I’m starting to wondering if my gaming card should be taken away from me at this point. It is 2022, and I have yet to have the urge to upgrade either my PS4 or Xbox One to the next iteration. Awaiting the next console use to be part of the fun of being a gamer, but with the recent climate change in the industry (i.e. COVID, Inflation, Supply Chain), I’m starting to feel like there is no need to upgrade to a new gaming console anytime soon.
No Compelling or Console Exclusive Games
Right out the gate, there are little to no console exclusive games for either system that would warrant me to make the switch. To expand, Horizon Forbidden West, Elden Ring, Ghost of Tsushima were amazing games but all of which were made available on PS4. At first, the main appeal for me on the Xbox was the plethora of RPGs and backwards compatibility, but has since morphed into something else that I will delve into later.
The elephant in the room is that two years in the lifecycle, the pricing of each system has not moved much or at all. Both released in November 2020 at a price point between $399 – $499, with an option of a discless system at a cheaper price point. Fast-forward to 2022 and not much has changed other than supply finally being somewhat normalized post pandemic.
The other pill that is hard to swallow, the price of games does not fluctuate depending on the system version, which is odd to me. What I mean is that, the longstanding argument has been that the $60 and $70 price point for “AAA” games was directly related to production costs and manufacturing costs of discs and manual material. With the wide adoption of downloadable games, it doesn’t sit well with me that the price has not gone down, even by $10. In fact, more and more games are coming out with $80 price points.
Xbox Game Pass Spoils Us
Without a doubt, the biggest contribution to my hesitancy to upgrade to a next-generation (next gen) console has been the widely successful and industry defining feature that is Xbox Game Pass. Specifically, the Ultimate tier has changed the way I consume games, and I’m all-in. Here are some of the features that just keep me coming back for more:
Xbox Game Pass Library
Right off the bat, you have access to over 400 games within the library. Many of which are top tier games from EA, Bethesda and Square Enix to name a few. Two of my favorite experiences were The Medium by The Blooper Team and Hellblade by Ninja Theory. Was never a true fan of the survival horror genre, but these two games made me a believer. I’m confident others will find their gems.
The concept of playing a game on your console, then picking up where you left off on your mobile device was something my friends and I dreamed about when we were in middle school. Xbox has made this a reality with amazing success. Although it isn’t perfect and is highly dependent on your internet connection, I foresee this as being the new normal as 5G capabilities are improved.
Again, Game Pass is all about options and there is something for everyone whether you have a console or a PC. For those who have a solid rig (Gaming Computer with tons of RAM and above average graphics card), Game Pass provides a ton of game that will utilize those high-end resources. The second-best part, you don’t have to own an Xbox at all.
Don’t worry, I didn’t neglect the first best part, which is, the cost is $15/month (USD). Like the Usos proclaim, I have been “down since Day 1-ish” when it comes to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
Too Many Subscription Services
If I’m being honest with myself, the majority of my console usage is dedicated to the various streaming platforms. Whether it’s Hulu, Disney+, Netflix or any other service, it has my attention. Sadly, as long as these services are still supported on these platforms (which I’m not advocating against), my need for an upgrade will continue to wan.
The Death Spiral of the Gaming Community
Every year I looked forward to learning the latest and greatest of upcoming games and systems, and one of the best avenues was watching the Electronic Entertainment Expo or E3. In the last 10 years (barring the pandemic), there has been a noticeable shift where many prominent gaming publishers, have decided to either scale back or forgo all together the conference. This has left a feeling of emptiness for me.
One of the appeals to conferences is sharing in the collective energy of your fellow gamer. I’ve always felt, it served as a direct feedback to the developers on the interests of each project. With notable absences or developers opting to put on their own showcase, it feels like a certain disconnection between the developers and the community. Sure, there’s always Twitter, but journalist have a better shot at asking the tough questions and not being treated as trolls or blocked.
This doesn’t appear to be systemic to E3, PAX South seemingly has struggled in the wake of the pandemic, has yet to recover and has been deemed cancelled indefinitely by local outlets. Understandably, it is hard to recovery when the world is shutdown; even so, it is tough to feel connected when your anticipated events are no longer available to you.
Meme stock jokes aside, I can’t remember the last time I stepped foot into a GameStop, which was a staple for game hunting and deal making. They were my hype-people but for many reasons outlined above, it’s not helping even with the digital magazine subscription and point system.
It’s not lost on me that my urgency for diving into the newest console may have changed with my elder age, but I would like to think I’m being practical and not losing my interest altogether. Gaming is in my DNA, at least I believe so, but maybe we are at a point where we can run our older systems into the ground and still have fun. Either way, until Sony or Microsoft make a compelling case to upgrade, I think the waters here are just fine.
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