The PS4 is a gaming marvel. The console’s improved graphics card and processor were designed to give video game developers the tools they need to create and continue creating creative, gorgeous looking games that even use unconventional play mechanics. Its controller features a Share button that instantly allows players to record video game footage and share it with their friends. The PS4’s controller is sleek and light as a feather. It also features a touch pad that developers can use for their games.
Microsoft’s Xbox One console is just as impressive depending on your household. Microsoft didn’t focus on only introducing new features for gamers. Every Xbox One comes with a Kinect 2 sensor that allows it to control their cable box and television set. Of course, owners can also use it for voice commands and playing games without a controller too. The console also includes refreshed gaming hardware and a new controller. There is even some live television functionality for users who don’t play games around the clock.
All of this adds up to one simple truth. There are plenty of plausible reasons for upgrading to the Xbox One and PS4 over their predecessors, so much so that they’re being snapped up by the millions of buyers each quarter. The trouble is that, like buying new smartphones and tablets, it’s easy to fall into a trap and make the wrong purchasing decision. There are the things every new console buyer should do, like check to make sure that the games and features they want are available. Then there are the things any new console buyer shouldn’t do.
Don’t Buy Used
The most important thing I can stress to new console buyers is to not buy the Xbox One or PS4 used at this point.
Look, it’s not because I don’t understand that some households need to save as much as they can on these types of purchases. I also don’t feel this way because I somehow think that either console has a hardware problem that could result in a really bad second owner experience.
I say this because I’m trying to save you from getting a very bad deal. Take the Premium Refurbished Xbox One bundle that GameStop is selling these days. The gaming retailer just lowered the price of this bundle to $449.99 from its original $479.99 price tag. A couple of weeks ago a new Xbox One console fresh from the factory without any scratches or wear on the controllers cost users $449. The price of the used bundle is more insulting when you consider that new Xbox One bundles include either Titanfall or Forza 5. Both of those games cost users $60 each. Meanwhile, this Premium Refurbished Xbox One doesn’t include any extras.
Buying used from GameStop is even more ridiculous if you’re looking into purchasing Sony’s PS4. That console sells for $379 normally. Spending $20 more gets users a brand new PS4 with all the Sony Unlimited Music and Unlimited Video offers that the console launched with last year. Again, it’s totally ridiculous. Don’t waste your money. Buy new, you’ll still save yourself some cash in the long run.
Don’t Buy From Rental Shops
Despite the way millions of Xbox One and PS4 console buyers have voted with their wallet, at $399 and $499 respectively, gaming consoles are still a luxury item. In fact, they’re even more of a luxury item when you consider that they need so many extras before becoming viable. For example, both consoles require a monthly or yearly subscription service before users are allowed to play online.
If there’s something more dangerous than buying a used gaming console, it’s purchasing one from Rent-A-Center or other rental stores of its elk. Essentially, Rent-A-Center runs a buyer’s credit to make sure they’re well-qualified, and then takes a down payment from them. Buyers can take that item home immediately and pay on the remaining balance in weekly or bi-weekly installments.
I actually purchased my first laptop this way. As such, I understand its allure. For a low weekly price you can purchase that really cool video game console that you want as soon as possible. What’s more, you get that console without having to save up for it.
The problem is those payments. A recent report from Cockeyed found that Rent-A-Center charged customers $70 every two weeks to get the PS4. Buyers also had the opportunity to pay $35 a week. At 53 weeks, it takes Rent-A-Center PS4 buyers a year to pay off their console. What’s more, they’l’ have paid an estimated $1,854.47 for a console that would have cost them $399 otherwise. What Rent-A-Center buyers pay for an Xbox One is slightly more troubling. They can look forward to 58 weeks of payments to total $2,029.42.
The whole setup is more troubling when you consider the very real possibility of having to send the console back because you can’t afford the weekly payments or have decided to switch to another console. At this point you could have already made a substantial investment in games, Xbox Live and controllers without a single thing to show for it in your living room.
Absolutely, do not purchase a console from one of these places. I know this sounds callous but it’s a better idea to either save up for it by stashing money away with each pay check or charging it to a credit card with a reasonable interest rate.
Don’t Pre-Order Games
Convincing new console buyers to pick up extras with their console is the oldest trick in the retail gaming handbook. Retailers like GameStop don’t make much on the consoles they sell. Instead, they rely on the sales of games and extras to make money on your purchase. Don’t fall into that trap.
Before heading out, know how much money you have and what you want it to go towards. More importantly, don’t pre-order a game unless you’ve already done your research and really want the pre-order bonuses. It’s very unlikely that a retailer would run out of a high-profile title on launch day. Even if they did, the Xbox One and PS4 allow users to buy games digitally on the same day they are available in stores. Users can’t trade in these digital titles but they can access them on any Xbox One or PS4 that is connected to the internet.
Above all else, just be careful out there. Buying an Xbox One and PS4 at a local retailer isn’t inherently as dangerous as buying one from a friend or someone on Craigslist. Still, it’s important to know what you’re getting into and to look for the best deal you can possible find before sliding your card.