I won’t lie to you: I’m quite a big console player, and on top of that, I don’t really have much brand loyalty - at the moment I own a PS4 and a Nintendo Switch, both of which I play fairly regularly, but with a new console generation looming, is there any point to me buying an Xbox One? On that note, is there any point of buying a current-gen console at all now anyway?
Let’s start by saying this: I understand that current generation consoles will still be supported for a few years after the launch of the next consoles - I mean, you can still get Just Dance 2020 on the Nintendo Wii, so support for upcoming consoles will definitely still be there, provided you somehow still adore dancing to Gangnam Style in 2022. What I’m questioning is, if I were new to gaming, would it be better for me to buy a current generation console, or wait a few months for the next generation?
Personally, I’d wait a few months. The current generation of consoles are worth the money, but why pay £350 for a console that will be out-of-date in a few months? Plus, when you do eventually get a console it’ll be that much better in terms of hardware.
In terms of price, the next generation of consoles are looking a whole lot more pricey than the last - with the PS5 predicted to cost $499 - but, the plus side to a new generation is the cost of the last generation will go down. While you will be splashing out big for the next-gen consoles, if you wanted to go back and get current gen, you could do so at a much cheaper price than they’re currently going for. If you wanted to get yourself an Xbox 360 at launch, it’d have cost you £279, but now, they’re going for about £44 on Amazon - the difference isn’t going to be as dramatic, but you could likely get a cheaper current gen console after the next generation has launched. You’d also have access to a huge library of potentially dirt cheap games. Sure, some will be showing their age, but it’s pretty much nailed on anyone picking up a PS4 or Xbox One today will have plenty to play for years to come.
On the flipside, it looks as if both of the next-gen consoles will be shipping with at least some form of backward compatibility. They’re going to be pricey, but they’ll also offer far more versatility. Then there’s PC gaming to consider. Right now, practically every worthwhile game on Xbox One game be played on a PC. Sony’s still got its exclusives locked up tight on PS4 but even that looks set to change; Detroit: Become Human has already come to PC and there are strong rumours Horizon: Zero Dawn and Dreams could be next.
From the perspective of someone who wants to experience the very best of the current generation, I’m not sure what I’d recommend. I’m someone who still regularly uses my Nintendo Gamecube to play nostalgic treasures, rather than buying their remasters on newer consoles, so I can definitely understand why someone would want to own a current gen console. But, as mentioned before, remasters and remakes are undoubtedly going to appear on the newer systems - plus, the PS5 is to have the aforementioned backwards compatibility, meaning you wouldn’t even need to own a PS4 to play some of the greatest hits, another tick towards waiting for the next generation.
I sound fairly weighted towards waiting for the next generation, but I’d still recommend owning at least one current gen console. The PS4 has an impressive array of exclusive titles that have blown me away with their quality and depth. The Xbox One’s utility as more than a console (something which was hammered home to us when it was first announced) and Xbox Game Pass service has proved its value - both consoles are worth owning, and perhaps trying them out could get you more excited for what the next generation has in store for us.