Forget PS5 and Xbox Series X: Why you should buy a PS4 or Xbox One right now

Forget PS5 and Xbox Series X: Why you should buy a PS4 or Xbox One right now
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

We’re only months away from the PS5 and Xbox Series X hitting shelves, but now is a better time than ever to buy a PS4 or Xbox One. The current generation of consoles are cheaper than ever, and feature superb libraries of games that will work on the next wave of systems. And by the looks of things, the PS4 and Xbox One will be supported well after the PS5 and Xbox Series X arrive. 

Sure, you’ll need a PS5 or Xbox Series X to enjoy features such as ray tracing, 8K visuals and near-instantaneous SSD load times. But until we learn more about their exclusive games, the next crop of consoles is shaping up to be more of a big performance bump than a true revolution in how we play. 

Here are three big reasons why the PS4 and Xbox One are still well worth buying.

PS4 and Xbox One games will work with PS5 and Xbox Series X 

Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 (Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

We already know that the PS5 and Xbox Series X will be backwards compatible with their previous-gen cousins, so the game library you build up on your PS4 and Xbox One will come with you once you upgrade to the new systems. And with each console having access to thousands of stellar games — from exclusives like Uncharted 4 and Gears 5, to shared third-party hits like Red Dead Redemption 2 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — you’ll have no shortage of options when it comes to building that library. 

Microsoft is taking backward compatibility a step further with its Smart Delivery system, which will allow you to buy Xbox One games such as Halo: Infinite and Cyberpunk 2077, and automatically enjoy their enhanced versions once you upgrade to an Xbox Series X. There’s no word yet on whether Sony will offer a similar upgrade system for PS5, but it seems safe to assume that your copies of Spider-Man, God of War and Horizon: Zero Dawn will work, at least. 

Plenty of new PS4 and Xbox One games are still coming 

The Last of Us Part II

The Last of Us Part II (Image credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Here’s one of the biggest reasons to hold off on a PS5 or Xbox Series X right now: There will likely be very few games that you’ll actually need a next-gen console to play when the two machines launch this holiday season. In fact, some of the biggest games of 2020 are being built specifically for current-gen consoles. 

Confirmed PS5 and Xbox Series X titles such as Outriders and Watch Dogs Legion will also be coming to PS4 and Xbox One when they release over the next year. Square Enix recently committed to supporting both generations for the near future. Halo: Infinite, the Xbox Series X’s big launch game, will also be playable on Xbox One. Given Microsoft’s track record of supporting multiple devices, we expect most Xbox Game Studios titles to be cross-gen for at least the next year or so.

And if you’re worried about the PS4 running out of support soon, know that two of the biggest PS4 exclusives yet are still on the way. Sony fans can look forward to the hotly anticipated The Last of Us 2 on May 29, as well as Ghost of Tsushima on June 26 — and you won’t need a PS5 to play either one. 

The PS4 and Xbox One are cheaper than ever 

Xbox One X

Xbox One X (Image credit: Future)

With the PS5 and Xbox Series X imminent, we’ve been seeing some of the best prices ever on the PS4 and Xbox One. When tracking the best PS4 deals and best Xbox One deals, we frequently find the PS4 for around $249, with the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition available for as low as $199 at the time of this writing.

Want to play in 4K? You can find the Xbox One X (normally $499) pretty easily for around $299 at various retailers, while the PS4 Pro (normally $399) has been dipping down to a similar price range. These consoles might not do 8K resolution and blistering 120fps frame rates, but they’ll likely make upcoming games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Doom Eternal look great. 


As with any new hardware platform, the PS5 and Xbox Series X will likely be well worth buying — eventually. It’s only a matter of time before each console gains great exclusives that you’ll need the new hardware to play, and the promise of enjoying top-of-the-line performance for the latest AAA games is an attractive one.

But you absolutely can’t go wrong buying a PS4 or Xbox One right now. Your current-gen console will get you access to thousands of great games (with more on the way), and thanks to backward compatibility, the PS4 or Xbox One library that you build up will come with you once it’s time to upgrade. No matter how soon you plan on jumping on the PS5 or Xbox Series X bandwagon, the current crop of consoles remains a great investment. 

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.