PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S ushered in a new generation of console games. Since backward compatibility is such a big deal in this generation, you may no longer have much use for the old console. So what do you do with an old console you no longer need?
Consider donating your old consoles
One of the most influential things you can do with your old console is donate it to a charity. This could be a children̵
Giving the old console to a thrift store or selling it online via eBay for charity can also make a difference since raising money for a good cause.
We would recommend contacting institutions first by phone or email to learn more about their policies for accepting donated items. Don’t forget to bring old games, controllers and peripherals that you no longer need either.
You can also donate directly to friends, neighbors or others who you think can get entertainment out of the old console. Not everyone can afford a brand new system, and not everyone is invested in enough video games to spend a few hundred dollars. You can arouse a passion for video games in someone who has never touched a controller before.
If you own a PlayStation 4 and you upgrade to PS5, you are less likely to play your old games on the older system thanks to the PS5’s backward compatibility. Newer consoles run older games better, often with enhancements or optimized versions. The same can be said for the Xbox Series X and Series S, both of which are backward compatible with several generations of Xbox.
Use the old console as a media center
Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (as well as older consoles such as the Xbox 360 and Wii U) have apps for accessing most major streaming services. This includes premium streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Disney +, free streaming services like YouTube, music from Spotify and Pandora, or live streaming platforms like Twitch.
While PlayStation 4 can play DVDs and standard HD Blu-Rays, Xbox One can handle 4K discs in high dynamic range. Both consoles can play files from USB storage, and the Xbox One family even supports x265 (HEVC) files.
All you need is a TV or a monitor to connect the old console and a place to put it. You can use an external USB drive to add storage space, with both Xbox One and PS4 supporting external hard drives.
Game streaming is also a viable option
Sony has a game streaming service called PS Now. This premium service allows you to stream games from the internet directly to the console without being limited by the hardware. The service is often touted for its emphasis on older PS2 and PS3 titles, but modern PS4 titles are also included.
(Microsoft has its own Xbox Cloud Gaming streaming service, but it can only stream to Android devices. You can not stream games to an old console.)
If you have already purchased a PS5, you can use the PS4 to stream games to your console over the local network. This allows you to play PS5 games on PS4, provided your network is up to the task. This means you can stream games from the living room PS5 to a PS4 in your bedroom with brilliant 1080p resolution.
Network performance will affect the viability of game streaming, both in terms of online streaming and local remote gaming. If you go for local play, a wired Ethernet connection will give you a more consistent experience.
Better multiplayer and collaborative games
Although the next generation of game consoles are already here, your old consoles should work well for a few more years at least. If you have multiple players in your house, two consoles can help keep the peace. Playing together is often more fun than playing alone as well.
One of the most compelling reasons to stick with your old console is for multiplayer purposes. Two consoles means that two players can play together, each with its own screen. There are plenty of multiplayer experiences that can benefit you, including collaborative campaigns, competitive online games and survival sandbox games.
This includes games like Hello, where entire campaigns can be played together. Fallout 76, Sea of Thieves, and Red Dead Redemption 2 all offer immersive web worlds that are very fun to explore together. Hectic shooters like Borderlands may suffer from split screen performance, but it’s a problem you will not have if you both use separate consoles.
Cross-play is also becoming more widespread, with games like Minecraft, Rocket League, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Battlefield V so players can play together whether they use Sony, Microsoft or PC hardware.
With PS4 and Xbox One games now considered the latest generation, game prices will fall. You can find more used copies in thrift stores and online marketplaces. There are bargains to be found, but the games are still as good as they always were.
Check out the Homebrew scene
Homebrew is user-developed software designed to run on closed systems such as game consoles. It requires you to bypass the protection that is in place by the manufacturer to run custom code. Once you have access to the console’s operating system, you can install your own apps.
How far you get with home brewing ultimately depends on what console you have, how technically proficient you are, and much of the time, how lucky you feel. If you have a Wii or a Wii U, you will find a wealth of home brewers available to you, including custom channels, emulators and launchers to load games directly from your disk.
Reddit communities like r / WiiHacks and r / ps4homebrew are a great help when trying this kind of thing. There are many risks involved, and you may end up rotting the console completely. You also want to avoid using primary accounts (those you still use or have used to buy games) since companies like Nintendo and Sony often ban users they suspect of hacking.
Xbox One is still one of the only consoles that is never “hacked” for use with home brewing. Despite this, Microsoft supports a developer mode that allows you to run Universal Windows Program (UWP) apps on your Xbox, provided you install them yourself. By doing this you can use Xbox One or Xbox Series X | The S-console as an emulation box.
Whether it is ultimately worth it to you depends on the level of risk you are comfortable with and also what you want to use the console for. Emulators are a popular choice thanks to projects like RetroArch. Just make sure you understand the legal implications of emulation and ROMs.
RELATED: How to install RetroArch Emulator on Xbox Series X or S
Dead or dying console? Try to fix it yourself
You can sell the “broken” console for a small amount on eBay, or you can try to fix it yourself. This can be a rewarding experience where you learn a thing or two about hardware. If you know what’s wrong, you can still find additional consoles on eBay.
The most common problems are disk drives that no longer read discs, and dead hard drives. These are relatively easy parts to replace, and you can even upgrade components such as the hard drive while you are running to increase the overall capacity of the console.
You may have other problems, such as a dying fan, poor thermal performance (heat dissipation) due to dust formation or buttons that no longer work as expected. iFixit can help you find your way around hardware, while communities like Reddit’s r / consolerepair offer constructive feedback. Then there is YouTube, with endless video tutorials from enthusiasts that can help you along the way.
Just be careful and make sure you know what you are doing before opening the console. You can still give yourself an ugly shock, even if the console is turned off and not disconnected. You will probably want a few basic tools, such as an antistatic bracelet or mat and a screwdriver set, before you dive in.
A console you have fixed yourself can live for many more years, which is better than letting it die a premature death like a bunch of e-waste.
Do you want to upgrade to the next generation?
PS4 and Xbox One may qualify as “last genes” at this point, but they are not that old. Games are still being released for these platforms and will be for years to come. When the dust settles on the generation, used plates will continue to become cheaper. There is a lot of life in these platforms yet.
But when you finally decide it’s time for an upgrade, you can take the time to consider what’s best for your old hardware, instead of letting it collect dust under your TV.
Ready to pull the trigger on a new console? Here’s why you should avoid the completely digital versions.
RELATED: Why you should not buy a fully digital PS5 or next generation Xbox