Since I can remember, one question has plagued gamers. One question has been discussed many times over. That question is whether gamers should pre-order games, buy them on day one, wait until the game becomes cheaper or buy them second-hand. As of yet, no one has been able to give an adequate and definitive answer, although many have tried. While I personally believe that there isn’t really a right or wrong answer, there are a few benefits to each of these options. Over the years, I’ve gone from a “serial pre-order fanatic” to a “buy on day one covert” and have finally started to embrace the “wait, I don’t have to own every game on day one” principle. Keeping this in mind, I’ve put together a few things to keep in mind when making the decision to go in head over heels or play the waiting game for pre-owned games.
The game could actually suck
Granted, I feel that this doesn’t happen nearly as much as it did in the past but there are times when massively over-hyped games tend to be less “oh my word, this is amazing!” and more “oh my word, why did I buy this?” I’ve personally fallen victim to the marketing hype machine pre-ordering a game or even buying it day one only to discover that it’s nothing like what I imagined.
But what about reviews? You might ask. Well, there are times when embargoes only lift on the day of release, which means that you would probably not know a game is bad if you buy it day one (especially, if you got up all bright and early). Again, this happens very seldom but it is something to keep in mind.
My advice? Do your homework. If you want to pre-order or buy day one, look up some gameplay or hands-on articles or videos. Sure, you could still step in a steaming pile of “this is a bad game” but at least the chances of that happening will be drastically less. Heck, you could even wait a day or two after release and then get the game. As they say, patience is a virtue.
A buggy mess
You’ve finally got your hands on the game you’ve been waiting for ages for, you’ve seen some gameplay and it looks great. You pop that baby into your console and start playing. As time passes, you discover (dum dum duuuum) that the game, while being good in principle, is filled with loads of bugs.
Nowadays, it’s not a strange phenomenon for a game to have a substantially large day one patch and, even after downloading the patch, the game could still have a few bugs. In recent years, many triple-A titles have released filled with bugs and, even worse, game breaking bugs. In these cases, many have realised that waiting for the developer to sort out any lingering issues might be a better option than playing a buggy game which could ruin the whole experience for you.
That sweet, sweet feeling
So, while it might be better to wait for a day or two after a game’s release, there is no denying how amazing it feels getting a game on day one and playing until the wee hours. There is just something magical about experiencing a game along with your fellow gamers for the first time. Getting to be part of the conversation, not having to worry too much about spoilers and finally getting your hands on something you’ve waited patiently for is a great feeling and gets those old endorphins going.
Also, while I did mention that buying day one or pre-ordering could see you running the risk of having to pay for a bad game, there are exceptions where a studio might have an amazing track record and buying day one is sort of a given (I’m looking at you The Last of Us Part 2). Like I’ve said, buying day one or pre-ordering isn’t a bad thing, it’s just important to know what you are getting yourself into.
You can’t play everything at once
I’ve come to realise that buying more than a game or two a month, no matter how awesome they are, just doesn’t always make sense. Why? Well, that’s easy, it takes time to complete a game and life tends to get in the way sometimes.
Granted not everyone plays a game until completion, but most gamers will at least spend a good amount of time with a game before moving on. So, if you buy a couple of games in one month on day one there are a few things to consider. Firstly, where do you get all the money to do that? And, secondly, chances are that at least one game will remain sealed on your shelf for a while. Should this be the case (and let’s be honest most gamers have at least one sealed game somewhere they have yet to play), why not wait a week or two? Hey, you might even get it for a better price or, better yet, find it pre-owned on Gumtree.
Looking for a discount?
After I started to buy fewer games on day one and tried to complete more of the games I already own or at least completing the ones I buy before venturing out to buy more games, I discovered that I actually started to save a bit of cash. Not only could I take advantage of the specials on the various online console markets such as the PlayStation and Xbox store for the first time, seeing as I didn’t buy all the games I wanted immediately and all at once, but I also realised that there was a huge second-hand market out there, you just need to know where to look.
I started to pick up games I wanted to buy at second-hand sections of gaming stores and even on websites such as Gumtree. So, if your money is limited, like mine, then waiting a bit could see you picking up a game for a huge discount. Also, you could even get the game free as part of the Xbox Games for Gold and PlayStation Plus programs if you are signed up and are willing to wait a long time.
Look at that loot
Although I’ve learned to curb my day one and pre-order cravings, there are times when pre-ordering does makes a load of sense. With every new game releasing various collector’s, special, and “look at that awesome loot” editions, there are times when one of those shiny beautifully detailed editions might catch your fancy. It’s at moments like these when I do pre-order games.
Pre-ordering, in this case, doesn’t have to be the end all and be all as there are numerous times when I’ve seen special editions being sold at discounted prices or being sold second hand on sites such as Gumtree. It all depends on whether you are willing to take the risk of there not being enough of the edition you want and if you don’t mind waiting.
Personally, these have been the only times I’ve found myself pre-ordering. I also know that some gamers pre-order games for the pre-order bonuses, which could include various digital items or new missions. But, honestly, I’ve never found this to affect my choice when it comes to pre-ordering.