By Andrew Wang
We are currently living in the age of pre-orders and day one purchases, both of which I find despicable. If you buy games early, you know what you are? A sucker. You’re the reason game companies are putting out unfinished products and selling them to us, because they know people like you will buy them anyways. Here is why you must stop this embarrassing behavior immediately.
For starters, the price of every game drops over time. The rate and speed at which it drops varies based on sales, critical reviews and so forth, but they all drop nonetheless. Even a masterpiece such as The Last Of Us Remastered has been listed at $10 in the Playstation Store. You will eventually be able to buy any game you really want for $20 or less. That is pretty much a guarantee, and I have yet to see any exceptions.
But there’s a much more important aspect to waiting: the quality of a game increases as time goes on. Nowadays, most titles are supported with patches, updates, and bug fixes after their release. Take Assassin’s Creed Unity for example, a game that I’m currently playing (Yes I practice what I preach). I think it’s a solid entry so far, but my opinion of it would be very different if I were playing the launch version of the game. That was a complete mess riddled with bugs, glitches, framerate issues, and other problems that made it practically unplayable. Unity launched back in 2014, but more recently Mass Effect: Andromeda has been playing out in a very similar way. Almost three years have passed, but it’s the same old story.
Do you want to be the sucker who pays $60 for a broken game, or do you want to be the winner who pays 1/6 as much for the best possible version of that experience?
If your answer is the former then you are one of the following:
- A kid
- Clueless parent
- Rich and stupid
- Poor and really stupid
No reasonable, self-respecting adult gamers who have any attachment to money should be willing to subject themselves to such an obvious pitfall.
Now I will admit there are a few drawbacks to this game-buying strategy. You can’t join in on discussions, you have to avoid spoilers, and you aren’t playing titles with the most cutting-edge graphics. But these things are a small price to pay when you are playing these games in their optimal form every single time.
I also want to point out that multiplayer games are slightly different. With these you’re reliant on other players to have a complete experience. So the best time to play a PvP game (in theory) is at launch, when the playerbase will be at its peak. If you wait 12 or 15 months to buy these games, the issues will be fixed but there will also be fewer players to match with. However, you must still be cautious because technical and server issues can certainly cripple these games as well. Battlefield 4 was awful at launch, but eventually became very respectable after numerous patches and updates.
So my suggestion for buying single player games is to wait at least several months, no matter what. As for multiplayer games, read the reviews from both critics and fans. If everyone says the game is stable and functioning smoothly then go for it. Otherwise keep waiting until significant improvements have been made. Also, be sure to participate in an open beta if the game provides one. That should give you a good idea of how reliable the servers are and whether or not your connection will be solid once the game releases.
The power to change the behavior of developers and publishers lies with us, the consumers. If we continue to buy unfinished games, then we will continue to receive them indefinitely. I have a dream, that one day pre-orders will be completely eradicated simply because there is no demand for them anymore. But until my dream becomes a reality, the next time you get that stupid urge to buy the hottest new game, remember my infinite wisdom and go play something that’s already been patched 20 times. That’s called winning.