There something about a next-gen launch that super charges the very air we breathe. The hype that starts months before culminates in a palpable electricity that gets people worked up. How else do you explain the early morning hours of camping out to get your pre-order receipt or the mad rush to the game store on launch day to pick up your console? I can only image waking up on the morning you know your favorite console has officially “dropped” and not being able to contain yourself. You literally role out of bed, where not so much as a toothbrush or Pop-Tart can slow you down, in a mad scramble to get your new console home and hooked up to your 60-inch plasma screen. I can only image how many of you reading this have either already scheduled a vacation day (or at the very least, worked out your best fake cough for when you call in sick to work) in order to remove all distractions the moment you hit the power button on the system for the very first time.
The reason I say all this as if I’m living vicariously through you is because I can honestly say that I’ve never done any of these things…and I probably never will.
My friends, there is a notion floating around out there that has no doubt seeped into your conscious thoughts. A concept that is little more than a marketing ploy. The fact is, you don’t really need a next-gen console the day it launches. Now, before the fanboys and girls crucify me, allow me to make my case.
First, let’s take a look at things like launch libraries. We now have two huge titles that were promised at launch that we won’t see for well into the year 2014. The first is Ubisoft’s Watch_Dogs. After what many believe to be a direct result of the huge success of GTA V, Rockstar has literally managed to scare Ubisoft right off the starting block; the company wants to “polish” the game (which is just a way of saying the peeps there have to fix some things they probably would have otherwise gotten away with). Also, as we first reported, speculation has been confirmed that Driveclub will also be delayed. Sony acknowledged this in a statement, stating, “The team requires more time in order to deliver on their vision.” For more on how game development expansions results in these types of delays, check out this article.
Now, I’m certainly not going to argue with you if there are still a select few launch titles that you’re so excited about that you just have to have at launch. If that’s the case…then more power to ya. However, it’s a much harder argument to make that there’s one killer app that makes these consoles a must have the day of launch. Where’s the Halo? Where’s the Super Mario 64? Where’s The Legend of Zelda? (Zelda’s not a launch title, I know, but you get the idea.) I purpose to you that, unless you’re a gaming nut that literally plays everything on the market, there is plenty of fun yet to be had on the current-gen. I promise you, If you spend 20 minutes right now browsing the on-demand sections of Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network, you’ll find games that you always intended to try but never got around to. The same can be said for strolling through the game isles of GameStop or Wal-Mart. Are these titles any less entertaining just because they’re on a system that is on its way out the door? I venture there’s so much gaming content out there right now on the current-gen that you’ve yet to experience, it would keep you busy well into the new year.
The second point is hardware. All the reasons I list above may not make a difference to some gamers, especially if their reasoning is based on wanting the latest and greatest tech available. I admit there is certainly an appeal of having the best toys (after all, like many of you, I’m still a big kid). The problem with this console launch cycle is…we’re just not taking that big of a leap forward. This generation, the gap between the new tech and the old tech just isn’t that wide. Think back to the end of the life cycle of the original Xbox and PS2. Everything back then was still standard definition, with the online component just starting to pick up steam. HD technology and 7.1 surround sound were still things that weren’t as commonplace as they are now. Then, the 360 and PS3 offered things like HD-quality video for your new, giant TV screens, theater level audio capabilities, and expanded Internet access that would bring things such as “marketplaces” and “streaming movies” right to your living room. It opened new doors to accessing content in ways never seen before. I’m not much of a star-f*#ker, but even I was a bit of a Sony/Microsoft groupie (OK Nintendo, I guess I had a little crush on you too).
The next-gen fails to impress with many of its so called “next-generation” features. Xbox One has a built-in Kinect for motion-sensing technology. If I remember, can’t you pick up the exact same device for $30 for your current-gen system? The PlayStation offers touch-pad style interaction with its new DualShock 4 and integrated social-media functionally on the console. Is this really all that impressive with someone who already owns an iPad or iPhone? Not to mention, what was once such a huge selling point on the HD audio/video front is so commonplace now that the “new” has clearly worn off. It seems like we’re in more of a “what have you done for me lately” scenario when it comes to what the next-gen is really offering vs. what many of us already have sitting right in our livings rooms right now.
Now, I’m sure much of what I’ve said will fall on deaf ears, and hey…that’s cool. I’m certainly not willing to tell you you’re wrong if you’re looking forward to picking up the next-gen consoles at launch. I would, however, like you to ask yourself how much the drive comes from you personally wanting a next-gen system vs. someone convincing you that you NEED THE SYSTEM…and need it now!
Listen to me carefully…you don’t. It’s a con.