Despite astonishing sales of the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and now even the Nintendo Switch, there are still loads of gamers who haven’t ‘upgraded’. But is moving to the current gen really a necessity?

Taking sales into account

Let’s say the release of one of the biggest games of the past couple of years – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. This series is one of the most beloved and best-selling games of all time, and was all but guaranteed strong sales on any console on which it was released.

Of all the physical copies of the game sold (though the following stats exclude PC, which was a digital release), 72% of them were purchased for the PlayStation 4 and 22% of them were sold for the Xbox One. As you’ll probably have noticed, adding those numbers together takes you alarmingly close to 100. Only 5% of all the physical copies sold were for the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360.

It’s worth noting that Metal Gear Solid V is now one of the few post-2014 games that even saw a release on the old-gen consoles. Most games now simply won’t see releases on the PlayStation 3 or the Xbox 360. And when you take these sales statistics into account, it’s not difficult to see why.

The advancing tech

Another reason for this is that developers are now way more familiar with developing games on the newer consoles. During the nascent years of any new console generation, you’ll see a bunch of games released across both generations for two reasons: one, there will be a bunch of games developed for the older generation that then receive lazy ports onto the new ones, and two, the games for the newer consoles aren’t so advanced that they’re particularly difficult to ‘port down’.

But as the onslaught of more complex and high-end games begin to release – games like The Witcher 3, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – it becomes much less feasible for developers to release them on older consoles. It wouldn’t be impossible, but it would take way too much work – in an industry where games are still being completed unfinished in the rush to meet deadlines, that’s the last thing we need! And if you’ve played any of these games on something like these top rated gaming monitors, then you can see for yourself how unfeasible getting them onto older consoles would be.

Holding out

If you’re like most gamers, then you probably have a decent amount of games on your older consoles that you haven’t gotten round to finishing yet. And hey, developers have been known to release big-budget games on older consoles regardless of diminishing sales figures.

So it’s not like buying a PlayStation 4 or an Xbox One is essential if you’re a gamer. There is still plenty of fun to be had from these consoles. As most people with the newer ones will tell you, they still get out their older consoles for a play every now and then. (Especially because there’s no true backward compatibility on the newer ones, though Microsoft has been working on that for the Xbox One.) And remember: the upcoming Persona 5, predicted by many to be the best game this year, will be released on the PlayStation 3 as well as the 4.

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