Refurbished Playstation 3 or new Playstation 4?
November 7, 2019 3:13 PM   Subscribe

Seems obvious that the answer would be PS4 if I can afford it, BUT there are snowflakes involved. My primary use for the Playstation will be to play RockBand, puzzle games (like Portal 2), and games I can play with my 6.5 yo daughter (like MineCraft).

I was planning on getting the PS4 but:

1) it's not backwards compatible with PS3 games
2) Portal 2 is not available as a PS4 game
3) People seem to hate RockBand 4 (the version compatible with PS4)

My concern with getting the PS3 is primarily that it will be slow or will not be functional and reliable long term.

I'm leaning toward the PS3 but am looking for reassurance that it will provide fun game play for a long time. I'm not a huge gamer, and getting all the stuff for either the PS3 or PS4 will be a pretty big investment.

posted by argyle dreams to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The PS3 has a huge library available, but you should assume there won't be any new games for it. Older games should be inexpensive, though.

PS3 games my daughter loved and got a lot of game time on at that age:
LittleBigPlanet 2
LittleBigPlanet 3
Castle Crashers
all the Lego Lord of the Rings/Harry Potter/Indiana Jones games (they re-enact the movies, which she also loved)

Most (not all) of the above can be played on the PS4, but they should be cheaper on the PS3.

I bought a PS4 but haven't used it much: there aren't many exclusive titles I'm excited about. A lot of indie games are released for it, which is good, but they also get released on the Nintendo Switch, which has more fun and kid-friendly exclusive games.

If Rockband and Portal 2 are dealbreakers for you, you might also want to consider a used xbox 360, which might be even cheaper.
posted by homodachi at 3:28 PM on November 7, 2019

Also, if cost is a big factor, get the PS3. Games & consoles of the previous generation are always cheaper.

I noticed that you specifically said "refurbished PS3"--I wouldn't bother with one labeled as a refurb unless it comes with a warranty; you're likely to get something in similar condition for a better price on craigslist.
posted by homodachi at 3:37 PM on November 7, 2019 [3 favorites]

The rockband keytar compatible with ps3 is an amazing tank, often available for $5-10 and also useful as. MIDI controller. So I say PS 3 too.
posted by SaltySalticid at 4:16 PM on November 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

Sounds like you have very specific uses for the thing. I have a PS4 Pro and I absolutely love it. Best gaming experience in my life. But based on your criteria, I'd say buy a used PS3 and buy the games used. It will be drastically cheaper.

A fun, simple, easy and really cool suggestion for a kids game is Peggle... available on the PS3.
posted by SoberHighland at 5:49 PM on November 7, 2019

Few data points, all over the map:

The PS4 does have a roundabout way of playing some PS3 games; a $10/mo subscription service to stream them that's called "Playstation Now". The catalog has hundreds of titles but does not appear to include any Rock Band games or Portal 2 (and might never include those games)

But the PS4 Rock Band game is great. It's (at best) an incremental improvement over previous games, but they've streamlined the pick-up-and-playability about as far as they can, they didn't screw anything up with the core gameplay, and it can import your downloaded songs and use your instruments from previous games without issue. Aside from failing to reinvent the wheel or set the world on fire when it came out (in a everybody's-kinda-tired-of-rockband-these-days era), I can't think of anything about it to dislike.

Used PS3 games are dead cheap online and the catalog is just gigantic over the decade-plus they had it as their flagship console -- it even overlapped the PS4 and a number of games shipped on both consoles (like Metal Gear Solid 5) that really squeezed the last drops of hardware performance out of that beast. I got more video game mileage out of that PS3 than any console I've owned, all the way back to the Atari.

Consoles do fail like any other electronics, and I replaced my PS3 mid-cycle after a "yellow light of death" which is basically an internal electronics failure. So there's an argument for longevity that supports the PS4 route over a (necessarily manufactured-longer-ago) PS3. A refurb is not something I'd trust, personally, as there are hacky fixes for failed consoles (like doing a "reflow" on the board) that don't often stay fixed for as long as you'd want them to.

If your or your daughter's interests expand over time, you might eventually start to want the newer hardware to try the new fun stuff that comes out... I'm a convert on the VR stuff they added to the PS4, for example, but you'll also be more likely to be able to run "whatever the next Minecraft is".

So that's a little from column A and a little from column B. The good news is I think you can have a ton of fun with either system. Cheers!
posted by churl at 5:52 PM on November 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

We've got our PS3 hooked up in the basement guest room (where I primarily fold laundry). It's awesome and still going strong after who knows how many years. Yes, it's slow compared to the PS4, but the games made for it are intended for the system and the applications for things like video streaming are straightforward. I expect it to last at least a few more years if not longer.

We're a gaming household and have a PS4 and Switch hooked up to the primary tv. But we actually dug out and hooked the PS3 up in the guest room because I wanted to play some PS3 games in particular. All our other older consoles are also still functional (all the back back to the NES, astoundingly) but the PS3 is the one that's properly come out of console retirement.

Of course consoles do fail. I think that it's a bit hit or miss. But I think your instincts are right for this and that the PS3 is a strong choice. There are tons of wonderful puzzle games that are wicked cheap, there's still a good market for peripherals, and the speed is comparable to something like a slightly clunky mobile or tablet so your kid isn't going to be much put out.
posted by Mizu at 6:52 PM on November 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have found the PS4 distinctly less enjoyable for my favourite game: SingStar. I used to have a PS3 and there were SO MANY discs and, thus, songs. These games aren't compatible with PS4 and the song selection for SingStar is strikingly limited (you don't buy discs any more, you download); and I can't see that they are regularly adding new songs or anything. So I'd rather have the PS3 for my purposes (but the PS4 was a gift). You might see if your favorite game has the same limited selection to download.
posted by Halo in reverse at 9:20 PM on November 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

For Rock Band it matters less, unless Beatles isn't playable on PS4, anyway, but for Singstar you really want an old PS3 with PS2 backwards compatibility that has had its BD-ROM replaced. The library of PS2 Singstar games is very large, with many otherwise unavailable tracks, and remains very cheap.
posted by wierdo at 11:22 PM on November 7, 2019

playstation has been teasing universal backwards compatibility for all previous console's games with the ps5 but it's a long wait for a rumor.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:04 AM on November 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

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