Gamers are, by and large, an impatient people.
When you think about it you really can’t blame publishers for trying to take advantage of that fact by offering more and more outlandish pre-order bonuses. They are simply doing what companies do — attempting to make as much money as they can. Rockstar’s L.A. Noire pre-order stuff drives me crazy, but Rockstar wants to make money by ensuring you will buy it at full price.
Why else do you think Valve offered that ridiculous “Play Portal 2 Early!” potato famine thingy? All to play Portal 2 just a little bit early…
Truth is, they know you. They hire people who study you. They know what you like, dislike, how often you buy games, and on what systems. They hate it when you buy games on eBay, trade games into GameStop or God forbid borrow a copy of your cousin’s game to play over a weekend. What do you think that game is? Yours to do with as you please? If your cousin was smart he or she would charge you $5 for the pleasure (and then send half to the publisher).
They know you are going to go to the store or wait for a game to unlock online the day it’s available. You just can’t help it, can you? You’ve read previews, interviews, have been told by the media just how unrelentlessly awesome the game is going to be and if you don’t play it on day one you simply don’t know what you are going to do with yourself. Your friends will have it. They’ll be online telling you, “Dude!!”
Granted, there’s a good chance you have more games in your library than you can play already. How often do you actually ‘finish’ the games you buy? (They know that too, by the way.)
The boardgame community has a name for people like that: they’re called Whales. They buy more games than they need, buy them as soon as they’re available, and publishers know which buttons to push to get them to buy games and those who still run game stores cater to them like they’re part of the business. Truth is – they are.
Why are we like this?
Videogames depreciate like cars. If you buy a car new for $20,000 and drive it off the lot it’s no longer worth $20,000. Buy a game at GameStop and trade it in the next day, hell a few hours after purchase, and you aren’t getting $60 for it. Not only that but game prices tend to fall like boulders in a lake if you show a little patience and fight the urge to play the newest and the shiniest on day one.
A few examples:
Six months after release Bayonetta was $20 new at GameStop. As many of you know I’m knee deep into Demon’s Souls, which I grabbed at Amazon for $20 (and it’s been $20 for a while now). GameShark’s 2010 Game of the Year, BioShock 2, can be bought, right now, on Amazon NEW — for $12.72. Mass Effect 2? $20. God of War 3? $20. Fallout New Vegas has dropped to $40. Metro 2033 on the PC is now under $20. House of the Dead: Overkill is $18 for what is maybe the best Wii game ever made. I played the original Mass Effect about six months after it was released. I just couldn’t find time to play it and when I did I think I paid $14 for it new.
The fact that you can buy BioShock 2, Mass Effect 2 and Demon’s Souls for less than it costs to buy Bulletstorm or Homefront I think says it all.
Not every game drops like this (Gran Turismo is still $50, AC: Brotherhood is $40, and Black Ops is still over $40 despite ridiculous market saturation) but showing a little restraint can save you a lot of money on top shelf games. These are all Amazon prices, which doesn’t even include the crazy deals you can get by going the eBay route. You may have to forfeit any online code access stuff but you can always buy the code and still make out in the end.
But this is a Culture of The Now. It’s why review sites do what they can to get reviews posted as fast possible. It’s why companies offer pre-order deals and why stores hold midnight releases.
The Whales need feeding.
A few site notes before we get to the contest winner.
I’m still working on the Spam filter as I mentioned a few days ago. We’re getting better at not flagging legit posts as we had none flagged Friday which is rare. (and good!)
We’re in the process of discussing and hashing our some redesign ideas. I want to do what I can do have the site at least pay for itself so that means doing a few things to the site design to make it a bit more ad friendly. I know a lot of you use ad blockers, which is obviously totally cool with me, but we need to start placing ads at the very least across the top of the site. Running a site like this isn’t free and I’d like to keep us in the black if I can. We will likely stick to Google Ads for the time being. I’d LIKE to get to a point where we can run our own ads, promoting only stuff we personally recommend, but at that point we’re starting to veer into a side of the business to which I am unfamiliar. Right now Google is simply easier.
We’re also going to add a PayPal donate button which you are free to use or ignore at your own discretion. Just know that failing to donate means Brandon doesn’t get Christmas this year.
Finally, we added a link, which is brilliantly hidden at the moment, across the top bar called Staff Picks. We will be updating these on a semi regular basis as new games are released and announced (Whales!!) and it also has links for non game items hand picked by the staff. All of these items are picked personally by us so if you’re after something to play, read, or watch there are a few options there for you; we’re using the Amazon referral program so by buying through those links you get good stuff and also help support No High Scores which is simply a brilliant idea in its own right.
And finally the winner of the Clash of Heroes XBLA Code is:
I’ll be contacting inthenet shortly with a shiny new game code.
Thanks for entering and there will be another giveaway soon.