The PS5 and Xbox Series X/S have both been recently released and I, like most everyone else, would love to get my hands on one. This is especially true since I don't even have a PS4 and a good number of games I'd love to play on it. I do currently own a Switch which was gifted to me about 5 months after it's initial launch along with Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. If I didn't have a Switch I would probably still be playing on a PS3. Fortunately, I'm mostly a PC gamer so I'm pretty good in terms of playing at least most the hot new releases when they come out. But I'm not really a PC gamer because of the customization of graphic quality, or mod support, it more has to do with price of games themselves and how much more cheaper they can be on PC than on console.
Now don't get me wrong, my ideal purchasing power is owning physical copies of the games and having them forever. I'll only buy digital if it's the only option, and with Steam, digital is pretty much the only option you've got. This is especially true when you know you can buy the games physically on console, yet you don't even own the console it's available for...This is one exception to my own rule that I break. But in a world where everyone is pretty much moving to digital only I've given that luxury over towards PC games. If on the Nintendo eShop I happen to see a digital-only game that I find interesting I'll swing over to Steam to see if it's available there. If so, I'll buy it there rather than on the eShop, mainly to save space on the Switch (these games aren't getting any smaller!) AND if and when it goes on sale. I recently bought Super Mario Maker 2 and Super Mario Odyssey (both physical) this past month and I was still paying $90! It still blows my mind to this day that a game like Mario Odysseey has been around for 3 years and is still maintaining that $60 retail price. A rare occurance that a game doesn't go down in price after a few years of being on the market.
If you've been familiar with gaming for a long while you'll start to recognize a pattern with both consoles and games. When a console is first release it's for a rediculous amount of money, $399, $499, $599, etc. Video games are the same, they start out typically at $60-$65, and especially with next gen games raising the price to $70. Let's not also forget all the special and limited editions which can easily bring a game to $90 and over $100 by adding in an artbook, a statue, a soundtrack, or anything else to get you to spend more money.
About 3 years pass by, and that console has dropped $100 in retail, maybe even released a slimmer model. By this time all the kinks and bugs that were found in the hardware at launch are pretty much all fixed. So not only could you buy a CHEAPER console, but also one that you KNOW will work! In the case of the PS4 Pro, you had an enhanced model of the original console for the same $399 retail price. So sure, buying the Pro model wouldn't cost you any more than buying the original, but it's also an improvement in hardware over the original. If you don't care much for hardware upgrades that won't benefit you, a cheaper slim model would work best for you!
As for the Microsoft bros it's pretty much the same deal. You've got your $499 Xbox One Day 1 launch unit that you can tell all your friends about and be the (temporary) cool kid in the group. Or you coulld be smart, wait about 3 years for the announcement of the Xbox One S, pay $200 less, and get some great deals on some awesome games at the same time! All in all, the idea is you know a cheaper unit will be released later on in the generation so why pay more for the latest and greatest when you know you could get it at a fraction of the cost? The way I see it, it all comes down to simply bragging rights, and that's ok! Just know that it'll cost you extra as well as possible hardware failure!
We also can't forget about the countless console bundles and special editions. You know the ones where they fancy up the console with a color and/or design from a game on the shell, and bundle it up with the game itself? During my research I happened to look up every special edition console for both ps4 and Xbox One...and there's a lot, totalling almost $24,000 in consoles!! So if you were ever thinking of collecting every special edition console for either a ps4 or Xbox One, expect to be spending roughly $12,000. These consoles aren't cheap, and the worst part is they never go down in price. They almost never go on sale, and worst case scenario they increase in price the moment they go out of print. The consoles themselves are really nice and if you much rather have some sort of limited edition console you only have to wait a couple months or so. These types of consoles are always getting released with the biggest titles. Be warned that they are more expensive averaging about $500-$700.
Now let's talk about games. A standard sales pattern goes like this. The standard game for retail goes for $60. Throughout the game's lifespan there will be pieces of DLC released to expand replayability. The price of those can vary between $5-$15, along with the number of DLC that gets released. In some cases, after about a couple years when the game has run its course, the company will re-release the game with all DLC included for maybe even cheaper than the original $60 price tag. So imagine getting a $60 game for $10 cheaper and free DLC. You'd be saving yourself $20, $30, maybe even $40 right there! You would have to do a little history research to see if the game you enjoy will re-release with included DLC. I know Borderlands, Fallout, The Witcher 3, and Dragon Quest XI have all been re-released with all DLC included. However games like Dead or Alive 6 and Train Simulator 2021 want to rob you hundreds and thousaands of dollars worth of DLC because they know you're a rich kid who buys all the Call of Duty games and all its DLC and Season Passes. They know you've spent almost $1,000 just on those games alone!
But I digress, DLC isn't a must buy for any game, just an added piece of content to extend the life of the games that you play. Although it would be nice to have more games follow up with a "complete" version of the game when they stop supporting and adding DLC to it. That way people still aren't spending almost $200 for a game that's been out for over 5 years if they want to buy the DLC and create a complete game experience for themselves.
Remember when Sleeping Dogs was $60 back in 2012?
Game sales happen all the time, moreso on Steam than anything else, but they also happen pretty frequeently on PSN and Xbox. There's also the various cloud servies and subscription plans where you can stream and download full games for free and play them on your console. All-in-all there are a large variety of ways you can play the same games for less than the standard retail price, and in most all cases even the retail price itself can drop overtime. Steam is especially a culprit of empty wallets when it comes to it's 5 or so huge annual sales. Most of the games there are priced 50%-90% off! And even games that have only been out for a little over a year get 50% off it's retail price, which is a pretty solid deal.
Finally, as for the online multiplayer gamers, people will always be playing! In World of Warcraft players are still logging in on a daily basis and go about their daily quests and gear grind. For many of the Call of Duty games I'm sure there's still a small number of people that are still playing the original Black Ops or even Modern Warfare 2 (Going by what I read on forums) to this day. Although there's a chance running into hackers may be more often than not, so it's a risk you'll have to take. Now if you can gather enough friends and don't mind playing with just them, all the servers are still very open and operational for you to have fun in! If you're looking for a super active community however, that's where you'll have to hover more towards the newer games that have been around for a few years. As for non-FPS and Battle Royale games in terms of people still playing, the servers are most likely going to be empty after the game has run its course. I'd say within maybe 2-3 years. This, of course, depends on the game. Games like Among Us and Fall Guys I can see being very active for a long while. The long and short of it is, if you want to play an older online multiplayer game that only costs maybe $20 and has been around for a long time, don't expect it to be super populated. You may have to indulge in a newer game to play with a lot of people and make new friends (or enemies). You can still wait for a sale to happen for those games, but the difference may not be as big.
I'm not at all suggesting you not buy anything the moment it comes out, I'm just making you more aware of the lifespan of games and consoles and how much cheaper they become after a few years of being on the shelves. The quality of the games and hardware never change, they're all still amazing and fun to play. The only change is the price for the fun. Why pay $60 for 1/4th of a game, when you can potentially spend $50 for the FULL game in a few years? $599 US dollars would get you a PS3 in 2006, but today $599 US dollars can get you a PS3 and maybe 30 games? Think about it!
So how do you spend your money? Is there a determining factor that goes into triggering your gamer instincts to buy, or even pre-order the latest and greatest game or console on the day of launch? Do you ever feel guilty knowing most of the gaming community have already played through and beaten a particular game and have had hundreds of discussions about it while you sit out not being able to join in on the excitement? Do you take advantage of sales whenever you see them?