For the past few months I’ve noticed midnight launches becoming more abundant and more populated with gamers. People would rather sit out in the cold or rain than wait till the next morning to pick up their copy of Skyrim, for instance. But at the rate that most of these games convert from a full-priced $59.99 into a discounted $19.99, is it really worth buying games on day-one, or even the first week? Maybe waiting would be more beneficial for the gamers, and not just because of reduction in price.
In the Black Friday 2011 ads you might be surprised to see games, that have been out for no more than a month, at $30 or less. Of course, you could argue that these deals are “door-buster” sales, and will probably only last a couple of hours at most. Regardless, this may still make you feel remorseful for having waited two to three hours in line; not to mention, paying almost double the money to get said game in your hands as soon as it was available. However, this is a special time of year, and deals of that extent can be expected, but even when deals like this aren’t occurring people refuse to wait for their games, even if they’re less than $20 in a few months.
Let’s take a look at the wildly popular game L.A. Noire which was published by Rockstar Games and released in May of 2011. The game has received tons of acclaim from critics and gamers alike, and has reached pretty significant sales figures. Nonetheless the game is now in the proverbial bargain bin at most retailers sitting at around $20, only months after it’s release. Maybe it’s just me, but I remember a time, not too long ago, that even if we waited a few months for a a game we may not have been sure about, or may not have received the best reviews, we would still have to fork over the full $59.99 to purchase the game brand new. Unless you’re looking at Call of Duty, which seems to be the only franchise of games that rarely has price-drops, apparently no game is exempt from price-cuts mere weeks or months after release.
Money, however is not the only reason it’s not worth your time picking up a game on the first day of its release. Developers are relying too heavily on fixing and updating games post release with patches as well as hot fixes. In fact, its almost expected that every game will have it’s issues the first week, which in my opinion is not a good thing, but that’s an entirely new story. In most cases, when it comes to games that are built around their multiplayer component, it’s basically guaranteed the servers won’t be able to handle the amount of people playing within the first few days. Which sort of leads me to my next point: What is the benefit of purchasing a game without a multiplayer component on day-one?
I can understand why some people would prefer a game like Modern Warfare 3 or Battlefield 3, in order to attempt to be on top of the leaderboards, but why should it matter for games like Skyrim or Batman Arkham City, unless you review games for a living? Even if you’ve been waiting five years for a game like Skyrim, you can’t deny that saving money might be worth the wait. I say this understanding that a lot of games come with limited editions that are only available to those who preorder the game, but that accounts for a very small percentage of people that pick these games up at midnight and settle with the regular editions.
I won’t deny that I’ve been to far too many midnight launches in my life, but with games rapidly dropping in price, being on some occasions unfinished or untested for bugs, and being possibly unplayable, I’ve become very wary of attending such events anymore.