Should you buy a console now?
Here are some issues you should consider before buying a current generation console
Local retailers have been selling gaming consoles at reduced prices over the last few weeks, tempting gamers who might not yet own a console. However, rumours surrounding the next generation of gaming consoles peg their release within the next two years, which poses the question, should you invest in a games console now?
Sony Playstation 3: Released in November 2006, the PlayStation 3 has racked up over 62 million sales worldwide. Over the years it has seen improvements in the form of increased hard drive size, new manufacturing processes for cooler running hardware, and a shrink in size.
Microsoft Xbox 360: A year before the PlayStation 3, Microsoft launched the Xbox 360. Since November 2005, they’ve sold 65.8 million units. Like the PlayStation 3, the Xbox 360 has had many different improvements since launch that have included new hard drives and a slimmed down console case.
Nintendo Wii: Last of the current generation consoles, the Wii was released in November 2006. It has since sold just short of 95 million units, making it the best selling console of its generation. The Wii did get a new edition console, the “Family edition”. Unlike the PlayStation 3 slim and Xbox 360 S, the Wii Family edition did not replace the original Wii console.
What about next gen consoles?
Sony’s plans: Sony has no plans to release the next generation PlayStation console in 2012. That said, there are rumours floating around that the entertainment company will ditch the Cell processor found in the PlayStation 3 for a more developer friendly PC-like hardware setup. AMD has been mentioned in the same breath as the PlayStation 4, something to look out for.
Microsoft’s plans: We can’t tell you what Microsoft’s plans are, but can tell you what they’re not. The company isn’t planning on announcing their next generation console this year. The software giant is seeing impressive sales of current generation Xbox 360 consoles, which remains their primary focus. However 2013 could be the year of the next Xbox as the company reacts to Nintendo releasing the WiiU in late 2012.
Nintendo’s plans: Nintendo wanted to beat its rivals to the punch and announced it next generation console, the WiiU, at the E3 expo in 2011. The console features a touch screen built into the controller and 1080p display support, as well as backwards compatibility with older Wii games.
Reasons why you should
So with a brief look at how long the current generation consoles have been out, how they have matured, and what the plans are for the next generation consoles are, here are some reasons why you should get a current generation console now.
Specials at local retailers: Local retailers have good specials on current generation consoles at the moment. For their Blue Monday special, Dion Wired had the Xbox 250GB Elite on special for R2,000 for online shoppers. Makro also ran a host of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 specials in mid-march which included everything you need to get started as a console gamer.
Consoles are cheaper now than they have ever been, and might become more accessible to parts of the market that could not previously afford them.
Wide range of games to play: According to Wikipedia, there are currently 755 games available for the PlayStation 3. While this may not be exactly accurate, it does highlight the range of games currently available. The Xbox 360 meanwhile has 887 games, ensuring that users who buy a console now have no lack of content to keep them busy until the next gen arrives.
“Platinum” games are cheap: Publishers will often release their older, best-selling titles as “Platinum” titles for the consoles at a lower price. This means that some of the top rated console titles such as the Uncharted series on PlayStation 3 are available for a fraction of the cost of a new title.
Reasons why you shouldn’t
Some of the reasons you shouldn’t consider buying a console now include:
Current consoles are “old” tech: Despite the various updates to consoles over the last few years, they are still effectively “old technology”. They were developed long before the consoles’ release in 2005/2006, and there have been substantial improvements in technology since then.
Lack of longevity: The consoles are approaching the end of their lifespan. Assuming both Sony and Microsoft release their next generation consoles at the end of 2013, users have less than 2 years before the replacement to their consoles is available on the market. Rather than spending money on current generation consoles, consumers could save and wait for the next gen consoles.
There are points for and against buying a new console right now. If you’ve yet to buy a current generation games console and don’t mind spending money on technology that could be replaced within two years, there is no reason not to.
What do you think? Are current gen consoles a good purchase this late in their life-cycle? Let us know in the comments below and on the MyGaming forum.