The upgrade or wait dilemma of next-gen gaming

September 3, 2013, Author: Neil Hughes

If we can learn anything from the phenomenal crowds at the Eurogamer Expo each year, it would seem that gamers will travel far and wide to get their hands on a game before anyone else. Even if it means a three hour journey and a one hour queue to play the latest must-have AAA title, then so be it.

With this is mind, I cannot help but think that the UK release date of the PS4 on November 29th is a slight misstep by Sony. Nearly every AAA release such as Watch Dogs, Call of Duty: Ghosts, FIFA 4, Assassin’s Creed 4 and Battlefield 4 can be enjoyed on your current console.As customers, we pre-order and purchase our favourite games as soon as they are released, so if the average gamer has their hands on the year’s big releases and the behemoth that is known as GTA V comes online in October, what incentive is there for you to upgrade to next-gen gaming?

The majority of gamers that I have had the pleasure of conversing with have echoed the same sentiments and when asked the question about PS4 or Xbox One, their replies seem to consist of “I’m going to wait; there’s no point in upgrading yet.”

Sure, there are hardcore Microsoft and Sony fanboys who will buy the consoles on release day just to have internet bragging rights, but outside of this they both need to tempt across the masses to achieve target sales figures.

Possibly the biggest battle for next-gen gaming is for people’s time. We all play games on tablets, smartphones, laptops and desktop pcs, which all eats into our free time. I have heard countless people say they could satisfy their gaming fix on just the PlayStation Plus service alone, which allows you to build up a great collection of free games as long as you subscribe to the service.

The quality of the games on offer is fantastic compared to the poor imitation by Microsoft; for example Microsoft offer Assassins Creed 2 but PlayStation Plus subscribers get Assassins Creed 3 for free in August, and this could even be where the battle of the console wars is won. No matter what side of the Sony/Microsoft fence you sit on, the truth is that technically the consoles themselves are incredibly similar and would sit comfortably next to a mid-range pc.

So if the consoles are technically similar and they are both charging £59.99 for a new game, then it doesn’t take a genius to come to the conclusion that the console that offers good free games for its subscription will ultimately be victorious.

Could free games be the key to success?

Big companies seem to be oblivious to that fact that the majority of the world’s population cannot afford the luxury of a £400 shiny new console and £60 per game. Even if they could, do they really need something that has the same games that they already just purchased?

The demise of physical media during this transitional phase illustrates just how much the gaming industry needs to change and adapt with the modern world rather than relying on outdated business models.  We can listen to unlimited music on Spotify or subscribe to an all-you-can eat package of films, TV box sets and documentaries through Netflix for a small monthly fee. With this in mind, you can’t blame people for thinking “Why should I pay £59.99 for another COD or FIFA revamp?

It will become increasingly difficult for publishers to charge these prices for games when there are so many high-quality games on PC and tablets for under £5.00 or even for free. Relax; this isn’t a doom and gloom article trying to dampen everyone’s spirits at the next-gen party. The gaming industry isn’t doomed; it’s just changing, and the direction it heads will be a fascinating journey to follow.

My best advice to you all, is don’t get carried away with the shiny emperor’s new clothes and make the right informed choice for you and only you. We all have different tastes and gaming loves/hates but ultimately there is no right and wrong, just opinion; but the question is what is yours?

When are you planning to upgrade to a next-generation console? What will be your console of choice? Please comment below and let us know your plans.