DISPATCHES Dialogue
Edge|September 2021
Send your views, using ‘Dialogue’ as the subject line, to edge@futurenet.com. Our letter of the month wins a 12-month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership
Jake Mellor, Paul Casey, Robert August de Meijer, Conor Clarke

The modern things

We live in the interesting transitional period between console generations, when some of us were lucky enough to grab a PS5 or Series X/S (constantly refreshing Twitter would be my tip), and others are still happily gaming away on now last-gen machines.

Now, I understand why new-gen games are becoming more and more pricey and harder to justify splashing out on, but what strikes me as odd is how, as new games continue to be released across generations, free upgrades are still on offer for people to capitalise upon when they finally get their hands on an elusive XboxStation 5.

Yet why are these different iterations priced differently? Surely I’m not the only broke cheapskate who, having spent most of his budget on the console, is buying the PS4 version of, for example, Judgment, and cheekily upgrading immediately for free, saving a considerable amount of money over the PS5 copy in the process? I’m no businessman, but it hardly seems like a profitable venture. This price difference seems exclusive to physical media; the PS Store commonly bundles both versions into a single price.

My question is, how long before retailers wise up to this exploit, or is it left to our consciences to refrain from such skulduggery? Free upgrades surely won’t be around forever, so, much like a game-breaking money exploit, isn’t it best to make the most of this cheat before the inevitable patch comes out?

Jake Mellor

Spending your money wisely hardly feels unscrupulous. If you’re prepared to put in the effort to wangle a free upgrade, more power to you. As you say, these offers won’t necessarily be around too much longer – although, given the continued rollout issues with new hardware, it’ll probably still be worth seeking out these bargains for a little while yet.

On and ever onward

I have been thinking a lot lately about how games can provide therapy to those who play them. I had a nervous breakdown in 2014, and have struggled with mental illness since then, usually in the form of anxiety and paranoia. Great art – and I do certainly believe that video games are art – outlives the critical response. After a time, who really cares that Joe Hack thought Citizen Kane didn’t reach his standards? Especially when that art is connecting with countless persons in a meaningful way. This is not to dump on the profession of criticism, but instead to affirm the value of a direct relationship with a piece of art. I considered suicide, seriously and often, after my breakdown. When my father asked me, after a particularly bad bout of paranoia, what I wanted to do that I could not do, I responded: “Play BioShock Infinite.”

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