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Do I Need to Buy a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X|S Immediately?

Question Time #1

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Last month, I stretched my budget to the max to purchase both the PlayStation 5 (Disc Version) and Xbox Series X. I do not regret doing so, given it allowed me to produce a lot of content for The Otaku’s Study in the form of reviews and first impressions articles. That said, the average consumer would not have a mild video game addiction and run their own website dedicated to reviews… correct? Therefore I returned to playing both consoles over the last few days to answer the question “Does the average consumer need to buy a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X immediately?”. Perhaps even more so than all previous console launches, the answer is a clear no.

Generational jumps in video game consoles used to be big deals, for all three main competitors in the current-day console wars – Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. The possibilities with new hardware used to be immediately noticeable when you jumped from one generation to the other – the PlayStation 1 to PlayStation 2, the Xbox to Xbox 360, or the Super Nintendo to Nintendo 64. Nowadays, hardware has gotten good enough to the point where the jump feels more about futureproofing your platform with new hardware for the next 5-10 years rather than providing unique new experiences at launch.

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This is supported by the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S’s launch titles. Between the two manufacturers, the only first-party game exclusively released for either next-gen console was Demon’s Souls Remastered on the PS5. All other first-party and almost all third-party games released to date were available cross-platform between generations. Now, this is understandable. With the valuable holiday season coming up and console availability teetering between low stock and unavailable – putting many of your next AAA video game exclusively on new consoles would be an unspeakable risk. This is a win for both consumers and publishers but doesn’t do that much to justify the average gamer upgrading immediately.

The best way to look at both the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X, in my opinion, is that these should be longer-term upgrade routes as stocks become more readily available and the scalper market online settles down. Should your PS4 or Xbox One break down, then if you have the funds, given their successors are both backwards compatible, an upgrade would be the best idea. Alternatively, when the demand is there for developers to justify releasing more and more exclusives for the new generation, then that would be the ideal time to make the shift.

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Again, both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are great consoles, and their improved hardware means that many games in their back catalogue will receive small to medium scale improvements around load times or graphical fidelity. ABut at the end of the day, gaming for most is about the experiences. At this point, you are not missing out on too much by adopting the console potentially three, six, twelve months from now.

My only recommendation is to save up the extra money and buy either the standard disc version of the PlayStation 5 or the Xbox Series X. Purchasing the discless variants lock you to either the PlayStation Store or Xbox Marketplace, prevent you from accessing pre-owned games or discounts at your local retailer, and cripples your ability to play disc-based games through backwards compatibility.

So to conclude:

Yes, those that desperately want to own the latest hardware and enjoy new games in the best way possible should upgrade when they can.

But for the average consumer.

No, there is no immediate need to upgrade to the next generation of consoles. Developers are still actively supporting last generation hardware and releasing many games cross-generation for the foreseeable future. In the end, however, an upgrade will become more necessary as time goes on.

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