Are you one of those gamers who regularly pre-order consoles and games before they hit the stores?
If you are, you can learn something from the pre-order mayhem that arose during the latest video game console wars.
I’m a hardcore gamer who has never believed in pre-orders. And after what happened, I’m convinced I have been doing the right thing.
This month, both Sony and Microsoft said they would open pre-orders for their new consoles, which are due to be released in November.
But things did not go well at all.
At Sony’s PlayStation 5 (PS5) showcase event on Sept 17, it was announced that pre-orders for the console would start a day later.
Then, a few hours after the event, online retailers opened pre-orders and all available consoles were snapped up within hours.
In Singapore, the PS5 retails at $729 for the regular version and $599 for one without an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive. On the Sony Singapore website, both models, which will launch on Nov 19, are listed as out of stock.
Four days after the fiasco, Sony apologised to fans on Twitter, admitting that the process could have been a lot smoother and promising to have more consoles for pre-order.
Rival Microsoft, which is releasing the Xbox Series X – the successor to the Xbox One X – appeared to be gloating when it assured fans not to worry, because it would “let (them) know the exact time” the orders would begin.
The pre-order started on Tuesday last week. It was no bungle like Sony’s, but it turned out to be a disaster too. Reports said Amazon customers had trouble loading the pre-order page and instead saw only error pages.
The good news for Microsoft was that sales of the Xbox One X reportedly rose – but probably because some gamers, in a state of panic buying, mistakenly thought they were getting the Xbox Series X. After all, the names of the old and new consoles are pretty close.
While I understand the joy of being among the first to own a new product, a new console is only as valuable as the games you play on it… Experienced gamers will tell you the best games will not come so soon.
On the Microsoft Singapore website, the Series X ($699.99) and the Series S ($459), a disc-less, non-4K option, are also listed as out of stock. They launch on Nov 10.
Microsoft tweeted on Wednesday last week that it was “humbled” by the “record-breaking demand” for its new consoles and that gaming fans could expect more consoles to be available at launch.
While I understand the joy of being among the first to own a new product, a new console is only as valuable as the games you play on it.
Both Sony and Microsoft are offering new titles when they launch their consoles, as well as subscription gaming services for fans to stream or download games.
But experienced gamers will tell you the best games will not come so soon.
Xbox’s Gears Of War 5 was released to good reviews last year, six years after the Xbox One X hit the market. And when The Last Of Us Part 2 came out this year for the PS4, it broke sales records and bowled fans over with gorgeous graphics that might have been expected only in the new PS5.
Developers tend to produce better games when they have had more time to assess the hardware’s capabilities.
So, no matter which console you’re a fan of, you’re not missing out if you do not secure a pre-order.
Give it a couple of years. The next console is likely to be better, with higher-quality games to boot.
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