You Still Don't Need A PlayStation 5

Illustration for article titled You Still Don't Need A PlayStation 5
Image: Sony

It’s been six months since the PlayStation 5 came out, and yet the Seto Kaiba action figure that can also run high-end video games remains comically hard to come by. For a while, this irked me. I wanted to be part of the new console generation—the zeitgeist. So I obsessively watched a Twitch channel dedicated to restock updates and even considered buying from a reseller. Then I got to thinking about what I’d actually do if I had a PS5 to call my own. Not much, it turns out.

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The PS5 has some dope features like highly tactile controller triggers and the ability to jump into different parts of a game at the push of a button, but banal as it might be to say this, I can’t think of a single game currently out or soon to be released that makes me want to shell out $500 (or significantly more if I go the resale route).

Like, what are we really looking at right now? Astro’s Playroom is a tech demo. Spider-Man: Miles Morales is also on PS4. Demon’s Souls is a solid remaster, but hardly earthshaking. Returnal seems neat, but it’s the kind of game I could play now or years from now; I’m not stressed about it. The games I’m most interested in are around the corner, but even they’re not urgent must-plays in my book. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart looks very good, but it’s part of a series whose heyday was three console generations ago. Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade means more Final Fantasy VII Remake—which I am, admittedly, desperate for—but it’s still ultimately DLC for a game I already finished on the PS4.

For now, those are the big ones. Horizon Forbidden West seems like it might come out this year, but it’s also going to be on PS4. God of War Ragnarok looks to be the PS5’s first truly heavy hitter, but for now it’s only got a vague 2021 release date—and that’s not guaranteed to hold firm, given that covid has turned the video game release date calendar into a giant slip ‘n’ slide. I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge smaller intrigues, like Kena: Bridge of Spirits, but again that one and others are also coming to PS4.

I’m not complaining; I’m actually pretty into this state of affairs. Especially while a new console is scarce and expensive, I’m happy to not need one (in the colloquial sense, because nobody actually needs any video game consoles). Part of this is by design, given how many games Sony is intentionally releasing on PS4 and PS5. I appreciate that approach. The rest comes down to the simple fact that neither next-gen console has a great game lineup right now, and while the PS5's is undeniably stronger, it’s still lacking depth. That’s maybe not the easiest pill for current owners to swallow, but it works out well for those of us who can’t get our hands on one.

Yesterday, as part of an investor presentation, Sony called this its “best ever post-launch lineup,” which is...debatable. And yet, despite the relative lack of games that necessitate the pricey upgrade, people are still searching feverishly for PS5s—even entering raffles (some of them sketchy) or buying at inflated prices. If that sounds like you, let me offer some reassurance: You still don’t need a PS5! You’re honestly not missing out on much. Use the money on something else. Spend it on a cheap vacation, your student loans, or a dog—any dog; it doesn’t even have to be your dog. That’s my advice to you, would-be PS5 owner: Give a dog $500. Someday, you’ll thank me.

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.

DISCUSSION

michaelalwill
michaelalwill

While I’m glad I got (and have) a PS5, I generally agree with this. There’s nothing that is an absolute must have on the system yet, though as someone who never upgraded to a PS4 Pro, it’s been nice to have something that performs better.