Given that I create content for this wonderful video game website and YouTube channel (go subscribe!), I’m beginning to get used to pretty much all my friends outside of Respawning coming to me with questions such as “When is the PS5 actually coming out?”, “How much is the Series X going to cost me?” and “Won’t they just delay the next gen consoles now?”. Annoyingly I don’t really have a concrete answer to any of these questions despite the scheduled release for next gen consoles being less than three months away.
How crazy is that? I’m sitting here on the 2nd September knowing that a likely release window for the PS5 and Xbox Series X will probably be early November if the leaks and history is anything to go by, yet I can’t tell you anything other than a few specs and what they both look like. This time during previous launches we would already know the price, a definitive launch lineup, a solid release date and likely already have our pre-order bundle sealed and scheduled for delivery on release day. There is of course one major difference this time around and that’s the global pandemic we found ourselves victim to. Covid19, ever heard of it?
It raises the question whether Sony and Microsoft should even be pushing ahead with these launches, especially given that game developers clearly can’t keep up to this schedule. For a prime example of this you need look no further than the recent delay to Halo Infinite. The idea of Xbox launching the Series X without Halo Infinite featured in its launch lineup seems insane, but what are they meant to do? Well, delaying would of course make sense and nobody would be mad at this point given everything else we love in this world has been delayed but then what happens if Sony launches the PS5 as planned and Microsoft arrives at the party 3-6 months late? There’s no way they let that happen and you’d be foolish to believe Sony aren’t in the same boat.
In truth, it would suit both parties to delay until at least the Spring but unless you can get Mr Playstation and Mr Xbox to sit down together and mutually agree to delay to the exact same time and then actually stick to the agreement, delaying the next gen consoles isn’t going to happen any time soon. We’ve reached this weird point where both Sony and Microsoft seem to be playing chicken, waiting for the other to make their move before going ahead with any pricing announcements. Sadly though, this means the consumer is the one suffering.
Going back to the global pandemic, now is arguably the worst time in recent history to be budgeting for a pricey new console. Not even knowing how much money I’m going to need for one of these beasts isn’t helping an already stressful situation. Now dearest reader, I’m going to give you a little peek behind the curtain here at the Respawning offices. For one, there are no offices, hell this isn’t even our jobs. Every one of us here does this in our spare time while juggling full time jobs and busy personal lives. The events of this past year have led to more than one of us either losing our 9-5 jobs, being at serious threat of losing our jobs, having big events such as weddings cancelled and much more. As is the case with everyone else in the world.
We’re not in a situation where we’re lucky enough to get these consoles to review either. Meaning for us to cover the launches effectively, we need to dig deep and make sacrifices which we’re more than happy to do in service of what we love, but the way these launches have been handled so far doesn’t make that easy. Especially when you also consider that the quantity of consoles the two can ship this time round is surely lower than ever before meaning longer waiting lists and higher risk of not getting one at all before the Christmas period.
Here’s the flip side to all that though, it feels now more than ever that missing out on a launch day PS5 or Series X really wouldn’t be too bad. If history is anything to go by, most consoles don’t even start to pick up pace until at least 6-12 months after release. I mean, who’s still talking about Knack or Killzone? Assuming Spider-Man: Miles Morales isn’t delayed, we’re only looking at one or two big AAA games that we’d be missing out on by not purchasing a PS5 straight away and maybe nothing at all on the Xbox side of things now we won’t be getting Halo at launch. Not only that, most (if not all) Xbox releases are still coming to the Xbox One anyway so unless you want bragging rights about ‘the most powerful console in the world’ then you really don’t need to upgrade right away. The same can almost be said for PlayStation as your Call of Duty’s, your FIFA’s and your Assassins Creed’s of the world will be hitting both the PS4 and PS5 as usual this holiday regardless.
The final word, will I be upgrading? Yes of course, but who knows when.. My PS4 Pro is only a year old and runs games that look so good that the 10 year old version of myself still can’t wrap his head around it so I’m not desperate for a graphical upgrade. Yes, I want to be able to play Spider-Man Miles Morales on release as well as upgrade my copy of Marvel’s Avengers that I’ve recently started playing. I also want to be prepared for the first gigantic Uncharted sized PS5 exclusive to hit shelves probably next year, so a PS5 purchase is a guarantee. However, if Covid related issues to shipping occurs or I hit financial troubles then having to wait until 2021 for my PS5 isn’t the end of the world. Hell, it’s barely an inconvenience at this point. Maybe this comes down to the poor marketing, maybe it comes down to developer delays affecting the launch lineups or more likely, it comes down to 2020 being unlike any year we’ve seen before. Either way, I’m excited for next gen but I’m in no rush to get there.