Next gen is coming – How to clear your current gen backlog

by James O'Connor 19 Comments 34 Likes 7,350 Views 02/08/2013 Back to PS4 articles PlayStation 4

As the PS4 and Xbox One edge ever closer to release, I’m seeing more and more concern from people about their enormous gaming backlogs. It’s a concern I know all too well – my stack of games is enormous, and my lists of downloaded titles on XBLA/Steam/PSN are downright terrifying. I also know that once the new consoles are out, I’ll probably unplug the old ones to make room, and no matter how much I’d like to check out Skate 3 I’ll probably never get around to plugging the 360 back in.

With this in mind, I need a plan for how to deal with my backlog. Sure, I could hold off on the next generation and work through my list, but come on – have you seen how great Watch_Dogs looks running on a PS4? So I’ve been trying to formulate a sensible, realistic plan of attack for how to tackle my pile, and I’d appreciate any input readers may have for their own plans, the size of their backlogs, and the heartbreaking decisions they may have made to leave games behind.

Focus on one system at a time

I’ve realised that my Wii backlog is only going to move if I pull out a bunch of Wii games and focus on them exclusively for a few weeks. For most of this year I’ve been focused on the 360 though, because I always was a sucker for achievements. I figure that once I hit 70K I can perhaps move on to the pile of PS3 promo discs I’ve got sitting around, maybe move through those PS2 HD collections before I fall two generations behind on Shadow of the Colossus. Or perhaps I should play through the huge list of games I’ve gotten through Plus, lest I forget all about them and continue to congratulate Sony on the amazing service I’m paying for but never using.

Make a list

Go through all your games and catalogue the ones you sincerely want and intend to go back to. Lists are a good way to process many of life’s challenges, but having each game written down makes it easier to identify what you still actually want to play. You can cross games off as you finish them, or at least play enough to feel like you’re ready to move on.

Try to avoid sales tables

Over the next few months, it’s not unlikely that stores will start to clear out stock on the old consoles to make shelf space for the new ones. Remember, if you already have a backlog, these sales are a trap. You’re not going to play any old games that you’re just now getting around to buying. If you really wanted to play these games, you would have already bought them, instead of the 50-odd other games you bought and never played, right? I say this under the assumption that the rest of you are as fiscally irresponsible as I have been, which probably isn’t a fair assumption to make.

Move on from that abandoned JRPG

I have a save file twenty hours into The Last Story, a brilliant Wii RPG. It has been at least a year since I last played it, and I recall dying in the middle of a huge, difficult battle last time I played. There is very little hope of me picking this game back up and remembering the intricacies of its battle system well enough to keep going, let alone the story. Sacrifices need to be made if you have any hope of playing through all your games.

Don’t be overwhelmed by big titles

You don’t need to finish Skyrim or Dragon’s Dogma. You don’t have to 100% Saints Row The Third. You don’t need the Platinum trophy in Just Cause 2. But you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t at least dip into these games. If you’ve got them, play them enough to at least appreciate what they’re doing – if nothing else, you’ll have a better understanding of why all your friends disappeared for a month after these games released.

Give some of your games away

It can be hard to accept when you’re never going to play a game again, but it helps if you decide to do some good while clearing up shelf space. If you have any games suitable for kids in your pile of shame, gather them up and call up a local children’s hospital or community centre and ask if they take donations. You won’t get the $15~ you’d get from EB, but you’ll get a warm sense of inner-satisfaction! Hit up your friends who own consoles but don’t play much, too – you have a chance here to educate them by giving away a few old classics that you know you won’t be touching again, while at the same time freeing up some shelf space.

Remember that this whole backlog concept is fairly arbitrary

It’s important to remember that nothing bad will happen to you if you never get around to playing that old Ghost Recon game you bought on sale. Plenty of people I know have decided to wipe their slates clean, declare their backlogs null and void, and apparently feel quite liberated by it. The thrill of buying something new is a big part of why some people are so into gaming, and the thought of going back and clearing out the old games doesn’t appeal. This isn’t quite my stance – I’m sure there’s some undiscovered gold in my pile – but it’s worth remembering that no one will judge you for owning a lot of games you never finished.

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Next gen is coming – How to clear your current gen backlog Comments

  • Gryllis 338472 XP 02/08/2013
    I cannot have unfinished games! [Rage]

    Well, if I'm at least halfway. If it's less than that then it's fine.

    I'm 70% through Uncharted 3 and I hate it but I still feel OCD about finishing it now that I'm so far it.
  • DPhoenix 110 XP 02/08/2013

    @Gryllis said: I cannot have unfinished games!
    Well, if I'm at least halfway. If it's less than that then it's fine.
    I'm 70% through Uncharted 3 and I hate it but I still feel OCD about finishing it now that I'm so far it.


    I've told you how it ends. Not well.
    Don't bother with Uncharted 3, play the Last of Us.

    Pretty sure across all 3 consoles my backlog (shame pile) is sitting at around 160 games. [WTF]
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  • Blob 40488 XP 02/08/2013
    I have about 20 PS3 games I still need to buy, let alone play :(

    I'm pretty good at finishing games I own though. I generally make myself finish them before I buy more :P
  • 1wiierdguy 8022 XP 02/08/2013 +1
    I accept that my backlog is a permanent fixture in my collection. I don't think I'll ever finish all my games. :O
  • stublu 35438 XP 02/08/2013

    @Gryllis said: I cannot have unfinished games!
    Well, if I'm at least halfway. If it's less than that then it's fine.
    I'm 70% through Uncharted 3 and I hate it but I still feel OCD about finishing it now that I'm so far it.


    I got stuck at a certain point and gave up on that game :P
  • MezFunky 1067 XP 02/08/2013
    My backlog is particularly shameful, and thus daunting to tackle. But I'm not fussed about the approaching next gen, so maybe I'll just casually work through it while everyone's playing Ryse or Driveclub or whatever it is people care about.
  • Axe99 227 XP 02/08/2013
    I like to finish all my games, but had to revise this for PS+ games, as there's just too many of them. I don't finish PS+ games that are average, but the quality is actually pretty good, so I'm now not finishing games that are pretty good but not genres I normally go for (Resident Evil 5 was one of the casualties). Same goes with games picked up in publisher bundles on Steam.

    Another thing to keep in mind in all of this is that while we'll see a stack of new, shiny titles for the next-gen consoles before Christmas, traditionally the six months after launch can be a little thin on the ground. I'm hanging onto my PS3 (the console with the largest backlog, sorry 360 but one of you have to make way for a HDMI port for the next-gen machine ;)) to play in tandem with the PS4.
  • abujaffer 14339 XP 02/08/2013
    I took the "Dabble into Your Collection" advice for a lot of games I got and played them a lot more than I expected. I've put in 3 hours into Sega All Stars Racing, over 5 hours into my Genesis collection (Streets of RAGE), and finally got around to jumping into Counter Strike (haven't played in years, my skills were a bit rusty) for 15 hours or so.

    I've also been pushing through my gaming catalog with games I can actually finish. I've finished Bastion (one of the top 10 games I've ever played), GTA IV, Mark of the Ninja, Rayman Origins, Sonic Generations, Dragon Age, Mass Effects 1-3 (once I finished 1 I just steamrolled the other 2 (*))Tomb Raider Anniversary, and Splinter Cell Conviction. Still have the first Witcher, Sleeping Dogs, Shogun II (that's my current game), and Hotline Miami. There's a couple more games, but I've set those aside until next year, once Rome II and Watch Dogs come out I'll be booked for the rest of the year. [sick]
  • BladedRellik 1671 XP 03/08/2013
    I just trade 60 Xbox 360,still need to finish around 10 games.
  • sharpie92 6321 XP 03/08/2013 +1
    I guess I must be backwards because I wish the Xbox One was backwards compatible for this very reason.
  • ThrashLord 755 XP 03/08/2013
    I finish all my games i buy except the ps plus game.

    @ Sharpie Im glad they are not backward compatible it would hold the systems back.

    @Gryllis finish uncharted 3 its a awesome game same as the Last of us. :P
  • Skarteh 100304 XP 04/08/2013
    This is relevant to my interests :) I was just literally checking MMGN before having a look through my games to find someone to chip away at. I have so many to finish and I don't know where to start. I'm thinking I might make a "finished" and "unfinished" category in Steam.
  • chucky110 35938 XP 04/08/2013
    "Give some of your games away". Lol yeah right
  • zurczner 7613 XP 04/08/2013
    Lol. Almost all my experiences with my games are similar to that abandon JRPG thingie above. Most of my save games are half-assed done, stuck on a battle, or don't know where to go, or just plain impossible for me to finish. I do like JRPGs btw.
  • maxiboy 32699 XP 04/08/2013
    I look at the sales tables and say I already own all the ones I have an interest in playing. :P

    Skarteh said: I'm thinking I might make a "finished" and "unfinished" category in Steam.




    You can make categories? Thats brilliant!
    oh man if I do that it will just be depressing
  • Vanquish 3191 XP 05/08/2013 +1
    Whenever I play a game I finish it. I only have two unfinished games and they're the ones I recently bought.

    Also, Just because there will be new-gen gaming consoles doesn't mean I'll stop playing the old ones. A gaming console is forever.
  • stygiaN_ 18593 XP 05/08/2013

    @Gryllis said: I cannot have unfinished games!
    Well, if I'm at least halfway. If it's less than that then it's fine.
    I'm 70% through Uncharted 3 and I hate it but I still feel OCD about finishing it now that I'm so far it.


    Glad to see I'm not the only one who just couldn't commit to Uncharted 3. I absolutely LOVED 1 & 2, but for some reason... 3, I dunno....... it's good & all, but... something feels off. I'll finish it though, but not sure if I'll be happy about it lol.
  • punk 12043 XP 08/08/2013
    good advice James.

    I don't think backlogs are helped by the 'invention' of achievements and trophies :P

    But then again I never do go for these unless I happen to gain one.

    Id like to get to the games I have and I generally walk past sales and even forgo certain games I want at pretty good prices because I know Im not going to play it (yet).
  • gammaray13 7379 XP 30/08/2013

    @Skarteh said: This is relevant to my interests I was just literally checking MMGN before having a look through my games to find someone to chip away at. I have so many to finish and I don't know where to start. I'm thinking I might make a "finished" and "unfinished" category in Steam.


    lol, thats lazy man, get rid of the misses for a couple of weeks, stock up the fridge with beer and cupboard with chips and get into some serious gaming, AND FINISH THEM DAM GAMES ;)
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