/ Technology

It doesn’t pay to be a gaming early adopter

Playing Sony NGP

Both Nintendo and Sony are releasing new handheld consoles this year. So should you purchase a console on day one – or is it going to be quickly overshadowed by a new-improved version?

Early adopters usually get a raw deal when it comes to technology, and gamers aren’t any different.

They usually have the dubious benefit of being the first to discover the flaws of a console, before tweaks and adjustments are made to subsequent iterations.

Originals rivalled by revised models

Take the DS. It’s received four revisions in as many years, with the original DS, DS lite, Dsi and Dsi XL all taking the previous model, adding functionality and improving it in some way. The PSP saw the 1000, 2000, 3000 and GO models all released in a similar time frame.

Home consoles are guilty of this too. Chances are if you bought an Xbox 360 in 2005, its shoddy hardware will mean that it’s no longer sat under your TV, but languishing on a rubbish dump somewhere.

That’s certainly what happened with my first 360. And my second. And my third. Fingers crossed, console number four will last longer. It’s served me well so far, thanks to the improved chip set.

Then, of course, there’s the redesigned Xbox 360, with it’s large internal memory and built-in wireless – both vast improvements on the original version. The PlayStation 3 has also seen a redesign (and I’m on my second one of those, in case you’re wondering).

There’s no doubt that these newer consoles are a lot more reliable and feature-laden than their original versions, so spending a premium on a lesser product for a day one launch seems a bit of a gamble. The 3DS and NGP will unquestionably be improved after their release.

Where’s the decent launch line-up?

Launch line-ups tend to be quite poor for new consoles, too. Consider some of the big name games of this generation, like Halo, Call of Duty, Uncharted, Mario Galaxy, Grand Theft Auto and Gran Turismo. Only one of those – Call of Duty – was a launch title, and that was before it became the huge success it is today.

Whilst there were a handful of decent games for this generation’s launches, a majority of them were rushed in time to cash in on the new consoles, and were soon forgotten.

Sony has yet to announce any release dates for the NGP games, but Nintendo has confirmed the titles that will be available for the 3DS launch. It’s a fairly barren list, with few of the big Nintendo franchises represented. There won’t be any Mario games available at launch, and whilst there is a Zelda title, it’s a remake of an older game, and won’t be available to buy on release day.

Then we come to the price. The 3DS sells for around £200 to £230, and there’s no word on the NGP’s price yet, although given its high tech innards, something over £250 seems likely. While there will be a clamour for some to have the latest gadget, once the initial excitement fades, will they justify the high price tag?

Comments
Guest
kcmayn says:
11 February 2011

Halo was a launch title.

Guest
YouAreSoBiased says:
11 February 2011

Take the DS, the original was much more sturdy, used the same cord as the previous handheld models (taken out in the Lite) and featured GBA backwards compatability (removed in the DSi and later models).

You also mentioned the PS3. the original models featured more USB slots, multiple card readers and full backwards compatability to PS2 (including most PS1 games).

As for the title games… there have been great title games for EVERY console in history (that is how they sell). Your example of the 3DS shows that you did not watch E3, where they showed that the 3DS has planned releases from well over 20 popular franchises, including famous companies like Konami, Square-Enix, and even a remake of Ocarina of Time, one of the most popular games of all time.

You CHOSE to only list big titles that weren’t released at launch, and STILL managed to miss that Halo was a launch title. At least do your research when writing something so biased…

Guest

Sadly another waste of time.

Every new gadget – instrument – car – we buy is flawed. It is price of buying something new.

So what?

Guest

Thanks for your comments everyone. I should have been clearer when speaking about launch titles. I was referring to the current generation of home consoles. I realise that Halo was a launch title for the original Xbox, but 360 owners had to wait a couple of years for the Halo 3 on the 360.

With regards to the 3DS announcement, rest assured I watched the whole thing! Yes, there are some big games coming, but not many of them are going to be available on ‘Day One’. In view of this, is it worth paying a premium for a console on release day, without having a solid software library behind it?

Guest

It’s not just games consoles. Ask anyone with an iPhone 3, 3G or 3GS wouldn’t they like the better display and much better battery life of the iPhone 4?

Guest

I agree that the price of consoles are incredibly inflated at release. In fact I waited a year before I bought the PS3 because I knew Sony would be forced to drop the price by a £100 or so. It’s common sense really – people are willing to pay top dollar for a new piece of tech, but once that initial interest drops off, the price will have to come down.

However, I am happy to have the original 60GB PS3, rather than the pared down models that are on the market now. Sure, the PS3 Slim has the advantage of a bigger hard drive, being quieter and cheaper to run. But I like having four USB ports, photo card ports, SACD support, and the ability to play PS2 games. Sometimes it pays to buy early.