Old is the new 'new'
So, after all the hullabaloo of next-generation console launches, arguments about 1080p, and massive online outages, it's time to get on with the important stuff like murdering zombies in Dead Rising 3, or Helghast in Killzone: Shadow Fall, right? Maybe its time for some browsing of menus using your voice, or sharing videos of you being a tool in COD: Ghosts? Right? Well for many, it might not be time to enter the future just yet. Some can't afford to make the jump into the land of ultra-shiny graphics and bountiful micro transactions. Some didn't order a console in time. Some just don't see the point just yet.
But that doesn't need to stop you having a next-gen experience. Just because your PS3 or 360 is considered 'old' now, that doesn't mean they're incapable of some amazing feats. With plenty of games and ways to emulate the latest consoles, there's no need to rush out or start harvesting your vital organs to upgrade. Here are just some of the ways that you can have a great gaming experience without going next-gen.
Finish what you started
Answer this as honestly--or dishonestly, I won't judge--as possible. How many of the games on your shelf have you actually, fully completed? If you're anything like me, the answer will probably be between 20-30%. Okay maybe 40%, there are only so many hours in the day after all. But thanks to a combination of sales and clambering aboard the hype train every few months, it's hard to avoid amassing a sizeable library of games that never get fully finished.
Add in Playstation Plus and er... Games On Gold, I guess... adding quality games to your hard drive, and the nagging desire to play Battlefield 4 on new kit doesn't seem so appealing. So what better way to spend your time before entering the next generation than properly finishing this one? Working through all the games you forgot to finish is going to take a while, and it gives you a chance to give that Gamerscore or Trophy count a nice massage before you join the next-gen party.
Carry on catching up
As we've been told mercilessly throughout the past few weeks, the Xbox One is not just a games console: it's a multimedia hub. It's designed to let you watch live TV through it, using the Snap system to flip between TV and games as you please. Because, y'know, the future. Of course, who actually cares about live TV when Parks and Recreation, Archer and Breaking Bad are just waiting for you on Netflix?
So while your current gen console isn't going to let you flip between apps like the Xbox One does, when it comes to consuming other--non-gamey media--the PS3, 360 and Wii U have got your back. You've got Spotify-like services in Music Unlimited as well as Xbox Music and so many options for video streaming that youll be forgetting all those games you could/should be playing before you can say Oh, I have to catch up on that.
Integrate yourself, socially
Social media may be the buzziest of buzz terms, but over the next few years, were going to be seeing a lot more of Facebook and Twitter interaction from our consoles. For starters, PS4 uses the connection with Facebook to allow you to share game clips and link your PSN account to Zuckerbergs brainchild. This is great if youre into that sort of over-sharing thing, which the world has decided that it is very much in to.
But, if youre desperate for everyone to know what youre doing at that exact moments, then youre in luck, because the genesis for social media integration--thats buzzword bingo, folks--began with this round of consoles. Some games, like Uncharted 2, already have Twitter integration in them, so when you earn a Trophy for mass murder with a cheeky grin, your entire online following will know... and almost certainly tweet back to congratulate you, and not chastise you for spamming them with constant updates from a four year old game.
Second-screen yourself silly
Dont worry, I havent forgotten about the Wii U. When Ninty squeezed itself awkwardly between generations, it brought along second screen functionality, and now Sony and Microsoft have joined their party. Remote Play and Smartglass are nifty features of the next-gen consoles, but they're certainly not new ideas, and they're easily replicated on whatever hardware you're running.
But now Ive sold you the second screen future, you understandably want it now. Admittedly youll need a Vita for this, but if youre lucky enough to own Sonys handheld and the PS3, you already have a scaled back remote play experience. Sync the two together using voodoo and the internet; before you know it youll be able to play certain games via the glossy Vita touchscreen. If you dont own a Vita, then just get back to using GTA 5s iFruit app and enjoying your new found canine companion in Chop. Or playing Angry Birds on your iPad while you wait for Gran Turismo 6 to load.
Experiment with streaming
Share and Upload. Two words youre going to see a lot of over the next few years as PS4 and Xbox One expect you to stream and share your favourite gameplay clips. Its the sort of feature that means we'll never miss a hilarious, game crippling bug again, or forget that magic moment when our 30 hour save files are deleted by the latest gameplay patch. For now though, its being used to showcase the launch line-up of the consoles on sites like Twitch, giving you the opportunity to bore people silly as you camp for hours in Battlefield 4.
Of course, why let something like a next-gen console stop you from showing the world your gaming prowess? Capture cards will help you record all your gaming exploits to show off to your friends, although they upload in a slightly more convoluted way than clicking the share button on a Dualshock 4. If that doesnt do it for you, theres always the mega cheap option of just getting someone to record the TV screen with their iPhone camera. Just make sure they hold it still, even when their arms 'really, really hurt'.
As all the console makers have pointed out, its not all about the big explosions and rat-a-tat bass rumbles of blockbuster gaming anymore. Indie developers have been courted and wooed to the point where theyre arguably just as big a deal at launch as Battlefield or FIFA, which is great thing for all the early adopters, but not so great for the rest of us. What can I do when it comes to staunchly avoiding the mainstream releases like the gaming hipster I am?
The simple answer? I'll probably just keep catching up on the indie classics in exactly the same way as before. If you are yet to dip your toes into these waters, youve missed out on classics like Hotline Miami, Limbo, Bastion and critical darling Braid. The sheer volume of classic indie games youve got to play on last generation is staggering and when you think that some of the launch indies--howdy, Contrast--are also available on the older consoles, then it makes more sense to put that loan for a new console on hold. And speaking of PS4 games on PS3
Get next-gen games on current-gen
Have you seen the launch line-up for the Xbox One and PS4? Of course Im being silly, chances are youve memorized it and can conjure up the full list in less than 7 seconds. Now, how many of those games are genuine exclusives for the new breed of consoles? Hmm, not many. For those of you who kept your money in your wallets, nows the time to start crowing about what you wont be missing out on.
Because Assassins Creed 4, Battlefield 4, COD: Ghosts and FIFA 14 are all games that made their debuts last-gen. Sure, a few last gen games making the jump across generations is to be expected, but when you also factor in future heavyweights like Destiny and Watch Dogs also getting run-outs on the PS3 and 360, then the best part of any console--that would be the games--is going to be on both generations for a while.
Get annoyed with your original Kinect
Kinect and Move might not have been the most popular of innovations during 360 and PS3's lifetime, but Microsoft has doubled down on their tech and now youre getting a Kinect with your Xbox One whether you want it or not. So when you can afford to make the jump, get ready for voice commands.
But hang on... are you one of the people who actually got an original Kinect? I know youre out there. Because youve already have been playing around with voice commands for quite a while. The Xbox 360 might not have the same advanced commands, but you can practice your new Kinect friendly voice by dusting it off and getting impatient when it doesnt pick up your accent. It's JUST LIKE NEXT-GEN!
Time is on your side
With all these reasons for not giving up on your current consoles just yet, you can now forget about the latest hardware. Or, if this list made you desperate to make the jump over, thats what Christmas lists, emotional blackmail, and eBay listings are for. Let us know whether your going next-gen or sticking with current-gen in the comments below.