Since the late 80s, during the days of the Atari 5200, I've owned at least one home console from that generation and every subsequent generation afterward. I can recall waiting for a friend of mine to invite the local ragtag group of kids to his house to witness the debut of the newest console to come out, whether it was taking turns on Super Mario World for the SNES (and someone hogging the controller to ride Yoshi, not naming names), competing against each other in Battle Arena Toshiden for the first PlayStaion, or getting slightly perplexed at the controls of Pilotwings 64 on a brand new Nintendo 64 system. That particular friend mastered the fine art of getting his parents to pay for a brand new, day one console, before the days of Gamestop pre-orders and unboxing videos on Youtube. That friend even managed to instruct his parents on what games to buy for the brand-new system, something which I failed to do on Christmas in '96 where I received a N64 months after its U.S. release, with SNES cartridges bought for the system instead (My mother meant well).
That lucky day-one kid would end up being the star of the show for months on end, with his mission to convince us all around the schoolyard that this newest console, fresh from the shelves of a department store, was THE console to get, right now. Too hot to wait until my mother received her Christmas bonus, or any significant price drop to the product. You didn't want to be left behind with the previous gen's limitations, then you'd just look like the unmotivated, poor kid that's still inputting the blood code on Mortal Kombat 1 while everyone else is in disbelief on how realistic Randy Moss looks on NFL2K. Alas, during my childhood I was never a “day-one kid”, usually getting new consoles months after its release, but nonetheless never succumbing to the impressionable notion of being “left behind”.
So, well into my 20s, shortly after E3 2013, I decided to pre-order a Launch Day Playstation 4. Unless Amazon is getting my hopes up for nothing, I'll receive this console on its Nov. 15 date, and become a “guinea pig” for the services and games that Sony is offering with its release, along with a million other test subjects, according to the reported pre-order figures.
I have heard the horror stories of buying a console at launch: From dealing with a severely limited library, with games usually suffering in quality due to having to experiment with dev kits they haven't mastered yet, to hardware issues, such as the infamous Red Ring Of Death on the Xbox 360, or detrimental limitations, with the PS3 lacking in comprehensive online services early on, or the Wii U's comically long firmware update. There has been numerous reports of criminal activity occurring around stores during a new console's launch day, usually robberies and shootings, not to include the legal, yet “highway robbery” of people buying multiple consoles to sell for triple their worth on auction sites as stock runs out in stores. Can't forget the inevitable confusion and apathy being exchanged between customers and store clerks. Waiting a year or two until prices for these consoles usually drop with a much more substantial selection of games to choose from is, admittedly, the wiser option, especially if you have the will power to do so.
So why would I fully intend to acquire a console at launch, even at the disadvantages previously mentioned? To show that damn day-one kid I can be cool too, 15 or so years later? To embrace the cruelty of my inner-child so I can point and laugh at the downtrodden sticking to their grandpappy consoles? There's room in my wallet now to fit their jealous tears in, and I want that satisfaction, right?
Mainly, I want a launch day console for the sheer curiosity of it. Being a guinea pig for a highly-anticipated, brand new gaming machine is something I've never experienced, and probably won't have the urge to experience again. As much as a negative stigma purchasing a launch-day anything can carry, this time I'm willing to go through the grind myself, deal with the flaws I may come across, and the benefits that are bound to be there....hopefully. Idle hands and disposable income are the devil's playthings, so let's see where this goes. The launch day console purchase may ultimately frustrate the consumer base with unforeseeable circumstances. So be it, because somewhere, that day-one kid is smiling down on me, God rest his soul.
(Reminder: I should look into whether that kid is still alive. Hope he didn't get shot in line).
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