One of the perks of returning to EA as a regular, full-time employee is the game console credit. This perk is not new as I believe it’s something they were offering almost twenty years ago. It used to be a one-time $100 credit towards the purchase of a new game console. It was literally a one-time thing though. If you bought a Sony PS2 in 2002 and used up your credit, you’d be on your own paying for any new consoles years later. As consoles came out in subsequent generations, long-tenured employees complained it kinda sucked that they had just one credit.
EA changed their mind and now all regular employees (even those who used their original credit) have another credit to use towards the purchase of a new console. The credit is even adjusted based on your country of residence. Due the variation in console pricing between regions and the strength of a country’s currency, consoles can be much more expensive in certain countries. I believe for US employees, the credit stands at $100 USD for but Canadian employees, it’s $150. The credit also had a time limit. It has to be used within six months of your start date. For me, I’d have to buy a new console by December 6.
Getting $150 off an Xbox One or a PlayStation 4 is a great deal. The interesting thing is, I’m not even sure if I really want either of those. I loved my Xbox 360 but neither of the current consoles have had me running to the store. If had to choose though, I’d easily choose the PlayStation 4. I’m slightly biased because I’ve had a chance to develop at least one game on either platform. Microsoft made the Xbox 360 a joy to develop for, especially compared to the PS3. Microsoft took all of that good stuff and threw it out the window. Making a game for the Xbox One is a pain compared to the PS4. Sony learned from all their mistakes on the PS3 and now the PS4 tools work really well.
So why don’t I just go with the PS4? It would be that simple, except that there is more powerful PlayStation 4 coming out sometime in the next six months or so. Therein lies the problem. The Playstation Neo is definitely coming out but the release date hasn’t been confirmed. Some people say it will be out sometime in 2016 but that’s not a given. I don’t want to be in a situation where I buy the current PS4 model and then see the beefier model in the stores the next week. Why does the increased horsepower matter? At E3, earlier in June, I read that the faster PS4 was designed in part, to properly power the PlayStation VR headset. Though this might be just hearsay, it’s been speculated that the current PS4 model is not powerful enough to truly give a proper VR experience. If I were to get a PS4, I would also be interested in getting the PlayStation VR headset.
So do I wait and hope the Neo comes out before December 6? And if it doesn’t, do I spent my credit on the slower PS4?
Of course, this is a completely silly problem to have, worrying about applying a credit on piece of consumer technology designed to entertain. The other option is to just wait. Time is the ultimate discounter. In late 2013, the Xbox One was $500 at launch and now you can get it for less than $350 in some places.
This is another of those first-world problems that most other people would love to have. Will there be a PlayStation 4 in my living room before December 6? I’ll keep you posted.