“Should I buy PlayStation 5 at launch?”
Short answer: No.
Long answer: If you feel anger rising from hearing the short answer… then you probably already know you’re going to buy it even if it was just a pile of bricks with a Sony logo on it.
For the rest of you, let’s have a look at the educated answer and how you can save around 500 dollars. (Regardless of whether you end up with a PS5 or not.)
Sony’s history with upgrades
Buying any PlayStation at launch has always been a financially poor decision.
Sony has a flawless track record at making improved versions of each and every one of their consoles. These new console versions have always been cheaper, smaller or more powerful. Usually a combination of all of those.
The only arguable exception was the original PS3. Yes, it was bulkier and more expensive than later versions, but it had more USB ports and allowed you to play games from all PlayStations until then. (Later versions only allowed playing PS1 and PS3 games.)
For every other PlayStation in history, it has always been better to wait for the improved version.
PS1 got PS One. It was more compact, cheaper and more durable.
PS2 got PS2 Slim. It was slimmer and cheaper, with built-in networking.
PS3 got PS3 Slim and PS3 Super Slim. The latter versions were not only physically smaller, cheaper and with bigger hard drives, but also consumed less power. They also made less noise.
PS4 got PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro. The slim version is purely cheaper and sleekier. The pro version is more expensive, but outputs 4K and handles some games slightly better.
And even if you’re not looking for an improved version, there are bound to be a bunch of really fancy looking special editions available for anybody with a little patience.
Preordering itself is a bad practice
Preordering anything by itself is a bad practice. This goes especially for any digital releases, but also for many physical ones.
Preordering means you’re paying for something without really knowing if it’s good. Will the early PS5 versions have technical problems? Most likely not, but we can’t know unless we wait for the reviews. Historically Sony’s consoles don’t seem to have massive black marks like Xbox 360’s Red Ring of Death and Wii U getting bricked from day one patch. Still, the PlayStations haven’t been without their issues (and some ensuing lawsuits), so it’s always best to not expect anything.
In general, you really shouldn’t even consider preordering, unless in a situation with a physical product that may run out of stock forever unless you act fast. (Or a physical product where only a limited amount will be produced based on preorders.)
And that is not going to happen with PS5.
Or if it does, it’s because Sony dropped support of the console. And in that case, you probably don’t want to own it anyway since there will be no further games for it.
The educated choice is to wait
PS5 looks to be another no-nonsense, no suprises console from Sony, but it does come with quite a bit of value.
It can also play PS4 games which is nice if you skipped that console. Or if you want to have the ability to play PS4 games without having to have a dedicated console hooked up for it. The PS4 has quite a vast library of games already, after all.
It can also play DVD and Bluray movies (assuming you don’t pick the digital-only version), so you don’t need another device for that.
If not, the only truly wise decision is to wait. There will be better versions of the PlayStation 5 available later. And if you have a backlog of games waiting for you, maybe be a responsible person and work on those first?
Not to mention the stress of trying to buy one while they’re sold out everywhere. By the time the better versions roll out, you can just walk to any store to grab one.