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The PS4 is here to stay. Do you need to make the leap now....or later?
on December 2, 2013
I jumped into the "next-gen" with some hesitation. I preordered the PS4 within the first hour of availability and held onto it, despite some back and forth, until it was released. Needless to say, I'm mostly happy with the purchase - though I know it will only be more valuable to me over time.
Let's start with the drawbacks...
Multimedia (lack thereof). The PS4 is a gamer's system in a day and age where the newest tech gadgets try to cater to everyone's cravings. If you are used to the Xbox 360 and having rather robust multimedia offerings at your fingertips, the relatively bland front-end of the PS4 and it's slim offerings of apps/software (carried over from the PS3) will feel a bit underwhelming.
You are going to run out of space soon. The 500 GB drive will be under heavy demand as you amass your PS4 library. Even physical copies of games will need massive installs (NBA 2K14 took a healthy 45 GB worth of space after a long install). Even swapping out a HD won't help you all that much in the long run. If you plan on gaming with this rig for the next 5-10 years, you will likely threaten to go over 1 TB worth of DLC, updates and games. This is a problem that both next-gen consoles face going forward.
The next-gen leap isn't all that spectacular...yet. Take a look at NBA 2K14 and FIFA 14. Nice and smooth, a quality "upgrade" to the current-gen offering, but hardly what you would expect from a generation leap - however, those two games represent the largest graphical leap of any of the launch games. Truth be told, it will get a lot better, faster, but for now, the offerings are mostly glossed-over ports. It will be interesting to see how much this "leap" evolves in the next couple years.
With that out of the way, I'm very happy with my PS4 "upgrade". A few months ago I sold my PS3 in anticipation while holding onto the Xbox 360. The PS4 feels like the perfect gaming machine. It's a sleek design, from the console itself right down to the awesome Dual Shock 4 - which could easily be the best gaming controller ever created. After all the installs/etc (hey, next-gen is just going to have that kinda stuff, we'll have to deal with it) it's generally very easy to get right into a game. PS Plus is a very nice deal going forward and provides a steady diet of great "free" games for the nominal yearly fee. Out of the gate there are plenty of very solid games at launch (despite not being all that much better than the current-gen counterparts as mentioned before) with a community that is growing at a rapid rate - there is no worry that people won't be buying into the next-gen at least.
The real key is this. For $100 less than the competition you still get a very powerful gaming machine that lacks some multimedia aspects and the motion/voice recognition abilities (which you can still gain with the PS4 Eye if you want that stuff). Other than that, both the PS4 and Xbox One generally will offer the same types of experience at a raw gaming level. You certainly can't go wrong with the PS4 if you are just choosing one console going forward - it's already gained a strong share of the market at this early stage and seems to be a very safe investment for the long term (as it essentially won the "public opinion" war in the lead-up to launch).