Opinion: Xbox One X and PS4 Pro: Are mid-gen consoles a problem?

Lessons to learn

Perhaps you’re accepting the current trends in the gaming industry, but still wish you’d seen it coming to avoid that bitter taste on your tongue. Don’t worry, gaming goes on and there’s still the next season to look forward to, with your PS5s and Xbox random-number. Here’s what gamers can do to get the most out of gaming.

The casual gamer

For the casual gamer, these updates probably won’t rock your world. Whatever console plays current games will likely do.

If that’s you, it’s rather flexible. You wait a couple of years for the “Pro” editions to be released, while games for your past-gen console slowly dwindle. It could be a challenging few years, but you know you’re looking forward to a properly significant leap. Alternatively, buy the day-one edition when it comes out and enjoy the games without looking over your shoulder when the “Pro” models are released. You may have to put up with poorer graphics after four years or so, but you know your games are going to be similar. 

The hardcore gamer

This is for the die-hard gamer who simply must have to best that consoles can offer. They cannot wait a couple of years for the “Pro” version, nor can they ignore it and enjoy their original console knowing something better exists. The easiest way out is Carousell. Buy the day-one edition consoles, and enjoy it while it lasts.

The moment companies hint at mid-gen “Pro” consoles, it’s time to do business and get the best deal you possibly can for your console, to make up for the replacement which will probably cost you a quarter more than its original price. It’s not ideal, nor cheap, but it’s the most economical way to remain top-in-class across the console’s lifespan. You’ve no need for your old PS4/Xbox One once their bigger brothers hit town anyway. 

Developments we hope to see

The introduction of mid-gen consoles is going to be divisive, leading to big smiles and sour tastes. As tech enthusiasts, we lean towards celebration. It undeniably offers more for gamers to choose from – more options to fully utilise high-end televisions and peripherals like VR, or opt for simpler models to save costs, or simply because you don’t own a 4K TV. It’s a sense of flexibility we never got to enjoy in past generations – everyone stuck to the same performance for a decade.

Admittedly, the transition isn’t made too accessible by the industry itself. We’d love to see more trade-in options available across stores, perhaps incentivised by the companies themselves. It’ll inevitably generate more hype and get more people to hop on to mid-gen consoles. Right now, getting one often involves a great deal of sacrifice in abandoning your original PS4/Xbox, or going to great lengths to get it sold.

How about a shot at modular consoles? Yes, it does edge it a little too close to PCs for comfort, but it sure reduces wastage and the whole fuss of having to buy a new console halfway into the generation. Imagine just going into the shop, picking up the new cartridge to enable 8K output and improved performance, then slotting it into your PS5 or what not, and enjoying next level gaming for the rest of the decade. If only.