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Why you really need to wait to buy a PS5

The PlayStation 5 is set to be released on Nov. 12, 2020. Unfortunately, the first round of PS5 preorders sold out within minutes, leaving fans unsure of what to do. It seems that many Sony diehards may not be able to get the new console on launch day. However, that doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. 

In fact, there are several moments in Sony's history of console launches that would suggest that it's not the worst idea to wait a little bit before snagging a PlayStation 5. Previous console generations have seen all kinds of snafus and problems right at launch, which might show some fans that it's not the worst thing to not be able to buy a PS5 right away.

Perhaps the biggest example would be the state that the PlayStation 4 shipped in. To put it lightly, the 2013 release of the PS4 was a bit of a nightmare. During the launch week of that console, gamers reported a flashing blue light on the PS4 console that seemed to be Sony's answer to the Xbox 360's infamous "Red Ring of Death." That is to say, people thought that the flashing blue light meant that their PS4 was completely dead. Luckily, that wasn't the case, but it still indicated a pretty big problem with the console. This blue light meant that the system's HDMI port wasn't functioning correctly. Because of that, the PlayStation 4 console in question wouldn't be able to produce a picture on the customer's television, even if the system itself was otherwise running normally. There were some ways to troubleshoot it at the time, but Sony confirmed that a small number of PS4 consoles — apparently less than .04 of the shipped units — shipped with those defects.

There were also reports that the first batch of PlayStation 4 pre-orders shipped from Amazon came in less than ideal packaging. This also might have caused some consoles to arrive in a damaged or defective state. That particular issue was apparently addressed with later shipments, but it was an unfortunate surprise for that first round of customers.

Maybe these issues aren't scaring you away from buying a PlayStation 5 at launch. However, if you miss out on pre-ordering a PlayStation 5 and don't manage to snag one in stores either, you may open yourself up to another common problem with new release consoles — you might be tempted to buy a PS5 off of eBay or some other site for resellers. The thing is, you probably don't want to do that, either.

While it is true that some people are already reselling PS5 pre-orders online, many of these sellers are raising the prices exponentially as a way of taking advantage of people who are desperate to take one home this holiday season. According to some fans on social media, these scalpers have been charging hundreds of dollars more than the retail price of the console. While it may be tempting to go ahead and shell out that kind of money just to secure a PS5 at launch, it's not exactly necessary. Sony recently promised fans that it will release more PlayStation 5 units in stores before the end of the year. In other words, if resellers are jacking up the prices and you don't mind waiting a little while after the PS5's launch date, you won't actually have to break the bank trying to get a console.

It's also worth thinking about the games that are being released alongside the PS5. Several years ago, Wired took a look at numerous shortcomings the PlayStation 3 had when it launched, comparing the final product to announcements that Sony had made during its development and marketing. One of the biggest discrepancies with the PS3 was how the console's game library looked when it finally came out. Several games that had been teased for the PS3 were either less impressive when they arrived, or simply never released at all. While the PS5 is promising multiple exclusives that will blow you away, it might not be the worst thing to wait a little bit and see how they really turn out. 

In fact, that's a solid rule of thumb all around. Waiting for the PlayStation 5 to launch will also allow you to gauge reactions from critics and fellow customers. After all, fans recently learned that several so-called "PS5 exclusives" — like Spider-Man: Miles Morales — will also be available for the PS4. In other words, you don't necessarily have to feel like you're missing out on everything new. You can still play many upcoming games on current-get hardware while you wait.

Still, it's understandable to be excited for the newest console. Hopefully Sony will follow through on its promise to release more units. The hype for the PS5 seems to building by the day, regardless of the many issues with pre-orders.