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After narrowing down the list of games I hope to purchase this holiday season, I’m debating becoming one of those gamers who only plays Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto. If I became this person, my bank account would thank me, and I wouldn’t be throttled by a migraine whenever I look at my backlog of games. I’m guessing my kill-to-death ratio would become more respectable too.
I feel more helpless this holiday season than I have at any point being a gamer. If you’ve been following my blog lately, you know that the birth of my daughter has led to far less hours going to games these days. On top of that, I have to figure out how I’m going to pay for two new consoles and a mountain of games. Budgeting cheap lunch alternatives and less car driving won’t do the trick this year. No matter how you slice it, this is an expensive season for games.
As of this writing, I plan on getting both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on their respective launch days. After taxes (and if my math is correct), I'm looking at spending over $960 just on the machines.
And we all know that I'm not going to walk out of the store without one or two games for each of these consoles. I'll have to wait for the reviews to hit to know what games I'm going to get for sure, but if I had to choose right now, I would snag Dead Rising 3 and Forza 4 for Xbox One, and Killzone: Shadow Fall and Knack for PlayStation 4. When I got home, I anticipate downloading Killer Instinct for Xbox One, and Contrast for PlayStation 4. The estimated dent to my wallet for all of these games is around $325.
You probably noticed I only selected first-party games for my day-one purchases. One of the big question marks this holiday season is whether to play the top-billed third-party releases on current or next-gen hardware. My gut tells me to play the next-gen versions, as they’ll obviously look better, but there’s a good chance my friends won’t make the leap to new consoles as soon as I do. That means I may consider picking up multiplayer-focused titles on Xbox 360, Wii U, or PlayStation 3.
The multiplayer games I’m looking at are Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4, and Need for Speed: Rivals. It would be foolish of me not to get Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag on Xbox One or PlayStation 4. Again, we’ll have to wait and see how the console divide is for these games. The differences could be immense, or as miniscule as better jacket and flag physics. Time will tell…
The games and machines I mentioned put me well over my financial tipping point. The bad news: They only account for half of the picture this holiday season. I also want to play (takes a deep breath) Grand Theft Auto V, Batman: Arkham Origins, Pokémon X and Y, Lego Marvel Superheroes, XCOM: Enemy Within, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Skylanders: Swap Force, Tearaway, Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze, Beyond: Two Souls, Scribblenauts Unmasked, and whatever great downloadable games hit at this time.
After crunching the numbers, the only solution I see to getting all of the stuff I want is to be crowned king of a prosperous nation. I’ll tax the living hell out of my people for two months, and then retire to my chambers for six months to play through everything I purchased. Yes, my people will likely be starving at this point, but hey, at least I solved one problem.
I'm taking next week off to play Grand Theft Auto V.
An alternative solution, which I think most people will follow, is fight the urge to buy everything on day one, and purchase games only when I have time to play them. Waiting often leads to lower prices. The dilemma I run into: I have to get through everything by Game Informer’s Game of the Year voting deadline, which is usually in mid-December.
Yes, I have one of the greatest resources available to me: Game Informer’s vault. Like any library, I do run into the problem of seeking a game that may already be checked out by another editor.
I’m going to take this holiday season one day at a time. The two purchases that I absolutely have to make are the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Stressing about getting through holiday games is nothing new for me – I do it every year. Now that I have a baby to care for, trying to get through everything will likely be the hardest game of the year.
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