PS5 & Xbox Series X|S Could Have Waited Another Year (Or Two)

The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S launched with a number of issues, making some wonder why Sony and Microsoft didn’t delay the next-gen consoles.

Despite high, retailer site-crashing demand for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, the next-gen systems’ launch feels a bit anticlimactic, compared to previous console generations. A number of issues, such as bricked consoles, missing features, and a lack of exclusives, make the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X seem unnecessary – at least in 2020.

Maybe it’s social distancing and self-quarantines making everyone extra bored, but the ninth console generation’s launch has received an amount of attention that feels disproportionate to what the new systems actually offer. Pre-orders sold out within hours or minutes of opening back in September, taking down the websites of retailers like GameStop. Microsoft reports the Xbox Series X and S had the best launch of any Xbox console, and PlayStation 5 orders crashed Walmart’s website on the system’s release date.

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Related: PS5 Launch Day Demand Is Crashing Walmart’s Website (Again)

While it seems most PlayStation and Xbox fans who don’t have the new consoles wish they did, those with either system in hand don’t have access to much that’s not available to past-gen console owners. The consoles have very few – if any – real exclusive games, and both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S have seen a number of issues crop up before and after release. At this point, it might be a good idea to wait for a seemingly inevitable PS5 or Xbox price drop to buy in.

Why You Should Wait To Buy A PS5 Or Xbox Series X|S

A comparison of the Xbox Series X by Microsoft and Sony's PlayStation5.

While they still pose a danger to early adopters’ consoles, problems like the Xbox Series X’s reported random shutoffs and the PS5’s console-breaking storage issue can likely be fixed with software updates soon, as could the PS5’s lack of an internet browser. What’s less immediately addressable is the systems’ lack of compelling new features and games. Graphically, the only big differences between current-gen and next-gen console games are ray tracing and high frame rates, which aren’t universally supported across PS5 and Xbox Series X titles.

Part of the lack of a big graphical leap is likely related to the systems’ emphasis on cross-gen gaming. Xbox currently has no Xbox Series X|S-exclusive titles at all, instead pushing the cross-platform Assassin’s Creed Valhalla as its biggest launch title after Halo Infinite‘s delay, and the company isn’t planning to transition fully to the new console anytime soon. The PlayStation 5, meanwhile, has only three true exclusives: Astro’s Playroom, Demon’s Souls, and Destruction AllStars. Its marquee launch game, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, is also available on PS4.

These problems make the PS5 and Series X|S’s high price points feel steep. The core, disk-based systems will set fans back $500, with the PS5 Digital Edition coming in at $399 and the Xbox Series S at $299. The PlayStation 5’s low storage space could also mean users will eventually need to purchase external storage options, eventually adding more investments to the pile.

Related: Why PS5 Storage Size Is So Disappointing

This lack of immediate need for the new consoles isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however. In fact, it’s a pro-consumer move for Sony and Microsoft to make sure fans have access to the latest games on older platforms, especially in a time when pandemic-related job loss and pay cuts have likely reduced many people’s ability to make big purchases. That’s all the more reason, though, to hold off on buying a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X|S until more exclusive games and issue-fixing updates are released. Perhaps Sony and Microsoft should have waited a bit longer themselves, too, to release systems with more compelling new features.

Next: PS5 vs. Xbox Series X|S: Which Should You Buy?

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Updated: November 13, 2020 — 10:54 pm

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