I don’t usually get games on their release date, or pre-order them. This means I’m always behind the times when it comes to actually making a comment on them (to friends or here). I do play some demo’s, and sometimes get to play games at other times, but all in all I keep away from release date things. The last major one I did get was the Orange Box on Steam, because that came with the Team Fortress 2 beta, and I wanted the game anyway! (I still have Half Life 2 and Episode 1 to “give away” too, heh).
Is this really a problem though? For me, not really. I get to delay a purchase (while I still replay older games if I haven’t got anything new to play), and more importantly get to see the release fiascos. Yes, I’m talking about unworkable DRM in Spore and Mass Effect (both still not purchased), the unpatched and dodgy issues of Grand Theft Auto 4, and whether games are even worth getting – Left 4 Dead did appear too short in the demo, and I’ve still not got it yet – it still seems “not enough” for the (still full price) cost. I can wait for patches to come out (DRM and other issues) player made workarounds to appear (for unpatched things, and possibly even replacement EXE files if necessary), and communities to come up with walkthroughs (which will be good for Fallout 3 once I get it), forums and Q&A’s for the game I want to play. There is also a small chance the game will get cheaper on Play.com or Amazon, although this would only ever be a few quid at most.
So, staying behind the times, since I currently lack the money to go out and pre-order everything, means I get to enjoy the things I get much more. I know not everyone pre-orders, but there seems to be a lot more hype and promises then actual delivery from videogames, and many fall below expectations once they’re actually played. I much prefer reading about this before I get the games 🙂
Hopefully, my small amount of late purchases will also mean these games might be available further in the future. Trying to find some games a year or more after release is pretty hard, it’s lucky I don’t have the money to be a PC game collector since I’d be hard pressed finding many of the games I’d want to get. Back catalogues available from anywhere (publisher, developer, distributor) are non existent, which is a real shame.
Then again, my purchase might just make publishers think the game isn’t selling well. So much pressure from all angles is put on good first week sales, it’s bizarre. Nevermind it when a games success sometimes rides on the amount of pre-orders, which translates to how many are printed and thus ultimately available to sell.
I’m sure I’m not alone purchasing many games late, I think it’s worth trying for a while though for all your games, to see how it feels after being able to read the critical acclaim or lambasting of a title before you buy 🙂