refuses to modernise their tools and will strike down anyone using their works with a sword lovingly named Cease and Desist but that’s a story for another time (and no I’m not angry and I’m just disappointed in you Nintendo). If the game is still fun to them, let them keep playing. Let them gush about 20-year-old games that they play every year, let them stay on a GameCube or a Wii instead of nagging them to get the latest console because here’s the thing; every console brings something different to the table. The PlayStation 4 will always be known for its amazing AAA single-player adventures while the original Xbox will remain the king of LAN parties. No matter what console you play, as long as you’re having fun with it, who cares about moving on to the next best thing.
But for me personally, I think after finishing up my backlog of Kingdom Hearts and Yakuza games, I’ll finally lay my PlayStation 4 to rest once I get a PlayStation 5. I will always have the memories of screaming at the top of my lungs for every win, every loss and every experience I’ve had with it, but soon enough it's time will come for when I take out the plug and let a new beast take its place. Just like all my other consoles over the years. My PlayStation 2, my Xbox, my Xbox 360, my Wii and Wii U are all powered down and stored somewhere else or given down to my siblings where I hope they’ll have the same amount of fun I’ve had with them. As I grow older, as the inevitable release of the PlayStation 6 and Xbox (Insert Microsoft’s Naming Scheme Here) comes in the next decade, I can only wonder about what experiences I’ll have with the current generation until I have to retire it as well. When what’s new quickly becomes old in the next two years.
So, you can’t buy a PlayStation 5 or an Xbox Series X.
So what? You may already have all the fun you need right now.
Or, you could just save up and buy a PC. That works too.