Can’t get a new console? Here are some things to do instead
It’s fair to say that the much-anticipated launch of the PlayStation 5, the Xbox Series S and the Xbox Series X wasn’t exactly an unqualified success. Yes, some lucky people did manage to receive their shiny new consoles on launch day, or a few days afterwards, and from what we hear, they weren’t disappointed. But many more experienced frustration as they were simply unable to get hold of the next-generation consoles when they were meant to hit the stores.
Every website that was meant to be selling the PS5 crashed on release day, and the situation with both Xbox models wasn’t much better. Even preorders were affected, as the pandemic took its toll on the already complex logistics of delivery. With demand far outpacing supply, retailers and customers alike were left in the dark as to when their consoles would actually arrive. And ,as expected, delivery times receded even further into the future, it seemed the much-heralded “new era for gaming” was still buffering. Let’s not mince words: it was chaos!
So if you’re one of the many who hoped to have a new PS5 or next-gen Xbox all set up and ready to go, but instead are looking at an empty space in front of your TV, how can you assuage your disappointment? The good news is that there’s still plenty you can do, and also reasons why you should maybe feel smug for not getting a new console on launch day, rather than feeling left out.
Play games online
Whatever level of technology you have access to, so long as you have a decent internet connection, there are plenty of exciting games you can play, often for free. You can even try your hand at winning real money at the Chumba Casino online, which unlike some sites happily accepts players from the US and Canada. There are also some very generous sign-up offers.
If you have a desktop PC, a laptop, a mobile tablet or even just a smartphone, there are games you can play that will more than help you pass the time. You may not get the flash graphics and detailed sonic sculpting of the next-gen consoles, but streamed games actually allow for much more complexity than many downloaded or cartridge games, as all the data is hosted on a powerful remote computer, not your device. Indeed, many feel that cloud gaming is the future and that, despite the hype, the days of the standalone console are numbered.
Stick to current gen for now
If you’ve already got a PS4, Xbox One or gaming PC, chances are you’ve already got the current-gen versions of many of the games that would be available on the PS5 or Series X. Even though they may not be the absolute best version, they probably aren’t that different in terms of the actual experience, especially if you haven’t got a 4k TV.
Wait for a mid-cycle upgrade
Yes, it’s great to be an early adopter and have the shiny new thing as soon as it comes out: or that’s what Sony and Microsoft’s hype and promotion campaigns would have us believe. The truth is that it pays to wait. Historically, the first iteration of a new console generally has assorted hardware bugs that are fixed over the next few months, while still costing a premium price. And they also have hardly any must-have exclusive games in the library as yet.
So wait a few months, or even a year or so, until the inevitable mid-cycle upgrade. We guarantee the consoles will be tweaked for even better performance, the opening night bugs will be fixed, there will be far more games available and the price will also drop substantially. You may even be able to just walk into the store and pick it up, or have it delivered the next day.
Therefore, if you haven’t been able to nab a new next-generation console, don’t despair. You’re probably better off waiting anyway. In the meantime, keep playing your old favorites, or seek out new gaming experiences online. If you’re feeling really radical, you could even put your screen away and go for a walk in the country, cook a meal or read a book. It’s okay: your games will still be waiting for you when you get back. And once the PS5, Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X have had their glitches fixed and have built up a decent library of must-have games, you’ll have read the reviews and will know which one you want to go for. Then, and only then, you can make your move.