Opinion: Next-Gen Is A Game Day Decision

by Mike Futter on Oct 25, 2013 at 06:40 AM


For some gamers, this is the first major console launch they've ever been through. Even for those of us who have been gaming for long time, we've become so comfortable using the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 that we forget what it's like to not know every little detail about how these systems work. These weeks leading up to launch and the days following will be filled with little blips of excitement and disappointment, and that's part of the fun.

I've been vocal about my trepidation about next-generation consoles. I am still holding onto a pre-order for both systems, but I don't know if I'll be keeping or canceling. And I likely won't until I know more about the games and what/where my friends will be playing.

That said, I'm getting swept up in the excitement. I've seen the nostalgia filled PlayStation 4 ad. I watched a Titan destroy an office building in Microsoft's rebuttal. I want to be part of the experience on day one, but then I remember that there are so many unanswered questions.

We've learned that Killzone: Shadow Fall is tipping the scale at 40 GB for installation (via a recent Eurogamer story). Call of Duty: Ghosts is rumored to be even larger. These games are going to chew up 500 GB hard drives in no time at this rate. Is it better to wait for a model with a 1 TB hard drive? We don't know. These are the only two examples we have right now, and they could be outliers.

That concern becomes compounded for those considering eschewing discs and going digital. How long does it take you to download a 2 GB Xbox Live Arcade or PlayStation Network game? Multiply that by 25 and consider what leaving discs behind is worth to you in time. Will the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 offer improved download speeds in coming generation? We won't know for another few weeks.

Of course, the most important thing about gaming hardware is the quality of the software. Sony is missing some heavy hitters like Uncharted and God of War. Microsoft has Master Chief and Marcus Fenix on the bench. These are franchises that sell systems. Both consoles have a large number of titles at launch, but whether they are worth playing (or, in the case of cross-generation titles, upgrading for) is something we won't know until much closer. 

Even still, there are some people that don't want to miss out on the conversation. They are buying hardware on good faith that inFamous, Titanfall, and the first-party titles that we know will be coming make the early adoption worth it.

This is a question that each of us must answer, and I can assure that my own thoughts have changed a hundred times (and will likely change just as many more). I'll likely be holding my final call until the last possible second. 

Don't let anyone tell you that you need to make a decision now. You still have time to gather information about the hardware and games. There's still much we don't know.