Flashy hardware and shiny graphics work wonders to sell consoles, but is a few minutes of time saved loading really worth the £450 price tag? Never does Sony and Microsoft’s marketing material cumber you with the question of what games make next-gen consoles actually worth buying, perhaps because right now they don’t have the answer.
Where are the Exclusives?
A list of launch title games for both PS5 and Xbox Series X:
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
- Astro’s Playroom (PS5 Exclusive)
- Borderland’s 3
- Bright Memory 1.0
- Cuisine Royale
- Dead by Daylight
- Demon’s Souls (PS5 Exclusive)
- Destiny 2: Beyond Light
- Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition
- DiRT 5
- For Honor
- Forza Horizon 4
- Gears 5
- Gears Tactics
- Just Dance 2021
- King Oddball
- Manifold Garden
- Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
- NBA 2K21
- No Man’s Sky
- Observer (Systems Redux)
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- Planet Coaster
- Rainbow Six Siege
- Sackboy: A Big Adventure
- Sea of Thieves
- Tetris Effect: Connected
- The Falconeer
- The Pathless
- The Touryst
- Warhammer: Chaosbane – Slayer Edition
- War Thunder
- Watch Dogs: Legion
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon
- Yes, Your Grace
As you can see the only absolute exclusive games are for the PS5, they are Astro’s Playroom and Demon’s Souls, meaning if you bought a PS5 right now you would be paying £450 for a tech demo and a game that released on the PlayStation 3.
Every other game coming out around the launch period is either releasing on both generations, for example, Sackboy: A Big Adventure released on PS4 and PS5, or is releasing on PC as well, like Bugsnax, which released on the Epic Games Store alongside the PlayStation Store (see our review here). So where are the exclusives – where are the system sellers?
The Systems Shippers are in 2021, along with the Miraculous End to this Pandemic
Covid-19 stumped the launches of next-gen this year. We are lucky to be getting next-gen at all. Safety and social distancing seemingly locked down critical developments for a vast majority of games studios, which is why the launch window is so barren.
Halo Infinite, the flagship game for the Xbox Series X was delayed until 2021. Deathloop, a PS5 Launch title was delayed to Q2 2021. Dying Light 2, Rainbow Six Quarantine, Skull and Bones, delayed, delayed, delayed – the list goes on.
However, the lack of launch titles and exclusives does not devoid next-gen of all value. The specs for the consoles are a huge improvement, the difference in rendering capabilities is like the difference between a toaster and an oven. The hardware gives even the higher end PC’s a run for their money. But it just brings us back to the question – what are you going to do with that hardware?
Thank God for Backwards Compatibility
Finally, Sony recognises people want to play their games – they boast 99% of PS4 games are compatible with the PS5. Microsoft realised this a few years ago when they launched backwards compatibility for Xbox One.
The ability to play your old games at 60 FPS is one of the best reasons to upgrade for those who are stuck with the old-standard choppy 30 FPS. Ghost of Tsushima suffered heavily under the PS4’s hardware strains, making it unplayable for me, it will be a much more enjoyable experience at 60 FPS. The hardware updates also allow for games like Dreams to become so much more than what they already are, Media Molecule understands this, and it is likely why they are hiring new employees to create content for Dreams.
It goes without saying that if your sole medium for gaming is an Xbox One or PS4 then upgrading is a no-brainer. However, if you have a PC and 60 FPS isn’t anything new, then next-gen hardware won’t do much to persuade a purchase. In fact, there is a growing trend of console exclusives releasing onto PC as well, Halo Infinite for example – Halo was once cemented into the Xbox brand, but for the first time, in 2021, there will be a launch day release for Windows 10. So, for a PC owner, upgrading to next-gen seems a bit fruitless.
And that is the main driver for the sales of these consoles. FOMO. The fear of missing out. The fear that you won’t be able to play the next title with your friends. The fear that your old console won’t be good enough for the games to come. It’s fear that stops rational thought, how rational is it to buy a console for games you can already play? When looking past the fear and the marketed materialism, you can ask yourself such questions, and perhaps you will come to the conclusion that there is a more suitable time to purchase, especially if you consider the Xbox One launched with major hardware issues.
When Should I Buy in?
If you buy in now you are most likely going to be quickly disappointed after playing for a week or two and realising there isn’t really that much difference – at least not £450 worth of difference. 2021, however, is set to be a far better year for console game releases, it holds the answer to When Should I Buy in? which is simple: invest when you want a game you can’t play when your PS4 or Xbox One can no longer support the titles you are keen to get your hands on.
No one buys consoles for the sake of buying consoles – we buy consoles to play games. So, it’s better to wait until there are actual games to play.