“All good things comes to those who wait” is slowly becoming an axiom that most gamers need to follow instead of dropping the cash on Day 1.
There is an inherit need for every person to try to outdo each other. Or, at the very least, try to keep up with the trends so that they can belong with the “in” crowd. This goes from everything, including the world of video games. When a highly anticipated game comes out on Day 1, you can bet that there are going to be hundreds of people getting it on that very same day. Whether they preordered it, downloading it digitally or even going to the story to get a physical copy, you can bet there are going to be gamers who will proudly proclaim that they’re already playing it right as the game was launched. Like I said, it’s human nature.
However, there comes a point wherein you have to question if it’s actually all worth it. Is it really worth spending the Day 1 price to just be able to play the game as early as possible? Because it seems like, the way the Triple-A gaming market currently works, it seems like it might be better to wait a few month or even an entire year to get a little more bang for your buck.
Triple-A games have definitely become bigger these days. Graphics are becoming more detailed. There’s voice acting and digitized sounds galore. But these are just the more superficial things we’ve gotten used to. Developers try to cram a whole lot more into Triple-A games than just better graphics and sounds. They try to give us a whole lot of other things to do in them as well. There are side missions, cut scenes, online gameplay and even hidden Easter Eggs that are crammed in practically every big budget game. And we tend to expect to see them now. So, to their credit, they are giving us what we expect but it does come at a cost sometimes.
With all of these proverbial moving parts, bugs and gameplay problems are going to pop up. However, as they have to meet deadlines and actually release the day on launch day, they may not be able to catch all the bugs and fix them. This is why we’ve gotten so many seemingly bug-riddled games in recent years. Some of them can be minor and pretty hilarious like with Assassin’s Creed Unity‘s “skinless face” glitch. But some of them can be game breaking problems which render the game unplayable, like Arkham Knight‘s legendary port on the PC.
To be fair, developers do try to patch the problems later. But this has become the norm rather than the exception. Gamers nowadays think that this is the way we get games. We don’t expect flawless experiences; we expect to get a new game with issues that’ll be patched up in the future. But that’s the thing: if it’ll take some time for developers to actually go ahead and fix all the issues that were supposed to be fixed when it was released, wouldn’t it be better to just wait for them to patch them all up?
Of course, we all know that games are usually shipped in a bug-riddled state not because developers and publishers hope we don’t see them. They do this because of financial reasons. They need a game to be released at a specific date because they want to meet their financial quarters. But their pursuit for money over quality also leads to another reason why buying or pre-ordering games these days isn’t a sound idea for a gamer’s wallet. Developers and publishers want to sell you additional content. This is where the concept of DLC comes in.
So, it looks like game makers have figured out that, when they publish a game, it doesn’t have to be the end of making money from us once we buy the game. They figured out that we’ll buy pretty much anything as long as it’s something for a game that we really like. They even know that we’ll buy additional stuff even if we just got the game. Sometimes, they’ll even sell us stuff way before the game is released, which is why you’ll see NetherRealm Studios proudly saying that you’ll get Darkseid if you preorder Injustice 2 right now.
You’ll see companies just releasing additional DLC on a regular basis for their most popular games and gamers will just eat them up. We just need to roam around the land of Far Harbor in Fallout 4, make Laura wear that skimpy Holiday outfit in Street Fighter V and just see the entire Normandy crew party in Shepard’s swanky new apartment in Mass Effect 3. You’ll have to pay to get each and every one individually if you got those games on Day 1 and people are willing to fork over the dough to do just that.
DLC content won’t last forever, however. Soon, companies will send their people to work on newer projects and newer games because that’s where the big bucks are, not in the DLC. But they’d still want to sell whatever games they have. So, in order to entice the ones that hadn’t bought the game yet, you’ll see they companies repackage them at, not only a discounted price, but with all the available DLC as well. Usually, they’ll even call it something special like “Game of The Year Edition”, “The Definitive Version” and, more recently “Remastered.”
This is good for the publishers as they can add these new sales to their spreadsheets. But it doesn’t feel right for the loyal customers who bought the game early on and had to buy all of the individual DLC items. They aren’t rewarded for getting the game early and actually buying enough DLC to buy a totally new game. Instead, the people that are rewarded are, you guessed it, the guys and gals who were patient enough to wait for those “Game of The Year Edition”, “The Definitive Version” and “Remastered” bundled.
And even if the game doesn’t become a huge success, they will eventually be put up on many of the various sales that will pop up. For these games, you don’t even have to wait for a year for stores to slash the price. They’ll put them in the bargain bin sooner than later. Heck, even the more popular games eventually get a price drop. I got my Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Collector’s Edition, the one that comes with a steel case and artbook at 50% off its original price last November. And all I had to do was wait for 8 months after the game was released.
There are still going to be some games that I will be buying the instant it comes out. I got Street Fighter V on Day 1 and I’m planning to get Mass Effect: Andromeda as well when it drops. But for most games, I am contented to wait it out. Patience is a virtue, after all.