The Waiting Game


Like many, if not most, people, I view the new console launches with mixed feelings. I feel excitement at the prospect of a whole new generation of gaming hardware, jubilation at the promise of shiny new toys and, on a more personal note, sadness when I realize I’m not going to enjoy either of them first hand. Money being what it is (rare), I’m not going to be able to get the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 at launch, and probably not for some time afterwards. Of course, part of that is because I’m saving for a new PC, but Master Race aside, it’s still a kick in the teeth. And I’m sure there are plenty of folks out there who’re in the same boat.

But despair not, my nautical brethren, for I have good news. These new consoles, majestic and glorious and shiny as they are, have flaws, errors and problems, and are generally a little bit broken at launch. So we dodged that particular bullet. Go us! Drinks are on me. And by me I mean you.

So yeah, the PS4 launched in America last week, which most people were happy about. Except the Xbone fanboys of course, but fanboys of any stripe are best left ignored (though Xbox One fans were quite joyous today for some reason). All across the rolling cornfields and mountain ranges, from the Big Apple to the Hollywood Hills, cowboys and jazz musicians alike rejoiced (I’m not American, but that’s what TV tells me it’s like). And just as quickly as it was released there were tales of issues. A plague, dubbed the ‘Blue Light of Death’ (named so because of its striking resemblance to the ‘Red Ring of Death’ Xbox 360 owners had to deal with), swept across the celebrating masses, turning entire consoles into little more than futuristic-looking doorstops. This did make the Xbone fanboys happy, but that’s not a good thing. I saw more than a few commenters on articles and videos addressing the issues making statements such as ‘Sony fans got their turn’, which is mean-spiritedness at its most silly really. In what way are people due having their technology fail on them? Because your preference for a rival manufacturer caused you problems? That’s like being smug about someone’s car breaking down because your toaster blew a fuse.

But I digress. The fact is, I think anyone with a reasonable grasp of reality knew there would be issues. They’re an unavoidable part of life and new technologies in general. After all, that’s probably the reason the PS4 debuted in the US before anywhere else: to give Sony a chance to work out the kinks. Personally, I had guessed there would be significant online issues given the large amount of people logging onto PlayStation Network from their shiny new PS4s minutes after midnight. But the online components seem to have held up well. Instead there have been problems with the hardware, which you’d think Sony could have checked out before launching the new console. But they’re offering to replace faulty consoles for free, so it’s an inconvenience at worst. Shipping millions of brand new units in one go is likely to be fraught with difficulty, simply because shipping millions of brand new anything is problematic. I imagine there are similar conversations had every time there’s new model of washing machine launched. Probably.

And ultimately, not buying a console on launch day is a sensible move. Sure, you’ll be out of date for a few months or so, but for the time being the new consoles will be running ported version of games you can buy in slightly less beautiful form on consoles you already own, apart from a few launch titles, which will no doubt be a mixed bag, to say the least. Then there’s the aforementioned hardware, software and internet connectivity  issues lurking just out of sight. There’s also the inevitability of the PSfour (note spelling) a smaller, cheaper edition that will come with a bigger hard drive. The Xbone equivalent will probably involve not forcing you to buy a Kinect. And 1080p resolutions. Hahaha, I’m funny.

So, in retrospect, buying a console at launch day is really a fool’s errand. And in a few months’ time, once the rest of us have caught up, we’ll be enjoying all the same games, online services that work from day one and consoles with none of the design flaws and probably slightly superior features. But thank you, early adopters, for letting the big companies work out their flaws while we wait. I mean, when you look at it like that, it’s a smarter, more economical and generally advantageous move to wait before buying a next-gen console. In the comical farce that is the ‘Console Wars’ we’re the only true winners! Go us!


Nope, still want a PS4 on launch day. Bugger.