It's the worst time to buy a PlayStation 4

PlayStation 4Sony

With somewhere around 7 billion people on the planet, there's still a decent chance you're part of the 6.9 billion who don't own a PlayStation 4 yet. But perhaps you were thinking about getting one?

Admittedly, it's very tempting: At this point in the PlayStation 4's life, there are dozens of excellent games. And the console is less expensive than ever before - a used PS4 can go for $200 or less.

But maybe, just maybe, you should wait for the PlayStation 5.

Sony's next PlayStation console - the successor to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro - is expected to arrive next year, in 2020. That alone shouldn't give you pause on your potential PlayStation 4 purchase.

But there's another, even more pragmatic reason to hold out: The PlayStation 5 will run PlayStation 4 games. Games like the gorgeous and thrilling "Marvel's Spider-Man," seen here:

Spider-Man (PS4)Sony/Marvel

Sony confirmed as much in a recent interview with Wired, among other details about the upcoming PlayStation console.

That's good news for both existing PlayStation 4 owners and potential ones:

  • If you already own a PS4, your game library will transfer over to Sony's next PlayStation console.
  • If you don't already own a PS4, the next PlayStation comes built-in with a massive library of excellent PS4 games. Win-win!
But for anyone who doesn't already own a PlayStation console, getting the newest version will let you play the most games. The PlayStation 4 can only play PlayStation 4 games, but the PlayStation 5 will play PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 games!

Death Stranding Golden Mask&quotDeath Stranding"/Kojima Productions

There's another financial argument to point out here: The PlayStation 5 might be a more expensive console than usual. "I believe that we will be able to release it at an SRP [suggested retail price] that will be appealing to gamers in light of its advanced feature set," lead architect Mark Cerny told Wired's Peter Rubin.

When Rubin pushed on what that meant, Cerny demurred. "That's about all I can say about it," he said.

Given that the PlayStation 5 is running on brand new, yet-to-be-released processors and uses more expensive solid-state storage, it's likely to land on the higher side in terms of price. For context, the nearly three-year-old PlayStation 4 Pro model still costs $400 - the PlayStation 5 could cost even more.

So, instead of buying a PS4 now, why not save that money and put it toward a PlayStation 5 next year?

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