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Sunday Time Waster: A Little Patience

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Contest Time!

And finally the winner of the Clash of Heroes XBLA Code is:

inthenet

I’ll be contacting inthenet shortly with a shiny new game code.

Thanks for entering and there will be another giveaway soon.

Bill Abner

Bill has been writing about games for the past 16 years for such outlets as Computer Games Magazine, GameSpy, The Escapist, GameShark, and Crispy Gamer. He will continue to do so until his wife tells him to get a real job.

12 thoughts to “Sunday Time Waster: A Little Patience”

  1. It’s taken me a long time but I’ve finally broken free of that first day purchase, except in regards to Bethesda and AAA turn-based strategy games. Skyrim and Heroes VI will be day one even if betas and/or demos for them are terrible. Also, I instituted a Tom Chick rule where if I know he’s going to speak up on a game I’ll wait until I hear it. It could also be called the Civ 5 rule.

    Other than those rare exceptions though, I’ve finally reached the point where if it’s not on sale or it costs more than $20 I can wait. And speaking of $20, your latest tweet lamenting the loss of 18000 souls finally got me to spring for Demon’s Souls which I’ve been considering for awhile. No idea why that particular comment did it as for all I know 18000 souls is enough to buy the Demon’s Souls equivalent of a McChicken sandwich.

    And while I do run an ad blocker, I also click on donate buttons. NHS has become a daily read and deserves my support.

  2. Wait…so me losing 18,000 souls made you WANT to play Demon’s Souls? That’s definitely the attitude to have!

    For clarification, 18,000 souls is enough to raise several stats. Or buy 3 new advanced spells. The system works like this: each time you put a point into Str, Magic, Luck, Dex, Vitality, etc. it costs more souls to put another point into ANY category. The cost goes up across the board each time to raise something.

    So if you ignore STR (which I am doing right now as I’m playing basically a mage) it’s going to cost a lot of souls to go from 9 to 10 which is like going from puny to slightly less puny.

    What made this case worse was that I died by falling off a ******* cliff. There’s no “invisible boundary” that will save you from a misstep. So I went back to retrieve my 18,000 souls and died along the way to a undead skeleton ninja thing. And they were lost forever.

  3. I’ve been longing for something with a bit more challenge. When I was younger I really enjoyed difficulty; nowadays, not so much. But I’ve been hearing about this game off and on on a variety of podcasts and nothing I have right now is providing any challenge at all, and the only thing coming soon is Heroes VI which almost certainly will not either.

    I decided I wanted a game that heavily penalizes my incompetence and I’ve heard enough people now that say this really isn’t their kind of game but they are still enjoying it and persevering that I felt it was worth the chance. It’ll almost certainly never be finished, so few of my games are, but I think it’ll scratch that itch I have at the moment.

    I just hope there’s no jumping; I didn’t do much research here. I hate jumping puzzles so much that I no longer play platformers. If 95% of the screen is safe to jump to I’ll hit that other 5% a remarkable number of times before making my way past it. I think it’s like that tiny water hazard 75 yards ahead on a golf course that emits an irresistible magnetic attraction for my golf ball.

  4. For most games, I just wait until they get cheap. However, I do prefer to wait until some get cheap, especially FPS titles. There hasn’t been any draw for me towards an FPS in ages.

    I do often wait if I want a collectors edition. My local GAME has several copies of GT5:Signature Edition and Killzone 3: Helgan edition. I’ll wait until they stop being triple digit price tags before I buy them, and they aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

    As for keeping my games, I just hate trading them in, and some are just crappy so I don’t finish them. However, the majority I complete to the best of my abilities, so I don’t feel like I have more than I need.

    On the topic of adverts, I turned my adblocker off on here months ago. I’ll donate aswell when I can once the button goes up. I like it here.

  5. Do those work for non .COM sites? I buy stuff off .CA, but it doesn’t matter to me how I get there, so these referral links are just as good as any others…

  6. I just had to think of a conversation I had with a friend a short while ago. To clarify, this person plays everything they can get their hands on, and mostly at release. When I asked him how he was doing with Dragon Age 2 (about 5 weeks after release) he said he’d finished it ages ago…

    After I ended up buying way too many games last year that I never even played properly, I made a promise to myself: only buy games that I will finish or at least get a substantial amount of playtime out of. So far it’s working, I’ve only bought 3 titles this year…

  7. ‘I decided I wanted a game that heavily penalizes my incompetence’

    Done. Oh my goodness…done.

    ‘I just hope there’s no jumping’

    Nope. This is not puzzly in the least. In fact, there isn’t a jump button at all.

    You can sprint, block, back step, roll, climb ladders and certain wall locations and parry/riposte. But no jumping.

    It promotes death (and learning from it) as well as exploration as each area is larger than it appears.

  8. I’m a terrible neophile and not likely to break the first day habit any time soon. I feel like I get pretty decent value for my money though, and it’s certainly worth the extra $40 to me to be able to rant on the internet about a new release with a tiny smidgen of credibility

    The nice thing is that prices at my FLGS vaguely match up with the exchange rate, so it feels like we’ve been treated to a 40% off everything sale for months.

  9. It seems that once you get into Amazon via us, whatever you do then counts towards us, which is why along with the Staff Picks link, we also have a search window in the right column. I would imagine this extends to Canadian purchases, but who knows.

  10. You see what I did there?

    The Call of Duty game practically never go down in price. Activision keeps those prices way up. Hell, they don’t usually go on sale during Steam’s huge sales either.

    Ironically, GT5 was cheaper a month after it was released. I think they weren’t seeing the sales they wanted so they had discounted it to $40, then they jumped it back up. And I’m not talking a week or two, it was $40 for about two months. I sure wish it would drop back down not that I have my wheel …

  11. Well, I guess Gamestop began their PS5 preorders. They sold out so fast. Oh well, PS4 it is for a while longer. Did you get your preorder in?

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