You Guys Go On Ahead; I Will NOT Catch Up (The value of delayed gratification in gaming)

This past year, I learned the value of delayed gratification in gaming. A chaotic work schedule made me rethink buying new games. I thought, why should I pay full price for God of War, Spider-Man and Red Dead Redemption 2 if I may not have time to play?

Instead, I turned to my backlog (and yes, I purchased some older games on deep discount). That meant I played a number of highly regarded older games — and some that weren’t so regarded initially — for the first time in 2018. And as I played:

a completely stable Fallout 4...
Witcher 3 with all the extra content and none of the bugs...
Destiny with better voice acting...
Shadow of War without any microtransactions in sight...
Re-Core with the actual ending and fast load times...
and a very fun and more robust version of No Man’s Sky...

The epiphany came: this is a better way to game. I literally pay less and get more. Yes, this applies exclusively to single player gaming but in general that’s my jam. And while I miss the zeitgeist, it’s easy to get into that flow by pulling up past podcasts and YouTube videos.

So my question for the community (and not for the GWJ podcast crew since they have to play the latest): do YOU delay gaming? Why or why not?

Almost entirely.

I buy games day one maybe a handful of times a year, and only for games I'm super pumped for. Many of those are Nintendo 1st party titles because they never go on deep discount.

Between Steam Sales, Humble Bundles, the GWJ key giveaway thread, and promotional freebies, I'm good.

I mean, one of my favourite games of the last year (The Red Strings Club) came to me entirely free courtesy of Twitch Prime.

Ah. Good point. I also see this as a general rule for me moving forward with exceptions. I did buy at least two games that fall into jonman’s category of I’m-super-pumped-for this: Obra Dinn and Battletech.

Jonman wrote:

Almost entirely.

I buy games day one maybe a handful of times a year, and only for games I'm super pumped for. Many of those are Nintendo 1st party titles because they never go on deep discount.

Between Steam Sales, Humble Bundles, the GWJ key giveaway thread, and promotional freebies, I'm good.

I mean, one of my favourite games of the last year (The Red Strings Club) came to me entirely free courtesy of Twitch Prime.

This is pretty much me. I don't have the time to play all the new releases as they come out, or least wouldn't have the time to play them AND finish before the next shiny comes out. Not to mention the financial burden associated with keeping up on the latest thing. A couple games a year are day one purchases, that I'll play immediately. The rest are bought on sale or received as gifts. Like you say, playing the most "complete" version of the game helps make up for the delay getting around to it.

It works the other way too.
Many times you can get $15-20 off of pre-orders on sites like Greenman Gaming
or through Kickstarters/crowd-funding

My patience for sales is near infinite!
... except for RPGs, which is the mountaintop of wait-to-bake examples

Obsidian* releases. I buys. Is what it is.

*My go-to poster child but the idea extends to other, select, devs (though not so casually).

fangblackbone wrote:

It works the other way too.
Many times you can get $15-20 off of pre-orders on sites like Greenman Gaming
or through Kickstarters/crowd-funding

That is totally true but I do think there's a quantitative and qualitative difference. The discounts are far bigger on older games and in addition to being complete (fully patched and sometimes with extra dlc) there's no guessing. You know, based on reviews, that the game is already solid or has gotten better

I almost always delay single player games, but will usually jump in right away if there’s a heavy multiplayer element. But then I often find myself falling behind nonetheless.

I tend to buy strategy games I am interested in without waiting because the outlets for information are a lot less prevalent than for other games. For those other games, I almost always wait and then seldom end up buying the game because I forget about it or the buzz is negative or some other reason.

For MP games, it depends. Sometimes, if people I know are playing a game a lot, I will tend to jump in if I am interested in the game. Other times I will wait to see how robust the MP community is. And sometimes I will be bullied into playing an MP game I have little interested in. But only certain people can do that

To the question punctuating the end of the OP: for me it's less about savings and more about the pile. My Steam library is just Too Damn High. Well, y'know, if they were physical DVD cases still and I could stack them.

It's getting harder to start a new game or commit to a current game -- and should I set something down for too long I inevitably have to start from the beginning ; that gets tedious. Part of the double edged sword of digital distribution I guess.

Agreed, my free time is pretty limited, and I don't have much time to waste on a buggy game at launch, or just a game that isn't very good. So I read all the "Best games of the year" lists that were published lately, basically to just familiarize myself with the games that are on it, so that I know which ones to pick up when they go on deep discount.

Also if I know ahead of time that a game will have DLC, I just immediately put it on the "Grab the GOTY version in a few years with all the DLC" list. If I play a story based game and finish it. I'll almost never go back and play it again to play it with the DLC. So I want to play the whole thing, or nothing at all

I’m always amazed listening to the CC how they often drop new games they’ve played every week, and on top of that say they’ve put in “about ten hours or so” (for example.) I just can’t imagine having that much time. Although maybe part of it is playing things like Rocket League, which takes up a few hours every week for me.

I’ve gotten good at resisting day one buys, I’d probably say in the past 2-3 years I’ve only paid full price for about 3 or 4 games since every year. I’ve got a big enough pile and I’ve gotten better at just planning out the games I want to finish.

I've only bought two games on release day in the past fifteen years, which shows you I almost always wait for sales and for complete editions (when those complete editions go on sale, unless I get them as gifts). I don't do multiplayer, so I have the flexibility to play whatever game I want to play whenever I get to it, without having to wonder if the online community will be there or not. I do this because it's cheaper, because, like you said, you get more bang for your buck, an because bugs and issues have been fixed by then. Besides, I don't have enough time to play the latest game as soon as it comes out, so why buy it at full price if it's going to take me several months to get to it? By the time I'm ready to play it, I can get it for less than half its original price!

Another advantage of waiting is not relying on day 1 reviews and marketing. I've lost count of the number of games that went on my wish list at release only to come off again once the hype has died down. If a game still has good word of mouth a couple of months after release, it's probably the real deal.

Totally agree. Witcher 3 is a great example of a game where the reviews AND word of mouth proved that the game would stand the test of time.

But man... LA Noire is the inverse of that. Maybe it’s because it was Rock Star... but the reviews for that game were solid. But I would not say the word of mouth after the initial launch maintained.

Even for Red Dead Redemption 2 (which I haven't bought yet) - after the initial ecstatic reviews, word of mouth has still been mostly positive, but a lot more nuanced. I have a much better idea now of what the game is like and suspect I won't get on with it.

Ironically I loved LA Noire though

I think the last games I bought full price and/or on release day were Diablo 3 (for Xbox) and Fallout 4 (Pip boy pre-order right after E3 presentation). I'm always behind, so unless I plan to play the heck out of a new release right away, I don't even consider it. I probably will buy Animal Crossing for Switch as soon as it's released though, and then probably nothing else until the next Elder Scrolls/Fallout.

I want to subscribe to this for validation, since I've been doing this for a couple years now. Not out of virtue or making good choices but a combination of 1) so little free time, and 2) such an intimidating Pile of Shame. And I'm not entirely free of it.

I'm curious how you all feel about whether video game podcasts (Iike the CC, to be honest) stoke your need for the new and shiny. I'm not trying to be critical, as I love the crew, and I'd listen to them talking about baking tips, if they brought their usual charm and humor to it. But I feel like hearing about all these great titles that all these cool people are playing makes it harder to resist the call of accumulating more and more awesome games I don't actually have nearly enough time to play.

Hangdog wrote:

I'm curious how you all feel about whether video game podcasts (Iike the CC, to be honest) stoke your need for the new and shiny. I'm not trying to be critical, as I love the crew, and I'd listen to them talking about baking tips, if they brought their usual charm and humor to it. But I feel like hearing about all these great titles that all these cool people are playing makes it harder to resist the call of accumulating more and more awesome games I don't actually have nearly enough time to play.

You're bang on the money, at least for me.

I haven't listened to any other gaming podcasts for years at this point, largely for this reason. And yet swathes of my wishlist exist as a direct result of the CC.

Actually, you know what? My bakclog is big enough that I don't need constant reminders of what's on sale.

*clickety-click*

There, just deleted my entire Steam wishlist.

I definitely have the thing where podcasts about new releases make me want to play the new thing. I've largely cut them out as well, but the other antidote is to just take stock of my current library of games. And not in that overwhelming "oh no, the pile is so big!" way, that just leads to despair. But instead I think about the next game or two I really want to play. Chances are it's a great game that I'd rather play than whatever is the new hotness, so I can hold back.

So yeah, the release treadmill doesn't end. And since there's no one going through your library to remind you of what you wanted to play next you have to do the work yourself, but it's pretty effective in my experience.

Hangdog wrote:

I want to subscribe to this for validation, since I've been doing this for a couple years now. Not out of virtue or making good choices but a combination of 1) so little free time, and 2) such an intimidating Pile of Shame. And I'm not entirely free of it.

I'm curious how you all feel about whether video game podcasts (Iike the CC, to be honest) stoke your need for the new and shiny. I'm not trying to be critical, as I love the crew, and I'd listen to them talking about baking tips, if they brought their usual charm and humor to it. But I feel like hearing about all these great titles that all these cool people are playing makes it harder to resist the call of accumulating more and more awesome games I don't actually have nearly enough time to play.

I don't listen to video game podcasts as they are usually talking about games I've never played and so I don't see the point in it. Whenever I get a new game, I like to be the one to discover all of the things in the game and don't want to be spoiled on it by a lot of discussion.

Hangdog wrote:

I'm curious how you all feel about whether video game podcasts (Iike the CC, to be honest) stoke your need for the new and shiny. I'm not trying to be critical, as I love the crew, and I'd listen to them talking about baking tips, if they brought their usual charm and humor to it. But I feel like hearing about all these great titles that all these cool people are playing makes it harder to resist the call of accumulating more and more awesome games I don't actually have nearly enough time to play.

Not at all, actually. I listen to the CC, Bombcast, Waypoint and others because I like hearing those people talk about games they like. Occasionally something will pique my interest but I can't think of a time I actually bought a game based on a podcast discussion. Spoilercasts or deep dives on particular games I'll save until I'm actually playing the game.

In the ol' days every Civ and Champman / Football Manager in the series was a no brainer, as was with Peter Molyneux games.

as I climbed up the ladder in family planning, with each poop-factory my time became more valuable. And work became more important to feed the family.

Meanwhile, Civ went from nice 2D iso to some mediocre 3D-graphics (on my computer back then). And I didn't understand why Civ with tiles had to be 3D. Football Manager became more and more power-hungry and less and less tactics and more and more tamagochi for players, and Molyneux somehow delivered so many broken or rushed or imperfect games that I had no reason to keep up anymore.

Since then, most computergames took a turn for the worse to my liking. Dragon Age stank with this programmable fighting, Open World appeared to be only open world in case of exploration, not in RPG and tactic games stayed rock paper shotgun and the point of no return where you know you will win but have to play a 20+ hours.

Sometimes a fresh breath of air comes along with Subnautica or Ace Patrol, but mostly, I wait and play the old Colonization

I was always a bargain bin game buyer, buying games by the bundle not caring how old they were. They just looked interesting, almost always worked, and if they turned out to be bad there were few regrets.

Eventually I started to make a bit more money and discovered games media and podcasts. Suddenly I was "part of the discourse" and started buying games at full price. I even bought my first console, a 360. I was spending more money on games, not enjoying them any more than the cheap ones, and really regretted many full-price purchases, including the console. The machine was cool, but the games were sooooo expensive. Also many acclaimed games turned out to just not be my bag.

Once the kid came along spending money went down so I've once again become a bargain bin buyer. Only now on digital sales. I've learned to listen to what people like about games, decide if they're for me or not, and if they are, pick them up when they seem like the right price and I know I'm going to have time to play.

I'm lucky enough that I don't have to worry too much about the money, so if I want to support a game with a day-one purchase (and get any preorder bonuses), I can. But I have often done this and then sat on the game anyway for the reasons you describe. Playing with more features and less bugs is nice.

Mafia III was my favorite example of this. It got dinged on initial reviews, rightly; but patches and DLC rectified most of the technical issues and added variety to the gameplay.

This is simply the reality we live in now, there are so many good games that it is physically impossible to play them all.

IMAGE(https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/cutting_edge.png)