5 Reasons To Hold Off On The New Consoles
Top 5 reasons why you should hold back on buying the PS5 or X-Box Series X.
With over thirty years of knowledge and patience in the gaming world, I believe it's time to impart some "wisdom" into the world. I have been privileged over the years to see a particularly fast evolving branch of technology. Its advances and applications are spread wide and far but one of the most common is in video game culture. Familiar names like Atari, Sega, and Nintendo filled mall arcades and home consoles. I was a child of the nineties myself and had the 32-bit Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo and while they were great at passing the time and entertaining the mind I was never truly impressed with their graphical or technical achievements.
One of the earliest memories I have regarding my gaming comes in the form of PC. I had an old Windows system that my father had cobbled together from old hardware as he himself was an avid tech guru throughout his years. An archaic, large floppy disk that measured over 5" in diameter held a single program on it that when inserted into the reader of the computer would click and hum as it was being "opened" to play the program. The wide and bulky monitor would wiggle and flash then eventually go pitch black.
"Spider-man" would come up with a slow fade from the bottom to top and I felt the happy excitement of playing the titular wall crawler. Selecting the "play" button on the screen, the old machine would "clang" and "thud" as it pulled forth the necessary code to display the most basic of images. A pixelated blue and red stick figure would drop from the top of the screen among a black background and using the four arrows keys of the keyboard I moved him. Pointing him in one direction and pressing the "shift" button would launch his "web" and he would travel in a single path to the point his web contacted and then drop back to the ground as a means of crossing gaps over a series of gray "floors". Another key stroke would launch his only means of attack: white balls.
That was it folks! That was "Spider-man" in my youth. The background never changed, just the obstacles which incidentally were the same shipping crates over and over. Sometimes they were layered to offer an added challenge. The villain was also the same throughout the "levels" of the game; that of course being Doctor Octopus. The familiar colors of the comic inspired yellow and green tentacled menace waving in paired sequences as he would lob smaller versions of the shipping crates over and over. You jumped up with a web-swing, dropped down, shot a ball of webbing, and then repeated the same action over and over.
It wasn't complex by any means but I was immersed in the idea of that freedom. I of course played the many iterations of the "Spider-man" franchise over the years and like so many have found favor with the newest release by Insomniac Studios. With recent press releases for the Miles Morales version popping up more and more I began to ponder the new consoles as their releases draw closer and closer.
The back half of 2020 has seen the rampant increase of media and advertisements for the upcoming releases of the Playstation 5 and the X-Box Series X and while I, like so many others, are excited for the release; It is a broken and tremored joy that comes with reservations given the history and experience of both of these titan brands. Listed below are a few of the critical reasons that are holding me back from making the purchase of either of these machines.
- Cost: With a growing family I am under necessity to keep finances tight for the benefit of family and future. While both devices are slightly higher in price to their predecessors in cost they are still higher. They also feature the familiar monthly fees of online-play capability. These services are now more like streaming services that are offering immediate access to games that you have most likely played to begin with and ultimately the reward against this feels minor.
- Specs: The largest "weapon" that is used to sell these products is their technical specifications. Memory and processor power is now under the microscope of buyers as console players desire the same power as traditional gaming PC's. Stronger graphics cards and beefier processors hope to eliminate load screens and increase the immersion that we feel. However we in the gaming community have seen countless instances where gameplay is demoed at conventions and presentations and the final product released ends up being a lackluster experience with disappointing emotions.
- 1st release bugs: The Playstation 2 and X-box 360 were the first (but not the last!) consoles to showcase hardware and performance issues. Sticky disc readers, "red-rings", and overheating issues plagued all of the initial releases of consoles across the world. Within a year or two these machines were re-designed and outfitted with new and capable equipment that was released to the public along with a price hike.
- Games: With the X-box Series X not showcasing anything exclusive on launch day it feels like the lesser option of the two. While playstation does showcase some "exclusives" on it's device they are mostly slated for a release sometime after the initial release of the hardware and games that are releasing near the PS5 release are opting for a free upgrade option if the new-age machines are purchased within a certain period of time. This is what brings me to the final and largest issue for holding off.
- Equal/Compatible equipment: The upcoming consoles boast large graphical upgrades and processor capacities, which is all well and good however they are pointless unless we as consumers are properly equipped to receive that kind of upgrade. TV's that are 4K or higher are now the minimums for these consoles in order to properly view the output. High grade optics for sound quality is being designed and released in-tandem to improve audio quality and reduce lag or drop outs of audio. High speed internet is now changed to fiber optic networks to allow faster connections, shorter download times, and smoother streaming experiences. All of these components combined are now "simple" necessities in order for us to enjoy these consoles at their fullest.
Living in a rural, country area means that tech advancements are often slow to reach us. Today I see advertisements for 5G networks cropping up all around and while the idea is nice, the reality is I won't actually be able to enjoy the benefits of such advancements for some time. The same is to be said for console play. There are still areas in my state that have not been upgraded to a fiber optic network because carriers don't provide the service that far which means poor internet connections and slow downloads. In a world where our entertainment consoles are shifting heavily towards online streaming and downloads this means delayed play and reduced quality.
My hope is that after the release of these consoles we can see the positives and negatives of the products being offered. I reserve judgments until after their release but as the saying goes: "If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it." If both Sony and Microsoft have still not been able to work out the common issues from years past then I fear it may harm their reputations further within the gaming community as it may feel like we are truly unheard.