The Ins and Outs of a Console Launch

Nintendo’s new console –  the Wii U – launched in the UK this past Friday. I’m not as excited for it as I have been previous console launches, though I will be getting one. It’ something gamers do. Not all of them, but the hardcore most certainly do.

The Playstation Vita launched here in the UK in February, and although I was anticipating it a great deal more than I am the Wii U, I was still reluctant to buy one due to the high-price point. I kept telling myself to hold off until Christmas time so I could nab one when the price was reduced or when there would be a better bundle to buy. I would say this is sensible advice that almost everyone tells themselves just before forking out a few hundred pounds, however, come the day of launch and I had a brand new, shiny Playstation Vita in my hands.

And now it is christmas time and the Vita has been out for a little over ten months, and – unsurprisingly – you can indeed buy a Vita for a cheaper price. If I had’ve held out and waited I could’ve saved roughly around £50. And although I don’t like to think I could’ve been £50 up rather than let it do down the kitty, I still don’t regret buying a Vita when I did. And the main reason I don’t regret it is because I would’ve been missing out on the ‘buzz’ around the launch. No, seriously. And if you’ve never experienced the feeling of “launch-day buzz” then you should. It’s an experience most gamers will have.

After all the adverts you’ve seen for it, and after all the days of wait, it’s finally belongs to you. If you’re buying it from a store the chances are it’s busier than usual and you’re all there for the same thing. Spirits are high and there’s one topic on agenda: your shiny toy. There’s nothing quite like carefully – but quickly – tearing off the plastic and cardboard packaging so you can dig inside and hold your newly bought console/handheld for the first time. The instruction manuals are then – of course – quickly chucked aside. You’re then scrambling on the floor looking for it a short while later when you’re unsure of what to do next. You’re then left with a copiously long day one update, and you can’t help but to come back and check the progress of the loading bar every so often. The online functionality is down however due to everyone trying to access it at once presumably.

Sound familiar? Then you’ve probably bought a new piece of gaming hardware on the day of launch before.

After the initial launch of a console/handheld there’s always – always – a problem — a severe lack of games. Apart from maybe a few rare exceptions, this happens almost every time a new console is released. The Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS, 3DS and the Vita are all guilty of this. And I’m going to have to pick on the Vita again (sorry, Sony), but there wasn’t a retail game in sight for months after Vita’s launch day; not a single one. Nintendo, however, are actually being quite smart by announcing a launch-window of games, as well as still having their launch-day releases. It’s a reassurance policy from Nintendo to let you know that there are games on the horizon. And it’s something Sony should take note of – if they haven’t done already – after having the previously aforementioned dry spell of games after Vita’s launch. And although a “launch-window” of games may seem like a cheap move to stretch out the Wii U’s launch period, but it’s a very smart move.

But with all the above being considered, it’s still worth getting a console at launch. I never have buyers remorse after buying a new piece of gaming hardware at launch, and although I’ve been disappointed before, I have faith in Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft to deliver the goods later down the line.

So if you’re sitting on the fence on wether or not to buy a Wii U, then it really is up to you wether or not you want to wait it out or not. But bare this in mind: The longer you wait, the closer we come to a new console generation.

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