The PS4 Conundrum: To Buy or Not To Buy


The Playstation 4 came out a few days ago. I stared at one longingly in our local Gamestop. But I didn’t pull the trigger to become one of the early adopters (you know, before they ran out of units at most stores in America).

I spent a lot of time in the weeks leading up to the PS4 launch trying to talk myself into a sale. I can afford it. The games look amazing and my 50″ TV would do them justice. Tons of games will be coming down the pipe.

But it just wasn’t enough.

Even at its slightly friendlier $399 price point (as opposed to the Xbone’s $499), I couldn’t do it. Thousands of people across America and the world are enjoying their PS4s right now, and I’m watching from the sideline.

There were three major issues for me. Price is one of them. Factoring in an extra controller or two and at least one game, that $400 price tag suddenly inflates to $600. That’s a lot of money up front for a young system. After the Yellow Light of Death and Red Ring of Death fiascos from early in the previous generation, let’s just say I’m a little nervous about the potential lifespan of my new investment.

Those console issues tied into another issue: no backwards compatibility. I know that there’s a school of thought out there that says “if you care about those games, just play them on your old system.” Personally, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask that my new console play games from just one generation ago. Now, if those previous consoles had a reputation for being workhorses that lasted for a decade or two — like my Super Nintendo has — I could see the other side of this. But I’ve owned three PS3s and I’ve watched roommates replace two 360s in five years. That’s not exactly a sterling track record.

Yes, Sony will be offering some PS3 titles as digital downloads. That’s not the point. If my PS3 bites the dust again, I won’t be replacing it. Enough is enough. Plus, being able to play old titles on my PS4 would help with my final issue, which is the launch lineup.

All things considered, I think the PS4 and the One have a decent selection of titles available at launch. Sure, some of them are also being offered on the old-gen systems. But we’d be lying to ourselves if we didn’t admit that both day-one lineups are better than the Wii U. That said, the lineup isn’t all that interesting to me. The only title that is a must-buy in my book is NBA 2K14, because I already love the series and the game looks RIDICULOUSLY good. I mean, check out the screenshot below.

Seriously, click on this image to see a full-size view. It's ridiculous.
Seriously, click on this image to see a full-size view. It’s ridiculous.

2K14 could have mailed it in and done a direct port, then put out a shiny new title next year with the benefit of a full development cycle. Or they could have boosted the graphics and taken a pass on game modes. Instead, the next-gen version of 2K14 is the best looking title of anything on the market, and plenty of small additions were made across the board. I would play this game for 100+ hours, and that was almost enough for me to pull the trigger on a PS4 even without any other titles.

But it just wasn’t enough. Unfortunately, all three next-gen (current-gen?) system have the same problem for me: there just isn’t a killer app yet. Smash Brothers comes out in 2014; that will almost certainly be enough to get a Wii U. Kingdom Hearts 3 will be out…uh…sometime, and that would do the trick for a PS4. Until then? I guess I’m rocking my existing systems until something more enticing comes along.

4 thoughts on “The PS4 Conundrum: To Buy or Not To Buy

  1. Yeah, the launch lineup is just sad to me. I know there are some o-kay titles in there, but just nothing worth dishing out money for a new console right away, in my opinion. I do want a PS4 rather soon, as soon as I can find one and afford one! But it is not at all heartbreaking to me not to have it yet, and I actually know some people who have bought it and plan to just admire it on their shelves for a couple of months while waiting for Watch Dogs and Thief, etc., to come out next year.

    1. I think “not at all heartbreaking” is a pretty good way to describe it. Would it be cool to have right now when it’s so fresh and clean? Sure. But it’s something that I can wait for until more titles come out — and hell, if it takes long enough for these systems to get a stronger lineup, there might be a price cut in there somewhere too.

  2. While my Hubby and I are enjoying ours, I agree there is no rush. I’ll be getting AC4 for Christmas and have been entertainin myself with Resogun and Contrast (both free) for the time being. I jut have such a backlog of PS3 games to play still. >.> Main reason we got one already is because we got crazy store credit at Gamestop for trading in one of our PS3s towards a 4. Also, my husband is playing BF4 and got the $10 upgrade from the PS3 version. Holy crap is the framerate ridiculously awesome!

    1. Yeah, the PS3 backlog was part of my problem as well. I haven’t finished GTA V yet and I’m still trying to get around to Beyond: Two Souls and The Last of Us, among other things. I wish I’d thought of Gamestop trade-in if there was a good deal happening, though — that would have been one way to help cut into the costs.

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