Next generation gaming consoles experience rough launch

After seven years with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, a new generation of gaming consoles is being released.

While the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S have experienced launch issues due to shortages, they certainly have potential to revolutionize video games through their powerful hardware and architecture.

After more than seven years with previous generation consoles, the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S are finally here.

The main selling point for the new consoles is their powerful hardware and architecture, allowing for better performance across the board. Players can expect nonexistent loading times,

4K resolution, and up to 120 frames per second for extremely smooth gameplay.

Accompanying Microsoft’s launch of the new Xbox is the Xbox Game Pass, a monthly ten dollar subscription that gives players access to hundreds of games, both old and new. The subscription service was very well received, as it included many games that retailed for sixty dollars, but would only be worth playing a couple of times. 

Of the two consoles, Sony’s PlayStation 5 will likely hold the greater audience because of its exclusive first-party games. Sony owns multiple game studios such as Insomniac Games, Naughty Dog, and Sucker Punch Productions, which each produce high-quality games with a focus on both rich storytelling and gameplay. Some of the studios’ notable releases include The Last of Us series, God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and the Uncharted series.

Like most hardware launches, the gaming consoles’ demands are through the roof. Accordingly, they sell out almost instantly. 

On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic has further complicated Sony and Microsoft’s logistical challenge of shipping millions of their consoles around the world. 

One of the most frustrating issues for customers has been the lack of communication from retailers on when to expect new stock, which leaves them desperately searching the internet for any way they can purchase a new console. Most often, they come back empty-handed.

While the retail price of the PS5 and Xbox Series X is $500, scalpers on eBay are charging more than $1,200. Despite the extremely high cost, most of these consoles are still being purchased, presumably as Christmas gifts.

Riley McCarry ‘21 was one of many who tried to get a new console early on.

My friend and I went to the GameStop that night around 9 o’clock p.m.,” McCarry said. “Overall, the experience was great.”

Expectedly, GameStop was the only retailer for McCarry where he could purchase a new console.

“GameStop was the only place that announced it would have consoles in stock on that day,” McCarry said, “and since they were sold out everywhere else, it was the only place we could get one.”

Despite arriving early, McCarry was still behind a small crowd. 

“Even though we got to the GameStop ten hours before opening, we were still about fourteen people deep into the line,” McCarry said.

With everyone lined up to get a new console, it made for easy conversations between McCarry and others.

“My friend and I were playing cards with the people around us, watching movies on our phones and just having conversation,” McCarry said. “We talked to everyone about the different consoles and the different games we all were trying to get as well.

McCarry was aiming to get the Xbox Series S because of its cheaper pricing and value.

“Personally, I wanted the Xbox Series S, which is the cheaper version of the Xbox Series X, because I didn’t want to break the bank,” McCarry said. “Also, the PS5 just didn’t have much better stats than the Series S to make it worth the extra 200 dollars.”

Unfortunately for McCarry, Gamestop was already sold out by the time he was able to get inside.

“Come opening time, they only had two of each console,” McCarry said, “and the two families in front bought all of them which was a huge bummer.”

While McCarry wasn’t able to get a new console, the experience was memorable and he will likely do something like it again.

“The experience itself was still fun, and I will probably end up doing something similar later down the road.”

Even with the inevitable launch difficulties of the new gaming consoles, their demand and hype undoubtedly show that they will play a pivotal role in how video games are played.