PS5: Why I'm waiting to buy a PlayStation 5, and why you should, too

Avid gamer Jesus Vigo lists reasons why you should wait before sinking your hard-earned money into the new PlayStation 5 gaming console.

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Illustration: Lisa Hornung

I've been an avid console gamer since 1986 when I received the NES as a gift. I've been hooked ever since and was an early adopter through the years for many consoles—even going so far as to import the Japanese releases of systems and games via mail order long before the internet made acquiring practically anything worldwide easy with just the click on a mouse.

The PlayStation 5, however, is one that I'm not quite sitting out on, just delaying my purchase. And as I'll illustrate below with my reasons, fellow gamers may find themselves in a similar paradox, perhaps even having some of the same reasons.

Before we dive into this, I want to add a disclaimer: The purpose of this article is not to incite a war or argument based on what's right or wrong, but to illustrate some reasons that may suit gamers looking to move their gaming into the next-generation console realm. In no particular order, the reasons are as follows.

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1. The case of the missing console

A large problem for the next-generation of consoles in the last couple of releases has been availability at launch. While historically, gamers would queue up in lines that make Black Friday look diminutive for the latest and greatest consoles and games, systems in prior years were widely available to those who would brave the lines—or knew someone who would get their console on day one.

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I remember doing this with the Japanese release of Sony's PlayStation 2, along with two release games, when a friend of a friend was able to secure one for me in Japan. He stood in "a pretty big line," he said at the time, but also noted that at the particular location he went to, "anyone that wanted one was able to score it once they made their way through the line."

Those days are largely gone, part of it is scalpers looking to make a quick buck (more on that later), but another comes down to production levels being hit hard by the global COVID-19 pandemic. And while my experience with getting the PS2 day one doesn't match up to other experiences, the for me there is something decidedly different about my previous procurements and today's gaming market.

2. Many games, little time

This is not a direct problem of the PS5 as it is more a problem that I have with work-life balance. Simply put, there aren't enough hours in a day to balance the commitments in my personal life, multiple work responsibilities, and juggle playing a bunch of games. Unfortunately, something's got to give, and sadly these days, gaming has moved to the back burner.

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Though I still enjoy it and have been known to really get into certain games pretty heavily, like Zelda: Breath of the Wild or God of War. My current backlog of PlayStation 4 games is hovering about 30. These are mostly new games that are still sealed, waiting to be consumed and enjoyed. And while I know the PS5 is backwards compatible with PS4 games, when taking this into account against the other reasons on my list, again the urgency to rush out and get a PS5 feels more like a poke than a push.

3. Speaking of games, where are they?

This is one of the bigger reasons for me in deciding to hunt down for a new console in general—what new generation games are made available at launch versus coming down the pike. I can honestly tell you speaking about aesthetics, all the new games look amazing. That said, my taste in games is not set in stone, but I tend to pull toward more RPG, adventure, and fighting games for the most part. The PS5's launch release lineup really only appealed to me with two games. OK, maybe more like one re-released game and one quasi-DLC game.

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That's not great and certainly doesn't spurn those feelings of drop-what-you're-doing-and-track-down-a- PS5. If the Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales game is anything like the previous Spider-Man game released on the PS4 (and on my aforementioned list of pending conquests)—and I'm banking it is—I'll be all over that when I get a PS5. But even the developers admit it's not a full-fledged game like its predecessor. Demon's Souls is the other game I'm most excited for at launch, but I've played that before, and, again, nothing that screams "Go get this now" like say, Super Mario World was on the Super Nintendo or the aforementioned Zelda: BotW was on the Switch.

4. Do not feed the trolls

Taking into consideration the lack of time and relative scarcity of the PS5, I am not above paying some form of premium to be able to get into next-generation gaming. Alas, I've done so before with the PS2 back in 2000, PS3 in 2006, and most recently Nintendo's miniaturized retro consoles, the NES and Super Famicom respectively.

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But I cannot justify paying 150% or more above MSRP, just to be the among the first to enjoy the PS5. As much as I like gaming, I prefer to "work smarter, not harder," and that statement applies to other parts of life besides just work. For me, holding off represents spending that extra money toward getting more games rather than lining a scalper's wallet.

I'm also a collector of many different fandoms and understand the premium pricing model and how it applies to getting the items you want with certain additional touches. For example, paying an extra fee for a comic book to be graded or certifying a signature from someone like the late, Stan "The Man" Lee is understandable for the time and effort put into getting it certified, but not for double the price!

5. It's all about the Benjamins

I'd be remiss if I didn't factor in pricing since it is, well, such a determinant factor in gaming. After all, it's not just spending the $500 plus tax on the console, there's the $70 per game (because, games also went up by $10 this generation), add to that the cost of accessories, such as additional controllers, virtual reality (VR) headsets, charging cables, and downloadable content (DLC). All told, with tax and shipping factored in, the typical expense on the PS5 with drive, a few games, extra controller, and spare cables, the initial average cost hovers closer to $1,000.

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Moving forward, games will still cost a minimum of $70. Possibly more with a variety of editions made available, some including detailed statues of your favorite characters, but costing hundreds of dollars. For some, the initial investment is equivalent to a rent or mortgage payment! The ongoing purchase of games may represent the cost of monthly utilities or internet access. Waiting some time will only serve to lower prices on the console itself when Sony inevitably redesigns it into a slimmer profile with a smaller footprint. So, too, will the cost of games drop-off dramatically in short time.

6. First-world problems

As any technologist will tell you, the first release of any product is generally riddled with bugs or inconsistent issues that affect performance. While this can vary greatly by product, the PS5 has not been excluded from some pretty serious issues affecting early adopters at the hardware and software levels.

SEE: PS5 vs Xbox Series X: Why I'm not buying the PlayStation 5 (TechRepublic)

Speaking of hardware, there have been reports of consoles overheating, which is never good for any computing device. Other issues reported are controllers not charging or communicating properly, digital games getting uninstalled without warning, random glitches that cause the system to crash in glorious ways, and the most serious one causing consoles to become bricked (or effectively unusable).

Again, these types of issues occur with all computing devices, though they are often more prevalent during a console's initial release and much less so during subsequent releases when manufacturers have worked out the kinks. Software issues are also prevalent during initial releases of gaming software. Most of those issues can be corrected with future software patches—some of those requiring game-sized downloads on day one to correct potentially game-breaking problems, like those widely evidenced in the recently released Cyberpunk 2077 game.

7. Back catalog aplenty

Sony's PlayStation game catalog has a rich and immersive history of hundreds of top-tier, AAA-rated console games that have been made available since the first PlayStation console was released. 2024 marks the 30th anniversary of the PlayStation initial launch in Japan in 1994. There are a lot of gems in those almost 30 years! Looking to more recent times, the PS4 has a big assortment of quality titles that many a gamer would find thoroughly enjoyable.

And with the costs of any PlayStation console and their respective games being quite low to moderately low (especially with upcoming holiday sales), there is plenty of time to kill between the initial release of the PlayStation 5 and the coming months when production lines are expected to balance out, more games that can further harness the powerful, underlying hardware the next-generation brings with it will be released, and maybe, prices will begin to dip, making it a win-win-win for all console gamers looking to catapult themselves into the next-generation.

Whichever style of gaming best matches you, we're all gamers looking to have fun with our chosen hobby. So long as we enjoy what we're playing, little else matters beyond that.

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