If you’re the proud new owner of a Wii U, then this article isn’t really talking about you. But if you got a PS4 or Xbox One at launch, or unwrapped one during the holiday season, you’re probably already aware that there’s one game you’ll be playing more than any other with your new machine; the waiting game.
For myself, I’m not a huge fan of online, competitive multiplayer. I love multiplayer, but I get more enjoyment from co-op experiences, preferably local, such as Diablo or Borderlands. That’s one of the reasons why, since the I got my PS4 at launch back in November, the sole platinum trophy I currently have on my PS4 is for LEGO Marvel Superheroes, a game I ordinarily wouldn’t have added to my library. However, because of the launch drought, and an urgent desire to get more out of my latest hardware, I bought it, enjoyed it, and played it in co-op.
Now with that, Killzone: Shadowfall, Knack, and even Assassin’s Creed IV all completed, I’m facing the same situation many other new console owners are dealing with. Unless you’re a huge fan of Lara Croft in all her incarnations, there’s really no other major games to look forward to until we get closer to March. Sony, Microsoft and the attendant console publishers have released all their big games, and are going into hibernation until spring starts peeking around the corner.
This is not to say that absolutely nothing is coming out. Indies and DLC can be a saving grace in these lean times, so games like Don’t Starve and add-ons like Dead Rising 3: Operation Broken Eagle will manage to squeak out a bit more game time on the new machines. Other than that, there’s really only Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition in late January, but Square-Enix is playing a game of chicken with consumers, asking them to buy a game that came out last year—with the last gen version currently selling at $30 or less. Most hardcore gamers will have already played this game, but Squenix is hoping that people wanting to really see what their system can do will pay full price for what amounts to an “HD+ remaster” of the game, at a full retail price of $60.
Some people will buy it. If you’ve never played the game before, then it’s actually hard to argue with wanting the best console version available. Others may buy it out of sheer desperation, since there’s so little to play on the new consoles right now. The rest of us, however, may be simply going back to our older machines. Over the course of Christmas vacation, I’ve used my own PS4 largely for watching Blu-Rays and streaming Netflix. On the other hand, the PS3 has gotten in some serious playtime with season two of The Walking Dead, playing through Batman: Arkham Origins, and recently downloading Dragon’s Dogma thanks to Playstation Plus, while another free game, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons will also be coming out, in addition to DMC: Devil May Cry and Bioshock Infinite. Playstation Plus alone still has a few games that I haven’t tried out, like Binary Domain, and with the dearth of titles on my shiny new console, I’ll probably continue to use my PS3 as a mainstay gaming device until perhaps February. The new Thief game will be releasing across all major consoles on February 25
, and that will finally signal the tip of a gaming ice berg that will include Infamous: Second Son, Titanfall and Watch_Dogs.
I’m not complaining about the lack of games. It’s something I’ve been expecting, since I’ve gone through the launch of a new console generation quite a few times over the history of gaming. But it does reinforce the same the sentiment that I had when both the Xbox One and PS4 launched back in November. When you buy these machines now, you’re investing in the future. For the present, these machines, while promising, are quite limited in terms of library, and even functionality, as a lot of the promised OS features—such as game suspension on the PS4, or robust, easy party chat on the Xbox One—are still missing right now. These will be good systems with great features and great games in time. But at the beginning of 2014? Not so much.