3 Reasons to Skip the Next-Gen Console for Now

The next generation of video-game consoles finally hits the market next month. And after about eight years between upgrades, the pent-up demand for new systems from Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) could be huge. If you believe GameStop (NYSE: GME  ) , the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 launches are tracking at "much stronger" numbers than the last generational upgrade.

However, as with most tech introductions, all of those early adopters will pay a high price for the newest gear -- and not just in dollars. That's why it might make sense to hold off on buying that next-gen device in favor of the current generation.

It costs how much?!
Price will probably be the single biggest hurdle for most gamers. Sony's PS4, the "cheap" one, will retail for $399. Microsoft's Xbox One, with its built-in motion detector, weighs in at a hefty $499. For perspective, either console option would take up more than half of the $750 that consumers tend to spend on all of their holiday shopping each year.

Xbox One. Source: Microsoft.

You can save a bundle by picking the current generation instead. For example, GameStop is selling used Xbox 360s for $120 through Oct. 24, and is letting go of used PS3 systems for just $150. Customers also get a $20 used game of their choice when they purchase one of those previously owned consoles. The closeout sale is a smart move for GameStop, which would love to clear its inventory before the wave of trade-ins hits next month. But it also could make loads of sense for gamers who don't already own both consoles and want to stretch those holiday shopping dollars.

PlayStation 4. Source: Sony.

Plenty to play
It isn't as if the current generation is dying off, anyway. Sony and Microsoft both plan to support their retiring boxes for years to come. Microsoft, for example, expects to release 100 new games for the Xbox 360 through 2016.

Sure, you won't be able to play some titles that will be exclusive to the next-gen systems in 2014. But that list is tiny compared with all the fresh gaming content that you can play on your current-gen system. Activision Blizzard's new Call of Duty game, Ghosts, and Electronic Arts' Battlefield 4 are just two prime examples that are coming this fall. And some massive new hits are already available, including Take-Two Interactive's (NASDAQ: TTWO  ) Grand Theft Auto 5, and EA's FIFA 14. It will take some time for the next-gen library of games to build to a critical mass, and meanwhile the content choices for the current generation is as deep as ever.

So many bugs
Sticking with today's technology also saves you the headache of dealing with the inevitable launch bugs. The new consoles will incorporate lots of upgraded online interactivity, which raises the likelihood that servers will be overwhelmed, patches will be required, and hardware might not work as advertised -- at least until the issues get fixed.

GTA V fans got a taste of that struggle this month, when the game's online launch went haywire, deleting characters and forgetting game progress along the way. After several tries at patching the problem, Take-Two hopes to have the issue solved in the coming week.

Foolish bottom line
Gamers can avoid a few hassles like those if they wait for the dust to settle before purchasing an Xbox One or PS4. Yes, the next-gen systems will finally bring console gaming to a new level starting in November. But that doesn't mean there isn't still plenty of fun to be had with today's models.

Next-gen research
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Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2013, at 4:18 PM, mmgonline wrote:

    Death of PC? I call BS. None of these new gens' can match the computing power of my system. And I can play all of those games at the highest quality achievable. Dual ATI 7990's will do that. I am pretty sure that my system can outlast the new gen systems, and probably till the next gen systems are finished off with as well.

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2013, at 4:19 PM, mmgonline wrote:

    Not to mention, I can plug in Xbox controller's, PS controllers, and play like I'm playing console.

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2013, at 4:37 PM, 2FoolForSkool wrote:

    Yeah let's not support the new consoles that'll be good for the industry.

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2013, at 5:25 PM, jaguarpaw wrote:

    If this was a debate you would lose. Your points are not very persuading. A decade between consoles makes the old ones obsolete on launch day. I have not bought a new game in 6 months waiting. Definitely buying a ps4 with GTAV on launch. Probably will buy Ghosts. Maybe a driver game to show off the next gen and my 3d tv to all my minions.

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2013, at 5:33 PM, jaguarpaw wrote:

    beep boop beep. (computer voice......) except for the fact that none of my friends are nerds and play games on computers...... beep boop beep

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2013, at 8:02 PM, loops73 wrote:

    @jaguarpaw hate to burst your bubble but gta5 will not be out on the new consoles till sometime in 2014

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2013, at 8:33 PM, TelsaRowe wrote:

    Death of the PC????? The Steam user base is expected to surpass PSN and Xboxlive users COMBINED by 2015. Oh yeah, and Steam users tend to spend twice as much as PSN and Xboxlive users. Interestingly, PC seems to be growing bigger.

  • Report this Comment On October 14, 2013, at 12:32 AM, Bunnyking77 wrote:

    The Motley Fools don't understand gaming or PCs.

  • Report this Comment On October 14, 2013, at 9:31 AM, hitmanz17 wrote:

    hey i hate to burst both of your bubbles but gta v is a currnet gen exclusive.

  • Report this Comment On October 14, 2013, at 11:42 PM, gaucho420 wrote:

    I agree completely. For me, this is the least excited I've been for a console launch, ever and I date back to the 2600 and own all the current consoles.

    Simply put, GTAV looks to be the best game out there, BF4 was noted to look not very impressive on the PS4 just a month ago on IGN, the pics I've seen of the new AC look the same on all platforms and Killzone is not a system seller...neither is knack. Killzone is not BF, Gears of War or COD...it is a B level game that only ubber hardcore shooters will buy.

    Titanfall, the one game that does look good, doesn't have a release date in sight outside of 2014...for me, that's next Holiday season talk.

    I make a ton of dough...I can easily afford all the consoles, but I choose not too as I would literally have no great exclusive to play.

    And Watchdogs IS ON ALL CONSOLES. Truly, I'm baffled as to the excitement for these consoles...a console is a box that does nothing without great games and that's exactly what the PS4 & Xbone look like to me today...boxes with no great exclusive games.

  • Report this Comment On October 14, 2013, at 11:47 PM, gaucho420 wrote:

    And death of the PC? Probably not, but the slowdown for sure.

    AS people transition to tablets to PCs, so will the games. Tablet gaming wlll surpace PC gaming in total sold games within 5 years...UNLESS, tablets become known as PCs.

    The last computer I bought was 6 years ago...I still use it just fine and have dumped PC gaming all together. Paying more money for PC gaming is not worth it given that having fun in gaming is not simply about who has the shiniest blade of grass.

    See the Wii, PS2 and DS sales stats for that...all underpowered consoles who have whooped the PC world's ass for years at a time. Despite not having real shiny grass!

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