I’d like a PS5. Not just because it would make my current games run faster, and because I’m tired of waiting, but because it would be helpful for my job writing about tech.
But somewhere between the console launch in November 2020 and today, I stopped trying to buy it, even when flashes of available stock would show up on social media.
I knew I’d changed my point of view when a friend brandished a screenshot of their successful purchase in a Discord chat. They’d done it. They’d beaten the PS5 Scarcity Monster, the most difficult boss outside of Demon’s Souls.
But I didn’t feel anything, not even jealousy. That was when I realized I’d stopped caring about the PS5.
1. Too much time wasted
I’m not just saying this because my bosses will read this, but it’s true. One of the biggest reasons why I’ve missed out on getting a PS5 was because I was too busy working, watching TV or doing something else. To stay aware of “PS5-on-sale” news, which pops up as randomly as a spam call throughout the day, you need to be very dialed in.
You need to check specific Twitter accounts such as Wario64, or PS5stockalerts often. If you’re really dedicated, you can enable notifications for all of the tweets posted to those accounts. Or, as I did at one point, make a TweetDeck column for them. But then you soon realize that even these specialized accounts don’t have enough return on investment.
And even if you’re lucky to see a notification at just the right time? Quantities are so scarce that your odds of success are still slim to none.
Wario64 does a lot more than just announce if PlayStation Direct has new PS5s for sale, and I don’t need my phone to chime every time there’s news in the wild world of gaming. And even PS5stockalerts puts out more tweets than I found valuable, because I don’t need to know about PS5 availability in Canada, or at the members-only Sam’s Club. And when I do see PS5-related items for sale, it’s usually just the headset, media remote or controller charging station.
Eventually, I realized I’d rather be doing anything else.
2. Pricey bundles aren’t worth it
Then, I started seeing more bundles than standalone consoles. The Atlanta-based Antonline, which I’d never heard of before this, is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to taking consoles people want, and wrapping them up in unnecessary stuff.
Take, for example the Xbox Series X bundle at Antonline, which has an extra Elite Series 2 controller, Forza Horizon 4 and three months of Game Pass Ultimate. No offense to people who prefer that controller, enjoy racing games or subscribe to Game Pass, but the Xbox Series X is expensive enough at $500.
Xbox Series X Bundle at Antonline https://t.co/naVVAVco6j pic.twitter.com/ImNsSEl6BcJanuary 19, 2021
Now you’re gonna tell me I need to spend more than 150% of the original price — this bundle costs $759 — to get an Xbox Series X?
No, thank you. It’s hard to make a compelling bundle.
3. PS5 exclusives still don’t make me excited
Astro’s Playroom and Demon’s Souls, the two games you can play only on PS5 (and not, for example, the PS4 I already own) don’t really do it for me. Astro’s Playroom, which shows off the PS5 DualSense controller in some cool and meta ways, sounds like a hollow version of a game I’m already hooked on: Ring Fit Adventure.
Nintendo’s fitness-focused game is also obsessed with its own controls, as it uses the two Joy-Con controllers to push you to your workout limits. Astro’s Playroom, a showcase for how the DualSense has a lot of tricks up its sleeve, sounds worse. There’s not as much for me to gain by learning about the DualSense’s force feedback.
I’ll wait for the perks of the DualSense to show themselves in games. Like how my colleague Marshall Honorof enjoyed the perks of the DualSense while playing Demon’s Souls.
I’m also not the kind who has ever enjoyed the hyper-difficult dungeon-crawling gameplay in titles such as Demon’s Souls. So, I will wait. Maybe God of War 2: Ragnarok will be that game for me — except maybe that game will still be playable on the PS4.
4. I’m OK with waiting out early glitches
While the PS5 has yet to see a serious Red Ring of Death-esque issue, the potential for such a malfunction is one of the reasons I’ve never felt the need to have a PS5 in its infancy. These issues, when they crop up, tend to penalize early adopters.
In fact, we found news of an Xbox Series X controller disconnecting glitch that only started making headlines in January, months after the console’s release.
While many of these potential bugs could be fixed with a firmware update, I’d dread the outcome of winding up with a hardware issue.
5. Working through my backlog
To paraphrase that one meme, “there are already PlayStation games at home.” Final Fantasy VII Remake was a game that didn’t get its clutches in me the first time around. But when I popped it back in right before the new year, I realized that it now had my number — so much so, that I’m annoyed I didn’t lobby harder for it in our Games of the Year 2020 debate.
The PS4 isn’t dead for people who are caught up with their gaming, either. New PS4 games are still coming out. From the modern Hitman 3 to the remastered Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game, the PS4 is still being treated like a member of the family that you haven’t disowned. It still gets a seat at the table.
While many gamers see the PS4 as yesterday’s news, I can’t see it as a “last-gen console,” as the CD Projekt Red co-founders did when they tried to save face after the Cyberpunk 2077 debacle. When the PS5 is this hard to get, and the PS4 is still kicking, I feel like Homer Simpson chasing that flying pig, saying, “it’s still good; it’s still good!”
(I just need to make sure my PS4 doesn’t fall into a dam. I’m pretty sure that much water would kill it.)