Should I buy a PS5 in 2021?

Photo by Tamara Bitter on Unsplash

— Is a question I ask myself almost every month.

Now it’s not like I can get one the moment I decide “Hell yeah” — I live in a small town in a Russian province and you can barely find one even in the capital, Moscow. But I’ve always loved PlayStation and its ecosystem, so with enough dedication, patience, and some saved money, I could probably lay my hands on a used system.

The real question is, should I?

(Everything below is only my personal opinion)

I’d like to share with you what I consider the pros and cons of buying this particular next-gen console in 2021 and early 2022.

“Hell yeah”

This PlayStation next-gen has one distinct advantage over the PS4/PS3 generation, and it’s simple: backward compatibility. Sony made some real improvements here.

So the number one reason to buy a PS5 in 2021 is that you’re basically getting a buffed-up PS4 with (almost) all of its games, and will be able to play these games with enhanced resolution and improved framerate (Sorry Bloodborne, but a remaster is only in the rumors). For someone with a large PS4 library, it’s an instant win.

Plus, like I said, some PS4 games might get PS5 remasters later, and Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is already an example.

The second reason to go for it despite all odds is that unfortunately, those of us (the majority, though) who still play on the PS4 will eventually be forced to upgrade because the last-gen can only support new games for 1–2 years after a new system is released.

Some games are already playable only on PS5 and the list will grow bigger, so if you want to play, say, the new Ratchet and Clank, the only option is moving up the generational ladder.

“Nah, let’s wait”

Now there are also good reasons to actually wait a few years before spending your hard-earned money on a gaming system.

And the first is to actually save this money until you don’t have to pay a big premium to play games at 4K. The situation is starting to improve, but if you, like me, live in a small town, you probably can’t find one for less than at least 1,5x price. For me, that’s unacceptable.

Second, we did talk about PS4 only being supported for 1–2 years from now, but it’s actually a great reason not to upgrade right away. Two years is a lot of time. If you’re happy playing at 1080p and 30 fps(If you have a Pro, that might even be 1080@60), your PS4 will still serve you well until all the fun inevitably moves over to the PS5.

And there’s a third reason to wait — the kind of incomplete state the PS5 is now in. Lets’s face it — the first editions are always the worst (remember the 20 GB no-Wi-Fi PS3?). Sony will inevitably release a new version of PS5 and there are already some rumors that may come true as early as 2023.

Right now, there are a lot of things that make me hesitate about an upgrade. Here are some of them:

  • The design. I get it: more power, more heat, more space for fans. But the release version is still big. Like, really big. I suspect it won’t even fit on my desk.
  • Small SSD space. Available space is only 667 GB, which is far from enough, and it reminds me again of early PS3 models, which had 60 and 80 GB of storage, which became too little too soon. Even though there are options for an external upgrade, a long-term solution is still necessary.
  • Stick drift. A problem caused by the use of lower quality components (because of the global chip shortage due to COVID) that make the PS5 controller’s sticks move on their own, moving your camera or character. This is a problem yet to be fixed, and I’m sure it will be soon, but until the shortage situation improves, you’ll have to live with it.

So what do you suggest?

You may think that I’m currently against upgrading and you’re right — my personal opinion is that it’d be wiser to wait for a new, improved and polished version of the PS5. Such a version will have a bigger SSD space, better design thanks to a 6nm CPU, and perhaps a better controller, like it happened with DualShock 4 v2.

It’ll be a massively better system, 100% worthy of upgrading to it from the old PS4.

However, if you want to play some great next-gen games right now, and you have the money and the means - why not?

After all, who knows if there isn’t going to be another wave of shortages that will permanently cripple the PS5 population and make it impossible to find even the digital one?