Over the course of the last year the two big words in the video game journalism industry have been “next-gen”. With the PS4 and Xbox One shipping last November, and the Wii U already being on the market for over a year, all journalists could contemplate were what the next generation would look like and how it would play. I was one of them (although classifying myself as video game journalist among some of the greats at Gameinformer, IGN and Giant Bomb etc., is a bit of a stretch). Following the E3 pre-order announcement of both consoles, I headed over to my local EB Games, where people were excitedly clamoring about the next gen. As I walked past some banners for the new consoles, I went up to the sales assistant excitedly, and asked how much for the Playstation 3 console. The sales assistant looked at me for a brief second, surprised by my choice of what would now be described as last gen. A few days later I had a PS3 title screen forming on my television, and a copy of The Last of Us in the disk drive. My name is Nick Clement, and I am happy late console adopter.
I was not always this way. Technically I did have a console from this last generation, the Wii, but like many, I mainly had it for the first party Nintendo games such as Super Mario Galaxy, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. I had bought that console early on, and looking back it had been a mistake. There were but a few good titles on the Wii at launch, as with any console. The virtual console did not have a whole lot to offer at first, and so I was mostly left with a few solid Wii games, and my old Gamecube titles to replay. It would take a few years after launch for the Wii catalogue to become truly worthy of my time and money, and so I patiently waited, playing the few games I had over and over. When it came to purchasing a new console it was not a mistake I was going to make twice. This experience led me to purchase the PS3 – granted it was nearly seven years after launch. Those seven years of missing out on great PS3 titles ended up being the best gaming decision I ever made.
Prior to owning a Playstation 3, I had played it over the years at friends, and really enjoyed their lineup of titles. However, back then I could not afford it, as I already bought a Wii, but also because my parents did not want another new console in our house, as the other console we recently bought would likely just lay there, collecting dust. That was a wise decision, for there was a time when I went on a PC gaming binge, and my Wii just sat there alone, begging for us to play just one more round of bowling. If I had a PS3 at that point, the Wii would never have graced our TV screen again, and I would have never picked up some rather random Wii titles that I came to enjoy. However, now I was on my own, in University, and with nothing but my PC game collection to comfort me. This changed once I saw The Last of Us gameplay trailer from the E3 2012 convention. “I am buying a PS3 for that game,” I immediately said after seeing the protagonist, Joel, blow some guy away with a shotgun. Nearly a year after seeing that trailer I did, and was happily playing the game whose trailer made me buy a PS3. The Last of Us, turned out to be a rare game in my PS3 collection, not because of how good it is (which don’t misquote me, it really is), but because it is the only game in my catalogue of titles in which is new.
My catalogue of PS3 games has quickly grown since then. I bought all of the Uncharted Games, which I came to adore (issues with the first one aside), the God of War series, Infamous 2, as well as countless other titles I missed out on over the years. The best part? I paid about sixty dollars for all those games, plus a few others. Scavenging my local second hand stores, I was able to find dozens of core PS3 titles that were all tossed aside upon the announcement of the next generation, as well as a few hidden gems. I did not have to wait for a new title to be released. I had a whole backlog to catch up on, and I enjoyed every moment of it. As one point, upon beating the first Uncharted, I had a rather odd moment when I thought, “What am I going to play now?”. Looking at my shelf, I foolishly laughed to myself, where Among Thieves and Drake’s Deception lay waiting for me to begin Nate and Sully’s next grand adventure. Sure, I may not be experiencing these titles at the same time as my friends did, but that does not take any enjoyment out of playing them. The story or game play is not diminished because I am playing them a few years late. In fact I found it to be better, from the perspective of a critic, as it allowed me to see how titles evolved as developers came to learn more about the tech. Just looking at Naughty Dog’s games, you can see how much their game play and storytelling abilities changed as they came to learn more about the console- It is quite impressive.
Another important aspect that cannot be ignored, are the graphics. I am aware there are dozens of arguments in which can be made about graphics not being everything to a game, but my response is try going back to earlier generations, such as the N64 or early PS1. They may have some great games, but often they do not hold up visually. That is not the case with this last generation. Yes some games may look a bit rough around the edges, but they hold the test of time. You can play Resistance, Call of Duty 3 and many other launch games, and they still hold up visually. Things only get better as you move forward, as I have come to quickly learn in my backlog of games.
One of the best reasons for becoming a late adopter of a PS3 is PlayStation Plus. Released in 2010, PlayStation Plus, or PS+, gave gamers access to demos, betas, unique content, and later free games, as long as you remain a member. When I bought my PS3, it came with a free year of PS+, a fifty dollar expense, in which I will be definitely renewing. If I would have bought a PS3 in 2006, I would have likely bought many of the games already available on the PS+ at the moment. However, now I have even more to play, and it is essentially free- In the first month alone, I picked up X-Com: Enemy Unknown and Hitman: Absolution, games in which, at the time, were well over the subscription price for PS+. Since then I have accumulated an even greater backlog of games thanks to PS+, which is pretty much the Godfather of subscription services- Just when I thought I was out they pull me back in. This service is a great way for late adopters to get caught up on great titles for a minimal fee, and every month just as you beat a game, they tempt you with three new ones. I have not even cracked the hard drive space on my console, and so I cannot wait to download each set of games month after month.
Being a late console adopter can be a bit of a nuisance, especially when your friends are bragging about all of the next gen games they get to play, and you cannot play alongside them. However, once you realise that they are going to run out of games rather quickly, and the number of bugs and issues they will undoubtedly face, it makes sense to wait. Being a generation behind should never be seen as a negative. You get to experience a whole new range of games for a smaller price, do not have to deal with fickle issues in which every new console suffers with, and will always have something to play. So now if you excuse me I am going to go and play DMC: Devil May Cry for the first time, while my friends continue to re-play Call of Duty: Ghosts and Killzone: Shadow Fall on their new PS4’s because they have nothing new to play. After I am done with that, I have six more years to catch up on. By the time I am done, the PS4 will be last gen and then look at who has a whole new generation of games to play? I better get gaming.
*So what are your thoughts? Do you enjoy staying a console generation behind, or do you always have to be up to date with the latest generation. Would love to see your feedback in the comments below.*