Side-stepping the next generation

The PS4 and Xbox One have now both launched in the UK, so the question is, which one am I going to get for Christmas? Well, the answer is neither: I’m getting a PS3 instead.

Both the PS4 and Xbox One look like impressive pieces of kit, but I’ve yet to see a single stand-out reason that I should own either of them right now. The launch games for both machines are impressive in their number but disappointing in their quality, and neither machine has a stand-out ‘must buy’ game. Indeed, I’m sure we’ll see the likes of Knack, Fighter Within and Ryse: Son of Rome confined to bargain bins in the very near future. The best-reviewed games, such as Assassin’s Creed 4 and Call of Duty, are already available on Xbox 360 and PS3, and by all accounts the next-gen versions offer little improvement over their old-gen cousins. Similarly, there’s very little on the next-gen horizon for me to get excited about, with the possible exception of Titanfall, and even that’s not particularly appealing – online multiplayer first-person shooters are most definitely not my bag, even if they feature giant robots (very much my bag).

So which one to get? Well, neither as it happens...
So which one to get? Well, neither as it happens…

Then there are all the little problems associated with buying a console at launch. Both the Xbox One and PS4 have features that didn’t quite make it in time for launch day, such as streaming of PS3 games using Gaikai for the PS4 and the compatibility with UK set-top boxes for the Xbox One (a seemingly glaring omission considering that the Xbox One reveal was centred around using the console to watch TV). Then there’s the ‘baffling incompetence‘ of the Xbox One interface, which seems to have removed useful and well-used functions such as being able to see what achievements you’ve unlocked and how much power your controller has left (the latter being a particularly odd omission). Microsoft have said that this is just the ‘first version’ of the interface, but it’s hardly encouraging me to rush out and buy an Xbox One. Furthermore, seeing as the intention appears to be to align the Xbox One interface with Windows 8 (surely one of the most hated operating systems of all time, and I’m saying that as a frustrated user), this hardly bodes well for future updates.

I’m certain that both consoles will find their feet in time, and in a couple of years from now I’m sure the problems will be fixed and each will have a healthy roster of fantastic games, but right now I see no need to upgrade. On the other hand, I see every reason to invest in a PS3.

I’ve owned an Xbox 360 since the early days of this generation, but it was more through luck than choice: my uncle sold me his 360 for a bargain price when he upgraded to the Elite version. I’ve never felt the need to buy a PS3 up until now because most games I’ve wanted to play are available for both machines, but as we near the sunset of the seventh generation, the PS3 has acquired an enviable line-up of exclusive games that I’m itching to play. Now that PS3s have been slashed in price on the launch of the PS4, it seemed the right time to treat myself to one for Christmas – I managed to blag a new console with Killzone 3 for just £134.

£134 with Killzone 3? Bargain!
£134 with Killzone 3? Bargain!

It will stay firmly in its box until Christmas day, but in the meantime I’ve already bought copies of The Last of Us and Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut in preparation for Chrimble day. Then, come the January sales, I’m hoping to expand my collection with the Uncharted series, Ni No Kuni, Little Big Planet and Journey, to name a few.

With amazing titles such as these, plus all the phenomenal Xbox 360 and Wii games I’ve yet to play (Mass Effect 2, Xenoblade Chronicles and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword are just a few of the games in my backlog), I see no reason to launch into the next generation for some time to come.

[As penned in patience by Lucius Merriweather.]