Another round of the arms race

It never ends. If the rumors are to be believed, the next round of consoles will hit as early as 2010. Didn’t we just leave this party?

No, you haven’t, say Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. The party never ends so long as you’re willing to give us your money. And plenty of gamers are willing to do just that. But I’m no longer one of them. Games sure aren’t getting any cheaper, and the price of admission is getting tougher and tougher to stomach. I won’t mind dropping a few hundred dollars on a new high-definition television when I get back home — it would be stupid to buy anything else. But dropping hundreds of dollars on a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 when I barely have time to play games as it is? What a waste, my conscience says. I still have to finish Super Robot Taisen Z, Final Fantasy XII and Persona 3.

But there’s another side. A side that says that I’m liable to be left in the dust as we rush headlong into the next level of the perpetual arms race. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if 2010 hits, and I suddenly find myself not one but two generations behind the curve.

Who knows? It might not be so bad to take a backseat in gaming’s rat race. Maybe I’m okay with just looking back to the thirty years of gaming that I’ve missed, rather than scampering to keep up with the latest and greatest. Maybe I’ve reached the point where I’m happy to leave Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony to their arms race while I give the PS2’s library the justice it deserves. Maybe I can save myself a night standing in line while I spend my money on a trip to Europe. Maybe I can finally find the time to play Shin Megami Tensei and Chrono Trigger.

Maybe I’m crazy. Or maybe I’m not alone. Stranger things have happened.

21 thoughts on “Another round of the arms race

  1. I basically gave up this generation, and have resolved to play portables. Since they’re like half as expensive all around. I am having a great time with them and also discovering some past gems like you are.

  2. Well, well said. It was a relief reading this, knowing that many obsessive gamers (including myself) share your plight.

    But as you wrote, maybe being behind in games isn’t such a bad thing. It’s a way to cherry-pick the good from so many old titles, instead of scampering for the latest and watching your money whittle away.

    Oddly, though, your Mario/Sonic picture got me all nostalgic for their ye olde rivalry. I miss childhood debates on the playground, during which I’d insist that Mario is better, clearly, because he’s not trying to be cool.

  3. Traumadore knows where it’s at, besides my trusty DS Lite, my last console purchase was a Sega Dreamcast, albeit at the end of its life span.

    Console gaming has long since stopped catering to my tastes, which is as well since I would rather play SNES over PS3 or 360 any day.

  4. I don’t plan on joining the current generation until it ends. Worked out great with my 2006 PS2 purchase. Gives great perspective on which console is right for you, not to mention the consoles are as cheap as they’re going to get and you can find most games used for reasonable prices.

  5. As someone who’s still filling out his PS2 and GC collection, I hear ya. I actually enjoy being a little bit behind the curve – it gives me a lot more time to give some great games the love they deserve instead of rushing to keep up with the pulse of the current gen.

    (It’s also a bit cheaper, since a game’s price will mostly likely have gone done by the time I catch up, but that’s neither here nor there.)

  6. Welcome to the club. I got a DS and PSP 2 weeks ago, right after I got done going through every single GBA ROM ever made. My most advanced console is a PS2 I rescued from a trash can in 2004.
    Take your time, explore every console’s library as much as you can. Launch-day lines and $50 games are stupid!

  7. You definitely NOT alone.

    In 2010 I’ll be finishing college and starting my teaching career, so I’ll have neither the time or the money to put money into a new generation of consoles (I probable be paying for a nice house to live in in. Besides, I was so bogged down with games to play that I sold my Wii so I could focus on my 360 and DS. Besides, with achievements, I have at least 15 more years of gameplay to go through.

    Also, you’re going to Europe? Cool! I’m doing a foreign exchange program at the University of Stockholm this winter/spring (which explains why I sold my Wii to get the money to live there).

  8. Yeah, that was supposed to be “probably”, not “probable”. Good thing I won’t be an English teacher.

  9. Well, I’ve been to Europe before. ;) But there’s a reasonable chance that I’ll be hitting either Italy or England around this time next year. Nice to have money for that kind of thing.

  10. I joined this generation on December 2nd, 2006 with my purchase of a Wii. I also bought a PS3 almost solely for Metal Gear (on MGS4 launch day). Honestly I’ve spent more time playing my DS, PS2, SNES/SFC, and even NES than I have my Wii or PS3. I’m so far behind on my backlog that I am considering skipping the entire next generation just so I can finish the 128/256-bit era (I’m looking at you, Disgaea and SMT: Nocturne)! Besides, I’ve had the most fun with my SNES and SFC. I think you’ve made a good decision.

  11. I don’t think the next gen of consoles will hit until 2011. Sony has said they want a long life-cycle to the PS3, and considering that some of their biggest games and system-wide initiatives haven’t even hit yet (Home, trophies just started, stuff like God of War 3 haven’t even been shown yet), I’m willing to believe them. Microsoft’s new console might be out by 2010, but they’re still doing so well with the 360, I would ride that horse as long as they can. The only one I really see launching earlier is Nintendo, because they actually get profits from their new hardware, and the Wii is already behind tech spec-wise.

    And you know, even 2010…that’s two years off. That may not sound like that long, but it’s longer than you think.

  12. PLF summed it up for me as well. 2010?!? Geez, it seems so close.

    I am getting a DS by the end of the year and I have actually been looking online for a Neogeo Pocket Color to grab. There are some nice-looking console games for this generation, but the handhelds and older consoles have so much untapped potential left for me.

  13. You’re surely not the only one. Overall I’m in a backlog-reduction mode, and that means mopping up dozens of last-gen titles.

    Mirror’s Edge -might- get me to pick up a 360. Maybe. But even once that comes out, I’ll be thinking, all agonized: “spend $350 to get to play this shiny new thing… or keep working on things like KotOR, Kingdom Hearts II, and more?”

  14. I got sucked into buying all the consoles of this generation, and aside from my 60 GB PS3 (Basically, my upscaling PS2), they kinda just gather dust. I’ve come really close to selling my 360, I hardly touch it anymore. The Wii…..I keep it around so I can play Twin Snakes in 480p and the occasional game of Smash.

    I should really sell my unused stuff off and focus on the older stuff. This post may have motivated me to do so :)

  15. It’s encouraging to hear this from other people. So little has actually motivated me to play “new” console games lately, and I’m not sure why. It may be because I’m getting older, it may be that I’ve gone through the cycle of hype for a game, getting psyched up over it, and then buying it only for the hype to begin on the next “big” title and diminish my excitement for my first purchase so many times.
    Recently, on a private message board, some friends and I were listing games we were excited for that were coming out soon, and I felt a little like a spoil-sport and a snob when I only listed Dragon Quest IV, Chrono Trigger DS and Mega Man 9 – all remakes of older games or new games designed in the fashion of older games.
    I don’t want to live the “gamer” lifestyle – I just want to play fun games. And for me, more and more, the fun games are the not the new ones.

  16. Absolutely. I’m glad to see that I’m in good company here in regard to my gaming habits. I just don’t see the point in paying several hundred dollars in startup money (not to mention $60 bucks a game!) to play new releases that, in all honesty, really don’t seem like that much of an evolution over the last generation to me. Besides, I’m having a blast playing through the PS2’s immense backlog, as there were a ton of wonderful games that I missed the first time around (such as Shadow of the Colossus and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time). Of course, Mega Man 9 inspired me to dig out my NES and play Mega Man 2 and 3 again, as well…

    In short, there’s just way too much gaming goodness to be had for a low price on older systems to be able to justify the price of staying with the gaming curve. Excellent post, Kat!

  17. Like so many other people here have admitted I’ve not even started on THIS generation even though there are games on the new systems that interest me. I just have more than enough to get through now.

    New systems in 2010 would be terrible. Weren’t these machines supposed to have a ten-year lifespan? I could see Sony looking for a reason to jump it’s sinking ship but if Nintendo of Microsoft did this it would just be extortion.

  18. Here’s a question for you: are you actually going to finish those games you mentioned? If you really are, then the complaint is valid. But a lot of gamers have moved on from the PS2 gen and aren’t too excited by its offerings anymore. And looking at the sales figures, the HD consoles aren’t doing too hot outside the dedicated gamer market, so something needs to be done to keep customers interested (in other consoles besides Wii and DS). And on the other side, Wii is getting upgrades like MotionPlus and the SD card upgrade, which will eventually start to built up, so why not push a little more power with a Wii 2 integrating MotionPlus and significantly increased SSD memory now that flash memory has really taken off? We need a reboot of the current generation, and 2010-2012 won’t be any too soon. Actually, 2012 is stretching it.

  19. Yeah. I have a PS3, but it was originally bought mainly as a PS2/Blu-ray/digital-media player. The *first* real next-gen game I’m really excited for is coming out next week. The current gen should just be really hitting its stride, with games that have actually figured out how to take full advantage of the existing platforms, around 2010.

    Putting out new consoles then just does not seem like a sound strategy. Honestly, I’m half-inclined to think that most such rumors are only started to keep the hardcore press buzzing and guessing about a particular company’s hardware strategy, with very little intention of it actually happening on that schedule.

  20. New consoles so soon would be horrible… but I doubt the story has any validity to it. Like people have already said, no way in hell Sony would abandon ship on the PS3 so soon. I see something akin to the DSi for the Wii. 360 is the only system that could potentially be edged out by 2010. So yea, I wouldn’t worry too much.

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