Finally, two and a half years after its North American debut, I’ve purchased Sony’s PlayStation 4.
Interesting bit of personal trivia, this is the first new console I’ve bought myself and only the second console I’ve ever bought. Any previous consoles I’ve owned were various birthday and Christmas gifts, all of which were given to me with at least a handful of games. The first console I bought myself was a used PS2 slim, after my old fat PS2 stopped reading discs. At that point, however, I had amassed quite a collection of PS2 games and accessories, so this was far from a new ecosystem to me.
In the case of the PS4, this is literally brand new to me. I’m a Sony veteran of course, but I don’t have any PS4 games already, or any existing peripherals for the console. I’m literally just getting the system and possibly an extra controller. It doesn’t come with any games, and I won’t be picking up any until our budget looks a little better. It’s so odd to know that I’ll have a new game system and have nothing to play on it. Not the usual situation of nothing I *want* to play on it, but literally *nothing* to play. Adulting and buying my own console is such a weird experience.
On the bright side, I do have some very generous friends and coworkers, many of which have offered to let me borrow games they aren’t playing at the moment. Though it may not be quite the same thing as having my own collection of games, it’s much better than having a console that I can’t do anything with.
The Unlikely Barter
Technically, I didn’t actually buy this PS4. Through the convenient, coincidental timing of a coworker Matt’s employment anniversary and a discount on Xbox One bundles at Costco, I was able to trade for the PlayStation. My employer gives out gifts for every 5th year of employment, allowing workers to select these gifts from a catalog of options for so many points. Matt, anticipating his tenth year of employment with the company, skimmed through the catalog to see what he might claim. He saw a PS4, which he already owns, but not an Xbox One, which he was interested in obtaining. I told him that if he just wanted to cash out points, I’d buy the PlayStation from him so that he could use the money on an Xbox.
Fast forward a few months, and Matt gets authorization to pick out his gift. Sure enough, the PS4 is still available, but no Xbox One to be found. He asks if I’m still interested in the deal, and I certainly still am. However, he proposes the option that I get an Xbox on my own and trade him directly for the PlayStation. As I previously mentioned, Costco had a promotion at the time for a hefty discount on an Xbox bundle. For just $285, consumers could get an Xbox One console with controller, a headset, and the Lego Movie Videogame. To be fair and not put him on the spot for an urgent decision, Matt and I take a trip to Costco on lunch one day so that he can see the bundle for himself.
Even though Matt isn’t interested in the Lego Movie Videogame, this bundle is likely the cheapest way for me to get an Xbox One to trade for his PS4. What he does with the included game, whether he actually plays it or sells it to pocket some extra cash, is of no concern to me. He gets an Xbox for me to receive his PlayStation. To avoid the unfortunate possibility that the console might go off sale in the coming days, I went ahead and purchased it. Costco’s customer service is impeccable and their return policy promises me a full refund if I bring it back within 30 days, so I’m at no risk for loss. Later that day, he pulled the trigger on the PS4 and I gave up the Xbox. After it ships, the PlayStation is mine.
Unfortunately, the PS4 system advertised in the point catalog is not the same as the one that shipped. The catalog showed a console bundle with 2 controllers and no game: ideal for me, considering I’ve got a frequent player 2 and we rarely play mainstream games that would normally ship with a console. Instead, we got the Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 bundle, with only 1 controller and a game I have zero interest in playing. I was luckily able to offload the game on a friend for $25, so I wasn’t stuck with a worthless piece of junk, but I would much rather get an extra controller for my wife to play with.
Honestly, outside the sale on Xboxes at Costco and the employment anniversary gift, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the PS4. As much as I previously said I would upgrade for a Ratchet and Clank reboot, it just isn’t in my budget right now.
Over the next few weeks (hopefully sooner than a few months), I’ll probably pick up a cheap used game from GameStop if they have anything good in the bin, but I’m in no rush. And if I happen to see the Ratchet reboot go on sale for a decent discount, I’ll probably snatch it up. I still have a ton of PS3 games, and I’m no hurry to make a clean break to the current generation of consoles.
So many friends have asked about when I’ll get PS+ for online play, and the answer to that is, “eventually.” With no games of my own and little free time to play video games anyway, I have no reason to get a subscription service that I won’t use right now. Sure, I’ll miss a few free games of the month, but it’s nothing I couldn’t buy outright later on, and be able to play even without an active PS+ subscription. As for the friends hounding me to get PS+, most of them play games I’m not interested in anyway. Destiny? No, thank you. I played the demo on PS3, and it was fun, but I have no interest in getting absorbed into such a huge time investment. Call o’ Booty? See above, I refuse to play that smut. Overwatch? Eh, I’ve got my Blizzard fill on Diablo right now, and I don’t really like most shooters anyway.
Though I mentioned a list of games that I would purchase upon upgrading in the blog post linked above, I’m really not so sure about those anymore. Ratchet is an obvious one, though I didn’t upgrade explicitly for it. A new Elder Scrolls game (not ESO) would be compelling, but probably not a day-1 purchase. If anything comes to light about a Crash Bandicoot reboot or sequel, that may very well be a midnight release purchase, but I have my doubts about that ever happening. I currently have Diablo III on PS3 that my wife and I play local co-op, but do I have much of a reason to roll it forward to PS4 besides improved graphics?
As for the rest, I’ll probably pick them over time if I catch them on sale for really cheap. If possible, I’d really like to avoid my current predicament with the PS3 and my gigantic (and possibly impossible) backlog of games. I will pick up games as I can play them, but I don’t want tons of games still in the plastic and no hope of playing them any time soon.
Will I play every PS3 game I own before I do jump ship to the PS4? Probably not, I have enough to last for probably years at my current gaming pace. I do, however, want to take a decent chunk out of it and hit the highlights at least. If I don’t play everything, who’s to say I can’t revisit the PS3 way down the road when the PS5 or PS6 is out? For now, I’m perfectly content with playing out my backlog of last gen games.
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