We are one year into the next generation of Sony and Microsoft video game consoles, which means we should be calling it the current generation — except that most fans of both companies are still using a PlayStation 4 or an Xbox One.
The biggest reason is a global microchip shortage that is likely to extend into next year or beyond. Bloomberg quoted these foreboding words from a Toshiba executive in September: “In some cases, we may find some customers not being fully served until 2023.”
Despite that, Sony has managed to sell more than 13 million PlayStation 5 consoles, according to a report last week from Eurogamer, though I don’t know a single person other than myself who owns one. How did I pull it off? By following the right Twitter accounts (start with @GameStop and @Wario64) and being on that infernal platform constantly, watching for restock posts. That was easier to do early this year, when many of us were still staying home, bored and unvaccinated.
I struck virtual gold in February and settled for Sony’s cheaper (but still ludicrously expensive) all-digital version of the PS5, which means it has no disc drive — and that I couldn’t play my PS4 physical copies of “Death Stranding” or “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” on my new $400 toy. Yes, my PS4 still works, but it also has interminably long loading times when compared to the PS5.
So far, that reduction in down time is the No. 1 reason to get the new system. The best example is “Spider-Man: Miles Morales,” which goes almost instantly from title screen to gameplay with one press of the X button.
But there’s another glaring problem with PS5 and Xbox Series X/S: Games, not faster loading times, should be the main draw. That so far is not the case for this PlayStation owner, who has yet to buy a game exclusive to the new console generation.
by signing up you agree to our terms of service
The holiday season’s biggest releases will all be cross-generational: Microsoft has “Forza Horizon 5” (Tuesday) and “Halo Infinite” (Dec. 8); Sony has “Solar Ash” (Dec. 2); and both have “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy” (out now), “Far Cry 6” (out now), “Call of Duty: Vanguard” (Friday, Nov. 5), the remastered “Grand Theft Auto” trilogy (Nov. 11) and “Among Us” (finally on consoles Dec. 14).
So, what are the main take-aways one year into this new era for Sony and Microsoft? Stick with what you’ve got until at least next Christmas. If you must upgrade, buy a console with a disc drive.
And perhaps most importantly, get a Nintendo Switch instead — you can’t play “Metroid Dread” anywhere else, after all.
• Sean Stangland is an assistant news editor who wishes he had kept all his “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” stuff from the Xbox 360 era.