I Think it’s Finally Time to Quit the PS4
Contributed by DJMMT
Let me start this post by clarifying a few points that absolutely have an effect on both my situation and opinion. I am running a standard PS4. Mine was purchased new in 2015. Had I known about the PRO in advance, I would have waited and bought that version. My PS4 has been good to me. While it has had a few freezes over the years, and has needed two factory reboots, in general it has and continues to work well. For the most part, I have not felt compelled to buy a PS5 since its launch. While the PS5 does have a number of new features that I’m interested in, when it comes to actual gaming, I have had little motivation to rush towards upgrading. And that’s me being honest. I’m not pretending not to be interested in getting a PS5 as a way of coping with a lack of supply. I could literally go buy a PS5 today if I wanted to and have been able to here in Taiwan since launch. I had the money saved before the console even dropped and it has pretty much never been impossible to find here. My choice not to buy one yet has been exactly that, a choice.
I always have the same policy when it comes to new consoles and have for many years. I’ve written multiple blog posts about it in the past. When it comes to buying a new generation console, I always wait for three things to happen. The first is that I must be completely done with my backlog on the previous gen console. I don’t care about backwards compatibility. For the most part, I never use backwards compatibility. I have no interest in replaying games. If I want to play a game, I’ll play it on the console it was released for before upgrading. Or buy the digital port. This is why I’ll most likely not subscribe to PlayStation Plus Premium but will probably go for Extra. So I have no interest to play PS4 games on PS5 and thus no motivation to adopt early and just play my PS4 backlog on a next gen console. I don’t want to play PS4 games on PS5. I want to play PS5 games on PS5. I want to play PS4 games on PS4, and I do . . . a lot. I still have several games on PS4 to beat and often fall into the habit of buying more. But I think it’s finally time to stop buying more. More on why later.
The second condition before I upgrade consoles is that the next gen console has at least 10 new AAA titles that I consider must play games. They don’t have to be platform exclusives, but they have to be games that were made with the next gen console in mind and already be on shelf. I would have to go through and make an official list, but by the time I’m done with my PS4 backlog, I’m sure there will be at least 10 AAA games on PS5 I want to play. Off the top of my head, I can already say Returnal, Horizon Forbidden West, God of War Ragnarök, and Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart make the cut. So that’s already 4/10 games.
The third and most important condition before I upgrade consoles is that the current gen console performance becomes outpaced by the games to a degree that I no longer deem acceptable for the gameplay experience. This is the most important condition, because it’s the one most tied to how the console actually affects my enjoyment of games. I don’t mind loading times, as long as the loading times are acceptable. Ubisoft games tend to have atrocious loading times and yet I’ve never felt they were bad enough to be a detriment to my overall experience. I don’t need the absolute best graphics performance. I just need graphics performance up to mid-tier standards of the current market. My basic version PS4 still, for the most part, delivers that with the games I’m playing. But when the game stops being fun because of the console’s inability to play it properly, that’s when I shelf the console. On the PS2, the straw that broke the camel’s back was Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (2008). On the PS3, it was Dragon Age: Inquisition (2014). Now, on the PS4, it’s Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (2021).
As I write this, it is just two days after I completed my playthrough of the PS4 version of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (2021). While it was not a perfect game, it was extremely entertaining and absolutely captured the spirit of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. Honestly, I’m a bit tired of seeing the same story of the group learning to come together as a team and family over and over again, but it certainly works. But I have to say that this game did not run well on the PS4. Again, I’m running a base version PS4, so my experience may not be the case for PS4 Pro users. It’s also possible that the game in general has a lot of bugs and glitches and that the PS5 experience would have been similar. But this game had a lot of problems. Nothing totally game breaking or that made the game unplayable. But just a lot of trouble that had a noticeably negative effect on playing the game. The game got stuck and had to be reset multiple times. Drax had several odd glitches both during gameplay and cutscenes. While the game didn’t lag, there were numerous visual errors. Not general quality stuff, like it could have looked better. I mean like geometry didn’t render properly in some cases. The game ran well enough and wasn’t nearly as bad of an experience as when I played Dragon Age: Inquisition on PS3, but it was still a much lower gameplay performance experience than I should have to tolerate. In this case, I was actually quite surprised to be having the many issues I did when games like God of War (2018) and Ghost of Tsushima (2020) both ran perfectly on my PS4. This game is way less impressive than either of those titles from a design standpoint, yet it under performed compared to them both.
While I could probably push my PS4 through a few more newer games, I don’t see a reason to push the limit any more than I already have, given the size of my current PS4 backlog. To be clear, I’m not shelving the PS4 today. I still need to complete several games on the console that I’ve already purchased over the years. What I’m saying is that in order to rush to the retirement of my PS4, now that it’s finally starting to show its age, I think the best course action is to no longer buy new titles on PS4 and stick to strictly trying to clear PS4 titles in my backlog moving forward. That’s still a hefty 53 games I hope to complete before upgrading. Based on my play data for the last several years, that’s 1 – 2 years worth of games if I only played PS4 games. But I also regularly play games on Switch and PC. So my PS4 still has a lot of time left in the tank. Yet this decision still marks the beginning of the end. My PS4 is now death rattling towards its retirement to a box sitting in my closet. Because it stands to reason that performance of newer gen games on the console is only going to go down from here, in most cases.
I can’t really complain. My PS4 has had a great run and given the number of games I still need to beat on it will probably get at least another one to two years of use before it’s put away for good. But I don’t think I’ll be buying any more games for it. At least not new AAA titles anyway. What I’m a bit curious about is when will games truly stop being playable on the console? The reason I shelved my PS3 was that Dragon Age: Inquisition was basically unplayable. I pushed through to the end, because I would never rebuy the same game on a new platform just to finish it, but it was tough. I literally had to restart the game after 30 hours because of a game breaking glitch that locked my save file in a specific location and wouldn’t let me move forward with a main mission. The game froze my console constantly, lagged all the time, and had horrible tearing. It was basically criminal to have even released it on PS3 given how poorly it ran. When are PS4 games going to get there, I wonder?
We’re already seeing some games, like Gotham Knights, cancel last gen version releases. Maybe we won’t get to that state with the PS4. Maybe it will just die quietly as studios just stop acknowledging it. I doubt it, because it never works that way, but it would be an interesting turn of events. I also think last gen releases are ultimately what ruined the launch of Cyberpunk 2077. How’s the PS4 treating you? Are you still happy with it or can you no longer stand the performance?