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Opinion: New Consoles, Early Adopters Beware

gaming consoles

With new consoles just around the corner (as well as that red-themed, semi-religious holiday which will go unmentioned this side of Halloween) it seems that every game store is a buzz with pre-order promotions and unaware consumers asking “when is the Xbox One/PS4 out again?”. It’s definitely a magical time, with a whole new generation only a month or so away for the first time in the better part of a decade.

But still, I feel like many of us are likely to let the magic of getting started in a new generation of console gaming pull the wool over our eyes and force us to avoid the truth of the matter – that early adopting is rarely beneficial for the gamer, and much more beneficial for the companies themselves.

Why exactly? Well one reason is because a systems lifetime performance can sometimes be charted on its early sales. For example the Nintendo Wii had a stellar launch and broke all kinds of sales records over the holiday season it originally came out – which made for a large amount of input for high quality Nintendo Wii games, which in turn fed the popularity and basically made it a win win all around.

Now imagine the reverse of this happens for whatever console you buy. It tanks and there isn’t nearly as much money left for games investment as originally planned, as a result your favourite franchise gets delayed and eventually gets a lacklustre sequel while the other half lives safe and pretty because they could see the fall coming.

And this scenario isn’t even bringing to the table the Xbox 360 fiasco – with 30% of the batch one consoles suffering from the red ring of death (or RROD) which led to complete shutdown. This was fixed as quickly as possible and by the time the second batch of Xboxs rolled around about 3 months later it wasn’t an issue – once again rewarding the people who waited to get their hands on one.

Then we have the games.

Now if you are a smart consumer, which I’m going to go ahead and assume we all are, you buy your system based on its games and not its gimmicks. Yes the Kinect looks good, yes you love the new PS4 controller – but none of this matters if you have nothing to play with it. Logic dictates that the smallest amount of games available on the console will be at launch – and with big titles like Destiny, Titanfall and Watch Dogs delayed til next year, there are plenty of reasons to wait.

Last and admittedly least, we have the big red holiday I refuse to name which is coming up. New consoles launch in November, gift-givingness in December and then sales in the early months of the year next year when stores sell off their C-----mas stock – I shouldn’t really have to explain to anyone who benefits by waiting until after the holiday seasons.

Ok fine I’ll explain. It’s you.

Anyway I’m not saying straight up that buying a new console on day one is a bad idea. I’m just trying to inject some logic into all this hype and maybe remind people that it can be even more beneficial to wait around for a few months, if you can manage to get through all the TV ads over the holidays and annoying Facebook posts from your early-adopting friends about how much you are missing.

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