Over the past few months, I’ve seen a not-insignificant amount of people claim they’re waiting to buy a PS5 because there’s not enough exclusive games on Sony’s next-gen machine at present.
It’s hard to argue to the contrary. The PS5 only launched with two console-exclusive titles, Demon’s Souls and pack-in freebie Astro’s Playroom. And the vast majority of upcoming first-party and third-party games will be releasing across generations, meaning that PS4 owners can experience these titles as well.
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While there is a decent handful of PS5-only titles coming through the rest of the year including Returnal, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, and Horizon Forbidden West, most of the games releasing on the next-gen PlayStation this year can be equally enjoyed on Sony’s previous console.
I’ve been fortunate enough to own a PS5 from launch day, and during that time I have played just two games only available on the new console. The wonderful Astro’s Playroom, and the very disappointing Destruction All-Stars. Neither of which I actually had to pay for either.
Thanks to national lockdowns I’ve already put in an amount of game time on my PS5 that I’d be ashamed to print. However, almost all of this has been spent playing games that I could have played on my PS4 Pro which is now collecting dust in a cupboard.
You might think buyer’s remorse might have kicked in by now, leaving me wondering why I forked out £450/$500 just to spend the majority of my time playing games I already had access to. You’d be wrong. With each passing play session, my purchase becomes increasingly worthwhile.
The best place to play
The value of my PS5 purchase has truly solidified this week after I returned to the world of Control for a second playthrough after originally playing the game at launch in 2019 on PS4.
Even on my PS4 Pro the Control ran poorly. It's beautiful with a complex and quite impressive physics system. But the PS4 just cannot handle it.
The framerate would stutter endlessly, to the point where the ability to levitate items and throw them at enemies could become unusable due to the framerate slowing to a crawl.
The PS5 version of the game, which also packs in all the DLC, runs at a smooth 60 frames per second. Defeated enemies explode in a shower of partials effects, while the framerate remains constantly rock-solid. Playing Control on my PS5 felt inherently next-gen, especially as the loading times were nearly instantaneous due to the console’s speedy SSD.
I had similar experiences playing Assassins Creed: Valhalla and Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PS5. Getting to explore the wild English countryside and swing around a snow-covered New York with a smooth 60 fps framerate and in gorgeous 4K resolution was a genuine treat.
Sure, I could have played these games on PS4, but why would I want to? Graphics aren’t everything when it comes to gaming, but a boosted framerate is a genuine game-changer. I tried to go back to Bloodborne the other week, which is still locked at 30 fps even on PS5, and found it a sluggish mess.
I’m extremely excited about several upcoming cross-gen releases like Resident Evil Village and Back 4 Blood. And when these games come around I want to play them on a system that can truly handle them. The PS4 is eight years old and started showing its age even before the PS5 released. Playing the latest releases on a PS4 is a compromised experience.
PS5 exclusives are coming
It’s also worth pointing out that with each passing month the argument that the PS5 has no exclusive games holds less and less water.
The next three months games like Returnal, Deathloop, and Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart will only be playable on PS5. Plus later in the year Gran Turismo 7 will come along to really showcase the graphical power of the PS5.
Sure it’s a bit odd that Horizon Forbidden West is going cross-gen when the game footage shown off so far looks like it would crush the PS4's graphics hardware into a silicon soup. But as discussed above, the PS4 will not be the ideal place to play that game; I’m sure of it.
The exclusives are coming in time, and some of the best-looking games of the year will play best on PS5 (at least in the console space).
What’s the point of waiting?
Ultimately, what’s the point of waiting to buy a PS5?
Sony is currently struggling to fulfill the demand for the PS5 due to a global chip shortage, which might actually be set to get worse in the near future. This is all while demand continues to grow. This perfect storm has created a stock shortage the likes of which we’ve not seen since the Nintendo Wii launched back in 2006.
If you’re expecting the console to be available at a discount or bundled with a couple of extra games in time for the holiday season, then I think you’re dreaming. If anything the value of the console is likely to increase. After all, not enough supply to meet demand doesn’t result in discounts, it leads to price hikes.
Now I don’t think it’s likely that Sony will increase the retail price of the PS5. But I do think we’ll be waiting potential years before the console’s first price cut. Especially as holiday demand will only further exacerbate the current stock problems later this year.
Some people might be holding off for a potential PS5 Pro, but that feels pretty unlikely to arrive any time soon. After all the PS5 has only been out for a little over four months.
Don’t forget that the global chip shortage will probably delay the launch of an upgraded PS5 console as well. The backlog of chip demand is expected to take several years to clear, and that’s assuming the situation doesn’t get worse.
If you have the financial means to purchase a PS5 and are fortunate enough to win the PS5 restock game (easier said than done), then I can’t think of any reason not to pull the trigger on the purchase. Even when playing PS4 games on the machine you’ll see the value of the console.