Don't Buy New Video Game Hardware. Not Now.

With fantastic games on offer across just about every platform, with libraries that grow more accomplished with each passing day, you might think it's always a good time to buy new video game hardware, should you still be without one of the major systems. Mostly, you would be correct. But not this month.

There's one time of the year where you'd be a sucker for spending cash on a video game system, and that time is upon us.

Beginning on June 11 is the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3. It's the biggest industry event of the year for the video game business, the place where all the big guns get up on stage and talk about their plans for the holiday season, unveil new games and make headlines with important announcements.

It's an even bigger event than usual this year, because both Sony and Microsoft have new consoles out this holiday season, the first true "next generation" systems since the Xbox 360 and PS3 were released all the way back in 2005-06. The stakes are high, and the announcements will come thick and fast.

So how does this affect you, potential video game console purchaser? In a number of ways.

Price Cuts Are Coming

With the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 only a few months away, the current generation of home consoles is about to become outdated tech. Unlike other industries, though, video games aren't so quick to cast out old models; with huge install bases and developers having experience working with the systems, there'll be games coming for the Xbox 360 and PS3 for years to come.

Not to mention the fact that, while hardcore gamers will be lining up at launch for new systems, they're likely to be priced far too high for massmarket adoption.

What you can expect to come at E3, then, are probable price cuts to these old systems to help them stay competitive, lure in more customers (especially mainstream consumers) previously put off by higher prices. Even Nintendo, which only launched its latest console last year, seems to already be in on the action. Call it a fire sale, call it savvy business, it's highly unlikely either the PS3 or 360 will escape E3 without a price cut.

So wait for those to kick in.

As for handhelds, it's a similar story. Sony's faltering Vita must surely in line for a price cut to revive its flagging fortunes, and there's no better place for that to be announced than at E3. Hopefully alongside word of new games for the system.

We Might Get New Models

Sony pioneered the idea of cheaper, smaller models of old hardware with the PSOne, and did it again with the slimmer PSTwo, iterations which extended the lives of both consoles considerably even when they'd been "replaced" with newer machines. Nintendo have likewise dabbled with the idea recently with the Wii Mini.

There's every chance that at some stage during E3 we get to see smaller, cheaper versions of existing machines, at least from Microsoft. Since Sony only just redesigned the PS3 last year, they might not, but who knows, with the Xbox One not backwards compatible and the Xbox 360 a capable media player, rumours of Microsoft releasing a cheap, download-only Xbox 360 console/media device aren't the craziest we've heard this year.

If new models are announced, you're going to want to get one over the consoles currently available. They're usually smaller, cheaper and use more modern components.


In terms of everything from backwards compatibility to upcoming releases to the specifics of DRM, there's still a lot of stuff we don't know about the video game landscape, for both new systems and old. So it makes sense to wait until after E3, see how things are shaping up.

Sure, you might be excited for a PS4 or Xbox One now, enough to place a preorder right now, but if the games shown for those systems underwhelm or appear to be simply upscaled ports of current-gen games, will you bother? Also, remember, there will probably be new games announced for the Xbox 360 and PS3 at E3, maybe even important ones, which could lessen the need to upgrade. Or cause you to buy one of those systems. Which you shouldn't. Not until after E3.

Please Wait

In short, then, be patient. Wait it out. The video game console marketplace is about to get its biggest shake-up in over six years. Rushing in to buy a system now would be throwing your money away. Best to wait a month or two, see how the dust settles, see which consoles are cheaper, which have earned your investment and which look destined for a swift and painful death.

Then buy something. And, if you do, you might want to check these out.

Note: I've exempted the 3DS from this article, because really, in 2013, it looks like any time is a good time to buy a 3DS. Ditto for the PC, because purchasing decisions for that platform are normally tied to new generations of CPU and graphics hardware (which is a whole different story) than specific announcements at E3.


    I plan on picking up a slim 360 when they get cheap enough. My old phat Elite is making strange noises sometimes.

      sorry to tell you but I think david jones had slims going for $75 not too long ago on sale

        Be honest, you LOVED telling him that. ;)

        There's no David Jones near me, and I assume for that price it was the version with flash memory rather than a hard drive.

        They'll turn up cheap elsewhere soon enough.

    The biggest reason I can see for not buying new hardware is the Summer Steam Sale can't be far away. All cash must be saved.

    I've very much given up on the next generation.

    Instead I am focusing on retro hardware and games. Currently playing an old SNES right now and planning to get a Jaguar and Dreamcast later on.

    Personally, I am in it for the games. All the major publishers have forgotten that so I'll come back when they pull their heads in.

      As a fellow retro-gamer make getting a DC a priority. It is still amazing. Get the light gun if u can (needs CRT tv). Homebrew on it is awesome.

        I try to but I am after an NTSC model (I am not taking any chances with incorrect framerates or sub-par PAL optimisation).

        And for it to be viable I need the following three avaliable at the same time:
        1. The console.
        2. A step down converter
        3. Some good games to test the console and enjoy it.

        Getting all three is proving difficult and am still recovering from a rough patch (we all have them from time to time).

        But, yes, if things align I will land one.

        In terms of Dreamcast games though the only ones that interest me are Sonic Adventure (one of the last good games made besides the original trilogy and Sonic CD), and Skies of Arcadia.

        Both of which have been ported but if I do get a Dreamcast I'd rather those two games be with it.

          Sonic adventure is v. good. Soul Calibur and the powerstone games are also worthwhile. My favourite however is still house of the dead 2. Hope it all works out for you!

 can play ntsc on a pal dreamcast

        do you have any links for the homebrew scene? I would love to get right back into my DC again :D

          Good starting point. On train -early long weekend - can't acess bookmarks at home :'(
          You could try doing a search for DC doom - WAD files... I burnt some discs a while back with a DC doom hack and loaded WAD files from my PC ultimate doom discs etc. Great fun.

    I'll just say that for PC hardware, it's good to wait right now as well as Nvidia have just released their new 780/770 and ati to follow to price drops will come quickly for 'last gen' cards which will still be more powerful than the graphics in the PS4 and Xbone.

    I'm still pre-ordering a PS4 though so neeeeeeer to you Luke

      And they still won't pump out better graphics than the next-gen consoles for years to come. So good luck with your $1000 graphics cards. Waste of money.

        mmmm for $1000 I could run two graphics cards in SLI/Crossfire and get a decent multi-monitor setup. You've got some great ideas akuma07. Keep em coming

        The 780 starts at 700 dollars though and the 770 is 500..

    Poor old Wii U never gets a mention as "next gen". It's so far a lot more interesting and promising than the Xbone or PS4. But we'll see what everyone has up their E3 sleeves.

      Maybe because it's not next gen, it's current gen.

        Not exactly. It is next-gen. It just doesn't really compete with even the current gen consoles at all. So is never worth a mention.

          After a next generation console is released, then it is current gen. Just the same as the PS4 and Xbox One will be current gen after they have been released..

    I just want to say this somewhere: this is the first generation I can recall where the new systems appear to offer less functionality than the old. Sure the xbone has a better processor, and some new TV oriented features. Unfortunately, the TV/Cable features come after the 360 and PS3 have already implemented vastly superior streaming services like Netflix. Then there is all this crap about limits to sharing games, trade-in's etc. I'm not seeing the next-gen as a competition between Xbone and PS4, but more of an XP to Vista failure where the newer OS wasn't competitive with the older.

    I'm busy building a new gaming PC. First kickstarter I ever donated to was for my dream game and I don't see anything like it coming to a console ever. PS3 is good for quick release fun (after system upgrade that is) but nothing has ever made me sit in front of it for hours at a time. So yeah, PC gaming for life.

    I'll buy when I'm ready, which will probably be when the hardware is 4-6 months old, and the dust has had time to settle over what new changes are good, bad, etc. No one is going to release a console no one likes, and anything not liked will have time to be overhauled.

    While it does not have the hardware capabilities, does the Ouya count?

    With all the nonsense, I recently ordered one. The other sweetener is Sonic CD is possibly coming to the Ouya as well.

    How old are you Luke?

    "Sony pioneered the idea of cheaper, smaller models of old hardware with the PSOne, and did it again with the slimmer PSTwo"

    Um...Sega was doing that a long time ago champ.

      Turns out Sony invented videogames.

      Nintendo had redesigned models of the N.E.S. and Super N.E.S. as well.



    Buying mine at launch. I have already formed a decision based on the console capabilities. It is clear what directions both companies are taking, and I have definitely formed a better opinion of one over the other. One of the consoles has none, and never will, any games that would warrant me to buy that console. While the other, already has exclusive titles that I love, and even if it didn't, there is good reason to believe multiplatform games will perform better on it, so that is reason enough to warrant my full financial support.

    Buy/don't buy whatever you feel like. But know where your money is going and what it will influence. We are lucky, in this day and age consumers are not only able to interact more closely with those serving them, but we can completely control the way they convey their messaging.

    Note the following people on Twitter:

    Two well-known game developers who put themselves up as figureheads/mouthpieces of their respective games/companies/consoles they worked on exclusively. They both have 'runs on the board' so can offer points of wisdom, foreboding or sarcasm. They still want to ply their trade of course and make ends meet, so they will be more philosophical about rapid-moving bits of news like this.

    At the other end of the spectrum are people like:


    They work closely within the inner sanctums of this industry and are paid to shape or track it. Of course, they can and are allowed to use social media as publicly/privately as they choose but they are clearly a world apart from the media/journalism world - they are conducting business with my cash and yours and doing so online. They see you as a potential customer, or a customer. They were there at the start, they are there now, making/breaking deals, and they will be there at the end, collecting retirement packages in the thousands, maybe millions.

    So many people whinging about backwards compatibility, how did you play your NES games on SNES and on Virtual Boy and N64 to GC onto Wii! Ive got an idea, plug in your PS3 or 360 if you want to play "old" games, or get an emulator for your beloved PC's!

      yeah I have said this to a few people. Really the only console that had backwards compatibility that made it seem like a given from now on was the PS2 with PSX and even that when upscaling caused issues in games like MGS1.

      I think people have short term memories or are just negative by nature.

    Yes, Sony sure pioneered smaller, cheaper games consoles with the PSOne. Because the SNES Junior isn't real. Neither are Genesis models 2 or 3. Or the NES Toploader. Grr....

    "Sony pioneered the idea of cheaper, smaller models of old hardware with the PSOne, and did it again with the slimmer PSTwo, iterations which extended the lives of both consoles considerably even when they’d been “replaced” with newer machines."

    That is bullshit and you know it. Atari started the console business, and it started the remodel trend. Learn to history.

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