The PlayStation 5 is Sony’s latest console, but the PlayStation 4 is still available, at least as a preowned system. So, the question is: Should you buy a PS4 in 2021?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of buying a PS4 while you still have the option.
Prices for PS4 and PS5 in 2021
The PS4 is often being sold pre-owned or in bundles, so it’s hard to estimate the exact cost. The PS4 Slim’s manufacturer-set price is $300 and the PS4 Pro $400, respectively.
One major difference is that the PS4 Pro can play 4K resolution games thanks to its faster hardware. Sony hasn’t reduced the suggested price for either system since the launch of PS5.
The PS5 Digital Edition, which does not include a disk drive, is priced at $400. While the standard PS5 costs $500. There are still good reasons to get a PS4 even if the PS5 is not available (or you don’t want next-gen).
The PS4 has a great library of games…
There are many games that you can play on your PS4. This includes some of the most popular PS4 exclusives such as God of War or Ratchet & Clank. Third-party titans like Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed and Indie games. Remasters of classic PlayStation Games are also available.
The PS4 is a great console to play tons of games if you don’t have a gaming computer or another console. If you are primarily interested in its exclusives, the PS4 will be a more difficult sell in 2021.
But Many PS4 Games Can Be Played Anywhere
The PS5 is compatible with almost all PS4 titles and is therefore backward-compatible. If you have a digital game for PS4 or a standard PS5, you can play it on your PS5 and take advantage of the faster hardware.
The PlayStation Plus Collection is a more appealing perk if you have missed the PS4. All PS Plus subscribers with a PS5 can enjoy this benefit at no extra cost. It includes access to top PS4 games such as Persona 5, Resident Evil 7 and Bloodborne.
PlayStation Plus is $60 per year. This adds up to a significant cost. If you plan to play many of these titles, waiting to get a PS5 is a better option than buying each one individually.
PS4 games run quicker on PS5 thanks to the built-in SSD. Keep in mind that the PS5 has only 825GB storage. This means that PS4 games can quickly add up. You can add more storage to your PS5 by using an external USB drive, or an M.2 SSD. However, these options come at an additional cost.
It turns out that PlayStation consoles don’t have to be the only place you can play PlayStation games. Some games, such as Horizon Zero Dawn or God of War were previously only available for the PS4. PlayStation Now can be accessed on PC. This allows you to stream many of the top PS4 and older titles to your computer as long as there is an internet connection.
If you have an existing PC and only want to play a few exclusive games on it, a PS4 may not be the right choice. A PS4 is not the best value if you are primarily interested in multiplatform games (more details below).
How long will the support for the PlayStation 4 last?
Sony Japan announced in January 2021 that it would cease production of nearly all PS4 models . The unexpected announcement was surprising, considering that the company had previously claimed it would continue to support the PS4 for many more years.
You should act quickly if you wish to purchase a new PS4. It will become harder to find one once the supply runs out, so you may have to pay more.
Sony’s decision to end support for the console indicates that it is no longer available. Sony won’t likely offer hardware support for the console, and games will be stopped soon on a discontinued console.
What about game support if you get a PS4 by 2021? We can use the last console generation to estimate.
The PS4’s Most Expected Game Lifetime
In North America, the PlayStation 3 was discontinued in 2016. It was supported by cross-generational titles up to the end. Call of Duty: Black Ops III, for example, was the last Call of Duty title that was released on the system in 2015. However, it was a reduced version without a campaign mode.
Similar rules were used for exclusive games. The final PS3 edition of the yearly series, MLB The Show 16, was published by Sony. Before this, 2014’s LittleBigPlanet 3 had been the last major Sony-published title.
The PS4 was launched in 2013 when the PS3 had been seven years old. The PS4 is now on the same timeline with the PS5 which launched in 2020. However, the PS4 Pro (launched 2016) makes this somewhat more complicated.
After being delayed from its 2021 release date, Horizon Forbidden West will be released on PS5 and PS4 in Feb 2022. However, the 2021 release of Ratchet & Clank : Rift Apart is a PS5 exclusive.
Gran Turismo 5 March 2022 will be available on both PS4 & PS5 while God of War Ragnarok also will be available on both PS4 & PS5. It is not yet clear if you will need a PS5 in order to play the next big title.
These trends suggest that the PS4 will receive cross-platform titles until 2023 at the earliest. Although the PS4 Pro might get a different treatment than the PS4, Sony has not made any distinctions between PS4 models since the PS5’s release.
Is it worth buying a PS4 in 2021
All these factors being considered, is the PS4 worth purchasing in 2021? It is unlikely, but it all depends on your circumstances.
The PS4 Pro is a good option if you’re looking to play many exclusive titles on PS4 and don’t own another console. Although the PS4 Pro is more futuristic, we recommend that you stick with a PS4 Slim. To reduce the cost (which is likely to be your only option), consider buying a second-hand model.
Cross-play is possible with PS4 and PS5 players in many PS5 games. You can also take most of your games along when you upgrade to the PS5 via backward compatibility, or free upgrade offers. You’re mainly buying access to older games with the PS4, since very few new titles will be released in the next year.
We recommend that you wait if you plan on buying a PS5 within the next year. It’s not worth spending $300 now on a PS4 and $500 later on a PS5. You might also consider playing a few PS Now games on your computer.
If you need assistance in making a decision, we’ve compared PS4 and PS5 more thoroughly.
A Nintendo Switch is a better option if you don’t care about exclusive PlayStation games. The console was launched in 2017 and offers many features for its price. This system can be used at home or on-the-go with a variety of first-party Nintendo games, as well as third-party ports and indie titles.
While the Switch is likely to be supported for longer than the PS4, it will not be as powerful. Cross-platform games such as Overwatch and Doom Eternal aren’t as smooth on Switch.
The Xbox Series S is another great option. It was a popular choice during Black Friday 2021. It costs $300 and, while it only has 512GB of storage and isn’t as powerful or as fast as the PS5, it is extremely fast and offers a vast library of Xbox games from all generations. It’s a better choice than the older PS4 for casual gamers.
While you won’t be able to play exclusive PlayStation games, the Series S is compatible with all multi-platform games such as Battlefield and Madden.
PS4’s Legacy lives on
There are situations when it might make sense to purchase a PS4 now, as we have seen. If you aren’t in one of these situations, it might be smarter to wait for the PS5, or purchase a PlayStation Exclusives on PC instead.
A modern console is a better investment than buying older games. You just need to be patient for the moment.