Why I’m reluctant to buy at launch
With the recent release of the Nintendo Switch and the buzz surrounding it, I sit here Nintendo-less and happy. As the footage and reviews from the long awaited Nintendo console revival and the highly anticipated games released with it emerge, I feel no rush to buy the Nintendo Switch. No urge to wait in line during for the game launch. This article is not just about the Switch, but also about every new release and the same urge not to buy that rises within me.
Now I’m not one of those strict spenders who can easily control their wallet, just ask my bank account during a Steam sale. So what is the difference between a new mini-whiteboard, 6 Indie games of Steam and a newly released game or console?
With a new game it is easy to get swept away with the trailers and the hype surrounding it. A new game brings; a new environment to explore, a new mechanic that you can’t wait to test, and an exciting new challenge, an enthralling story to sweep us out of reality. All these draw us in and create this excitement and desire to pre-order and wait in line at midnight for the release. We feel we need to be the first to start playing so the world is entirely new and unexplored, we encounter everything for the first time, instead of seeing these moments on Twitter or YouTube and simply reliving them in our own game. There is a feeling of inclusion, that we can discuss the new game with our friends, debate the easiest way to solve a problem, race each other to complete the game, discuss and review how the game lived up to our expectations. In online multiplayer games there is a need to keep up with the crowd, trust me you don’t want to get into playing online years after the release, those high levels taking you down with weapons and perks you could only dream of.
A new console brings similar excitement and of course brings the games with it. Often the new titles will be held for the release of a new generation of consoles. The improvements in graphics, feel, frame-rate and more creates a new experience for players who can’t wait to play alongside thousands of new players across the world.
So why do I feel it can wait a few months?
The price – A new AAA title is normally sold for around £40-70 ($50-90 and even more for our Aussie friends) depending on whether it is a physical or online copy, added season passes, and other factors. A new console can reach almost £500 ($615) upon release; the Xbox One was £429.99 ($499.99) on its initial release. So waiting a while for that initial buzz to settle can lower the cost, not by masses but by enough that you would be able to afford that extra controller or second game.
Patches– Now this isn’t an overly common problem but does occur. A game can only be tested so much and within certain parameters. The Developers would be hard pressed to recreate the situations of when a game goes live. This has lead to servers crashing due to the overload of players making the game borderline unplayable at times. Just cast your mind back to release of Halo: Master Chief Collection in late 2014 and the multitude of issues on the Multiplayer servers, Some of you won’t have to imagine the feeling of downloading your brand new game only to have an update already needed for the game to work, or even worse having to wait days or weeks for an update to fix the game. Assassins Creed fans who had pre-ordered or instantly bought Unity were less than thrilled when they were faced with terrifying NPC faces, buggy gameplay, glitched objectives and crashes. Even with a ‘day one patch’ players were unable to enjoy a full experience and some weren’t even able to manage an experience at all. The issues got so bad the Developers released a website with live updates on patches and bugs so that players knew when they could start enjoying the game again. Even waiting a week or so after launch could avoid these problems, as you would be able to keep updated on any problems and wait for the patch to be released so you won’t suffer through a broken game on the release date.
A console doesn’t suffer the same widespread catastrophic effects; there are always Day One purchase issues for a small percentage of unlucky gamers. However these issues are usually down to a faulty batch of the consoles being distributed or the console being mishandled by suppliers or the buyer. On the PS4 release there were several problems with the HDMI inputs, unfortunately the small number of consoles with the issue (Sony quoted just under 1% of consoles had this issue) were shipped to several major gaming news sites therefore the problem was deemed widespread. Although non were as bad and permanent as the Xbox 360’s infamous ‘Red Ring of Death’, most consoles have been launched with only minor hitches. The recent Nintendo Switch release also had its fair share of user complaints and issues. A few excited gamers were faced with blue screens and an unresponsive games, whilst others faced a connectivity issue with the left Joy-Con controller. These ‘Day One issues’ are inevitable due to the sheer number of consoles being produced and sold, therefore it is expected that some people will be unfortunate enough to end up with a broken console. However by waiting a month or so after the release, any problems or faulty batches would have been fixed or removed from the shelves, meaning there is a lower chance of the console you picked up to be buggy.
[Optional] Laziness- Some gamers love a challenge, the thrill of spending hours scouring a map for secrets, collectables and solving puzzles. Some of us on the other hand get frustrated after an hour of fruitless trying and turn to the wisdom of the Internet to solve our problems for us. By buying a game after the release date I am simply giving better players a head start in solving all the problems I will inevitably get too frustrated at to solve myself.
Alastair Roberts29 Posts
Xbox/PC gamer, connoisseur of the pun. I'm easily entertained by games so don't judge when I say I enjoy Call of Duty. Achievement attempter and mostly failure. My moments of skill are quickly buried by moments of stupidity Reach me on Twitter @aj_roberts1993