If you were lucky enough to snag one of the next-gen consoles from either Xbox or PlayStation, you don’t have long to wait for that new, shiny hunk of plastic that’s going to provide you with hours upon hours of entertainment and memories. I mean, it’s less than a month now, and we bet you’re finding the waiting hard.
There’s some stuff that you can do in the meantime though, both to prepare your precious save files for your new console, and also get your existing Xbox One or PlayStation 4 into sell-worthy condition, if you so choose. Sure, your existing consoles aren’t going to immediately become obsolete overnight, but it never hurts to be prepared.
Here are all the things you should do before the release date of the next generation of consoles.
Back up all of your games
We know that current-gen games will largely be compatible with the new consoles. Sony has said all but a handful of games will be supported, and Xbox has said that pretty much everything you can play on Xbox will play on the next generation of consoles. The thing we don’t know yet is how easy it will be to get your games onto the new console. Every time a new console releases, the servers for that console struggle. Heck, they struggle when it’s just major game releases, like the latest in the Call of Duty franchise, for example.
That means it’s a good idea to copy any games you already have installed onto an external drive, so you’re ready to go on launch day. Xbox One games will work fine from an external drive, and Microsoft has confirmed this. Sony hasn’t said how games stored on an external drive will work yet, but they have said that you need next-gen games installed on the internal drive, which might point to PlayStation 4 games working from an external. Either way, it’s still best to prepare ahead of time, as you can easily transfer games from an external drive to the internal storage if needed.
You’ll need one thing – an external USB drive with at least 256GB of space on it. Plug it into one of the Xbox’s USB ports, head into the Settings, find the System submenu, and select Storage. You can choose individual games, or if you know your external is big enough, just select all of them to copy. You can choose to move or copy at this stage, move clears the game off your internal drive as you move it, and copy makes a copy instead.
On the PlayStation 4, you need 250GB of storage space because who needs that additional 6GB, right? Plug it into one of the PlayStation 4’s USB ports, and format it so it can work with the console if you need to. Then go to the Storage menu, then System Storage. Hit the Options button, and select “move to extended storage.” Choose the games you want, then confirm the move.
Back up your saves, too
Okay, this is the really important thing to back up. Nobody wants to see all of their hard work go up in smoke when save files disappear. Microsoft has made this so simple with Xbox Live, all you need is to make sure your console is connected to the internet. That’s it, that’s all you have to do to ensure your game saves are saved and transferable to your Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S. Even better, Smart Delivery will make sure those save files turn up on your new console, without you having to do anything other than sign into your Xbox account.
Sony makes things umm, more complicated. They’ve left it up to developers to transfer saves to the PlayStation 5, and only a few games have already confirmed that cross-gen saves will transfer. The easiest way to make sure you’re ready is by shelling out some cash for PlayStation Plus. That way, all of your saves will save to the cloud. You’ll have to set it up though, so head into the Settings, find the Power Save Settings menu, and then find the setting for “Stay Connected to the Internet”. Then go to “application saved data management” and check the top box, “Upload to Online Storage”. That’ll let you save up to 1,000 individual data files to the cloud, which should be enough for almost anyone. If you know you have more than that, use the second option to copy your save files to a USB drive.
Reset to factory settings
Think about how long you’ve owned your console. Now think about all the messages to friends you’ve sent on it, games you’ve played, times you’ve signed into your account, and how many times you’ve used the store to buy digital content like games. Yeah, you’re going to want to wipe all of that data off before you offload your gently-loved console to another owner.
That means wiping it back to factory settings, with all of your personal data cleaned off the console’s storage. Just a warning, this is irreversible so make sure you backed everything up as we showed you earlier. Here’s how to do it for the current crop of consoles.
- Make sure you’re connected to the internet so all of your saves and other information syncs to Xbox Live
- Press the Xbox button to open the guide
- Navigate to Profile & System > Settings > System > Console Info
- Select Reset console
- You’ll have three options:
- Reset and remove everything
- Reset and keep my games & apps
- You want the first option, Reset and remove everything
You can also reset your Xbox One using a USB drive if you want to. Check the Xbox Support article on how to do that, including the necessary files to download and put on the USB drive.
- Open the Settings menu
- Navigate to Initialization
- Select Restore default settings
- Follow the instructions
If you prefer, you can reboot your PlayStation 4 into Safe Mode, wipe everything, then reinstall the PlayStation firmware so you’re sure it’s completely free of any of your data. Use the PlayStation guide to walk you through it.
- Pick up your Switch and press any button three times to unlock the screen
- Play one of your installed games
- Seriously, did you think we’d tell you to sell your Nintendo Switch?
The thing here is, for one – there isn’t a replacement coming out any time soon, and two – the Nintendo Switch doesn’t always allow you to transfer game saves from one console to another, making the process one that needs to be researched a bit more to see if your game saves can even transfer over to another Switch.
Figure out where you’ll get the best sale value
Listen, we all know that GameStop heavily promotes its trade-in values, but hold up a minute before going to part with your console. Check their current resell prices before you go, it might save you a trip. For example, the Xbox One S White 1TB gives you $110 of store credit, or $88 in cash. Now if you look on eBay, the average sale price of that same console over the last few sales was $222. Even the starting bid eBay recommends is higher, at $129. GameStop does usually offer higher trade-in values every so often, so unless you just want it to be over, keep hold of that console and pay attention to the special trade-in offers.
There are also other services you could use, like Decluttr. They’ll buy your old consoles straight up, with no haggling or having to worry about chargebacks or any of the other eBay issues. Currently, you’ll get $90 for that same 1TB Xbox One S, saving you a trip to GameStop as all you have to do is mail it in.
If you don’t need the extra cash, maybe think about donating that old console to charity. You’ll put a huge grin on some other kid’s face, and you’ll get a tax-deductible donation amount to boot. Gamers Outreach in the US donates video games to hospitalized kids, Get Well Gamers does the same in Canada. Your local library might want it too if you prefer your charity to benefit your community.
Give it a clean
If you are going to pass that console onto a new home, make sure you sanitize it properly. I mean, this was just good manners before the coronavirus pandemic, but now it’s an essential part of any transfer of ownership.
Dust everything that you can dust, make sure all the moving parts still move and all the buttons and sticks are still working. Pack the cables like they were when you first got the console, don’t just throw them into the box as an afterthought. Then make sure you sanitize everything, after cleaning it properly. Kotaku has a great guide for the cleaning part, and the same sanitizing instructions you can use on your iPhone are just as good for your consoles.
So, there you have it. You are now prepared for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X when they release in November!
What do you think? Do you plan on trading in your current Xbox One or PlayStation 4 for the next-gen versions? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.
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