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?