I’m sitting here scratching my head. Every working day, I drag my weary carcass out of bed, brew a mug of coffee, rub the sleep out of my eyes and help people find where to buy the PS5 and where to buy Xbox Series X. And every time the PS5 and Xbox Series X come back in stock, they sell out in minutes (or seconds).
Yet the demand is just as high now as it was when these consoles launched. And you even tweet at me, pleading if I can find you a new console. (And the same thing happens for the where to buy PS5 in the U.K. and where to buy Xbox Seires X in the U.K.).
This has me utterly befuddled. I simply don’t understand why so many of you are so keen to buy games consoles that have only a few new games for them. In my humble opinion, there’s no point trying to buy Microsoft or Sony’s machines when neither have a game that’s broken fresh ground in celebration of a new console generation.
I know it’s trivially easy for me to sit here and say that; don’t @ me. Thanks to my job, I’m fortunate enough to have both the PS5 and Xbox Series X. But if I didn’t have them, my gaming life would be barely any different.
Yes, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla looks great on my Series X, but it still runs on the Xbox One. Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Hitman 3 are both very good games, and metaphorically caress eyeballs with their graphics. But you can play both on a PS4.
As it stands, the Xbox Series X has no exclusives. Nor will it, as every game from Xbox Game Studios will come out on the Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One consoles for the next two years.
The PS5 has Demon’s Souls, which is fantastic and looks great. But it’s a remake of a decade-old game. And if you want to play a more mechanically modern From Soft title then Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Dark Souls 3, or Bloodborne are the better bests — all of which are on the PS4.
We’re now more than two months into the new generation. Yet there’s still no exclusive game that makes either console a must-buy-right-now machine.
I don’t suggest you play Cyberpunk 2077 on a last-gen console. But in its current buggy state and with graphics upgrades coming, it’s not an essential PS5 or Series X game.
Play the waiting game
As both Gaming Editor Marshall Honorof and I have been saying for a number of months now, you don’t need either of the new games consoles yet. (Not that anyone ever needs a games console, but you catch my drift.)
Yet despite our vehement ‘next-gen’ warnings and caveats, the world is seemingly desperate to find a PS5 or Xbox Series X. This is especially true for scalpers, who are relying on bots to grab all the stock for themselves.
Fellow editor Henry T. Casey also fell into the trap of scrambling to find a PS5. Even though he said he’s not particularly into any of the PS5’s launch games; he said he just wanted one. Henry put this down to simply being bored under coronavirus restrictions and wanting something new to stave off the drudgery of life in 2020/2021.
And this could be a feeling that many of you must relate to, as it’s the only explanation I can see for the sheer number of folks scabbling to get a PS5 each time new stock drops. Henry eventually saw the light and gave up caring about PS5 restocks. He decided that the mad dash to get even close to buying the console was not worth the time and effort.
As a tech journalist, I completely get the pull of new tech. But when it comes to game consoles, which last for years, I’m a bit befuddled. I can understand the appeal of getting a new iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S21. Even if it’s not a huge upgrade over your last phone, it’s still a device you can use constantly each day.
That’s not something you can do with the PS5 once you’ve played its initial clutch of launch games; you certainly don’t want to spend too long looking at its bulky body either.
In short, you should really just wait. Give it some four months and not only will the days be lighter and the air warmer, but the PS5 and Xbox Series X will have more games and likely be easier to buy.
Of course, I’m shouting into the void here. You’re not going to listen. In fact, you’ve probably moved on to checking stock for both consoles.
The Xbox One X is still great — and so is the Switch
Oh hello….you’re still here. And you want to know what you can do in the meantime? Well, allow me to point you in the direction of the Xbox One X.
What was once seen as a supercharged Xbox One for a niche audience has come into its own over the past couple of years. As 4K TVs become commonplace, having a console that can do a form of 4K gaming makes sense.
The power of the One X isn’t to be sniffed at, either. Other than load times, it can currently run games like Red Dead Redemption 2 just as well as the Series X (a next-gen update down the line could change that). It might not quite polish the pixels of some games to the same shiny level as the next-gen consoles, but it still kicks out a lot of impressive visuals. And it’s a lot more compact than its successor.
Bear in mind that any game you get on the One X, or via the bargain that is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you’ll be able to play on a Series X when you upgrade. When that time comes you can then use your One X as a secondary Xbox gaming machine. Simply plug it into a spare TV or monitor for a bit of desk-based console gaming, as I’ve done.
If you already have a One X or simply don’t fancy it, then may I direct your attention to the Nintendo Switch.
With the Switch now approaching four years in age, it’s a mature console. That means there’s a lot of very good and well-polished games to play on it. And each year seems to bring more stellar games for what’s on paper, an underpowered gaming machine. It also trounces the PS5 and Xbox Series X when it comes to actual console design innovation.
If the Xbox One X or Nintendo Switch don’t strike your fancy then I can’t help you. Maybe you can could spend some of your time walking or making sourdough. And books are good; people like those.