Sony’s latest financial results are in, and it looks like the PS5 is really on a roll, selling 6.3 million units in the past quarter alone. Clearly, a huge amount of people want to buy the PlayStation 5 – which has got me wondering why I have no interest… yet.
It’s not that I’m a PlayStation hater – the opposite in fact. Apart from the PC, PlayStation consoles have been my platform of choice since the launch of the original in the mid-90s. Up until now, I’ve owned every generation of PlayStation, with the PS2 sitting firmly at the top of my ‘best console ever made’ list (followed by the Sega Dreamcast and Genesis, in that order).
I’ve loved every iteration, and consider even the PS3 (some see it as a relative misstep) to have been a bit of an overlooked masterpiece thanks to its excellent support for various media (my original PS3 supported Blu-ray, DVD, SACD, PS2 games and much more) and library of incredible games.
So, you’d think it’d be an absolute slam dunk for Sony to sell me one of its shiny new PlayStation 5 consoles. I thought so too, fully preparing to set aside some cash to buy a PS5 when launched – but so far, I’ve not been tempted to actually put down the cash… and I’m not sure if I ever will.
Where’s the love?
With the news that the PS5 is turning into a monster hit, it’s got me thinking about why I’ve not bought one yet – what’s stopping me?
There’s a few key factors here, I think. The first, major, one was how constrained PS5 stock was at the time. While I had initially been putting money aside in preparation for the launch, when it came about the demand was so high that it was nigh-on impossible to get one.
Looking at the stress people were going through just to get a chance to get hold of one, made me question if I really wanted or needed a PS5 that much… and the answer was ‘no.’
Both the PS3 and PS4 started off with rather sparse launch libraries, and with the PS5 launching with few games I was desperate to play, I thought I could wait out the initial launch, and buy one when stock improves and more games arrive. Hey, I thought, it might even have a price cut by then!
However, both the stock shortage and games drought continued for longer than I anticipated. The global pandemic impacted both and the longer I struggled to find a PS5 in stock, the less interest I had in getting the console.
This also meant that I spent longer playing on my PC – and I quickly realized that my gaming PC was more than enough to keep me entertained.
PC is where it's at
I’ve always loved PC gaming, but consoles, especially PlayStations, did several things better – or at least, they used to.
For a start, when you work on a PC all day, it’s understandable that you don’t want to unwind by plonking yourself down in front of a PC to play. This was especially true for many of us who were working from home during the worst days of the pandemic, as that would often mean sitting in front of the same PC where you’d just spent your day.
That meant playing a console on a big TV on a comfy couch in another room is incredibly appealing. So, I set myself the fun challenge to make a powerful gaming PC that was compact enough to sit in my lounge underneath my TV.
While the process wasn’t quite as smooth as I anticipated, after a few false starts (the PC) and emotional breakdowns (me), I ended up with an excellent little console-like machine, with a TV-friendly interface that I can use to launch games via a gamepad.
It was also more powerful than the PS5, with an RTX 3080 Ti, and I’ve since upgraded it to an RTX 4080, allowing me to run games at native 4K with graphical effects the PS5 (and Xbox Series X) could only dream of.
There is still one aspect of the experience where the PS5 has the edge – almost instantly turning on, allowing you to quickly resume games. I’m hoping Microsoft, if it’s serious about making Windows 11 an operating system loved by gamers, adds similar functionality (its Xbox consoles already do this).
Consoles also often had exclusives which meant I’d want to invest in them. While Xbox exclusives have never appealed to me, if they ever did, I know that I would be able to play them on PC (which is handy now that Microsoft has bought Bethesda).
With PlayStation games, it was a different matter. If I wanted to play the likes of Uncharted, God of War, and Spider-Man, I had to have a PlayStation… except, now Sony has been publishing those games on PC as well.
Sure, they come out a few years after they launch on PlayStation, but knowing that when Spider-Man 2 comes out, I’ll be able to play it at some point on my PC (and even use the PS5 DualSense controller), rather than having to buy a PS5, means I’m going to be sticking with my PC as my main gaming platform for the time being. Add in my huge Steam and Epic Games Store library, and how PC games are often a lot cheaper than the ludicrous prices PS5 games sell for these days, and I just can’t see myself buying a PlayStation 5 any time soon.
When Spider-Man 2 and whatever Naughty Dog is cooking up next comes out, however, I may find it hard to resist.
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Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.