PlayStation 4 Game Of The Year: The Waiting Game

There’s no need to buy a PlayStation 4 right now. There, I said it. Now give me a few minutes and I’ll explain myself.

Keep in mind that the above statement is coming from a PlayStation faithful who has been gaming with Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Solid Snake, Sackboy and Co. for more than 15 years. I have love in my heart for all gaming platforms (Even the abysmal Jaguar), but every parent has a child they love just a little bit more whether they like to admit it or not and, honestly, Sony consoles have always managed to edge out the competition in my book.

Now that I’ve got the obligatory and ridiculous credentials out of the way, I’ll lay down my reasoning for telling a handful of friends and family (and now you, dear reader) why they should keep their money in their wallet for the time being.

Keep in mind that I’m not currently speaking to those gamers with plenty of dough to spend who simply want to be in on the ground floor for a new console generation. If you’ve got the disposable income, love new tech or just want to support the PS4 in its early stages then, by all means, grab one of those machines as soon as you see it on the shelf. I want to see all three of the major home consoles do well, so I’m not just saying “nobody should buy a PS4.”

But over the past several weeks, I’ve had a number of friends, family members, co-workers, twitter pals and the like say something along the lines of, “so, I’m thinking I might want to get a PlayStation 4 soon. What do you think?” These are average Joes and Jills, all working normal 9-5 jobs that have nothing to do with the games industry. None are diehard game fans, either. They’re just regular folks who play a bit, are hearing a lot of buzz about Sony’s new console and have started kicking around the idea of taking the plunge.

And that’s exactly the type of person I’m talking to right now. Folks who enjoy gaming, have had a blast using their PS3 and Xbox 360 media services and, with all of the hype surrounding the recent launch of a new console, are starting to feel like maybe they are missing out and would do well to run out and get a new console as soon as humanly possible.

To those people, I simply say that there is no need to buy a PlayStation 4 right now. It’s a nice device, it has amazing potential and a handful of games that I’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment out of over the past month, but I can’t recommend anyone not in dire need of a console fix plop down 400 bucks for the thing right now.

The library is small and only features a few exclusives that you can’t play on a last-gen console, and none of those are system sellers. The vast majority of the super-amazing features we’ve all been anticipating since the PS4 announcement event early last year are nowhere to be seen and, honestly, I’d be surprised if most of that functionality gets up and running before next holiday season. There are fewer media apps than available on last-gen consoles at this time, and I’m even reading reports that the PS4 is actually worse for playing Blu-ray movies than the PS3.

I’ve had a decent amount of fun with Killzone: Shadow Fall, Resogun and Blacklight at this point, but the vast majority of my gaming time these days is spent elsewhere, as new releases haven’t started moving full steam ahead just yet. And yes, the Share feature is pretty dang rad and I’m embarrassed to admit how much time I’ve watched total strangers goofing off on their cameras using The Playroom as a sort of vidcasting workaround.

But it’s not uncommon for me to go multiple days in a row without ever booting the thing up. I still use my PS3 for movies and streaming because everything’s already set up on my last-gen console and there’s no real benefit to doing those things on the PS4. And then there’s that whole loud fan business. My replacement PS4 isn’t as bad as my first unit, but even the new console’s fan kicks it up higher than I’d like if my house gets above 74 degrees. I thought this was just for disc-based games at first, but now I’m noticing it even when playing a game that’s installed on the console or, heaven forbid, I’m downloading something in the background. Also, while it’s a nice start, the OS needs a bit of work. The library lacks any sort of order and seems to include random apps and DLC as separate files, and the ridiculously long side-scrolling navigation for the main menu is only going to get worse as I collect more games.

This might all sound like common sense to a lot of core gamers but, given how many people I’ve fielded the “should I get a PS4” question from this past month, I figured I’d throw my two cents out there and get it on record.

The good news is that it’s only going to get better from here. More apps and games will arrive, starting at a trickle and then hopefully hitting full stride by next fall. I’d also like to see what happens with future versions of the console that aren’t rushed out of the factory for launch and maybe feature some better components. A quieter fan is an absolute must. A much bigger hard drive would be nice, too, as 400GB (what you’re actually left with when you boot up the 500GB model) isn’t going to last very long at all when even disc-based games can take up 50GB a pop. Also, I’m really looking forward to hearing more about future free-to-play offerings and game streaming for previous-gen titles.

In short, if you don’t have a PS4 in your hot little hands right now and you have survived this past month, you can definitely wait another year. In that time, more games and features will get up and running and we might even have a newer, higher quality version of the system on store shelves. For the time being, though, there’s really not that much to get excited about.

Ryan Winslett

Staff Writer for CinemaBlend.