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Buying Games on Day of Release?

We all know the controversy: Now that consoles are increasingly tied to the Internet, thus allowing games to be patched, are we all just glorified beta testers? Are companies able to put out buggy games and rake in the dough from them because they can always put out a patch and fix the game later?

That's been the common lament for PC gamers for a while now, but consoles have been getting that more and more since they are increasingly online as well. Never mind the fact that this screws over those who *don't* have their consoles on the Internet.

But there's a subsection to this whole debate that I had never really thought about before, until reading a post from PastaPadre, a sports gaming blog where I usually get my team rosters.

I always buy the annual NCAA Football game from EA Sports, but I like to have "real" players in my dynasty, rather than "QB #5". Thus, I like to wait until the college football season starts before actually buying the game. That way, all of the rosters have been finalized, and some fans put in a lot of work creating real rosters with real names (by law, players' names can't be put in the game by EA, since they are not professional players and thus can't be paid). I can go to PastaPadre and download the latest roster and have a blast coaching my Iowa State Cyclones to victory.

This delay has the added advantage of me buying it after the inevitable first patch. This year, it sounds like there were some huge bugs, which I'm going to miss because the patch is supposed to be out at the end of August.

Custom playbooks are broken, injuries in online dynasties weren't carrying over from week to week, some major freezing issues, and a whole lot more. All of them were there out of the box, and there have been a number of complaints about this.

PastaPadre's post is in response to a number of outlets, including Kotaku, advocating *not* buying a sports game on Day One:

"Operation Sports first posted an editorial that stated there now is really no reason to buy sports games on day one, and Kotaku has followed up on that by essentially arguing the very same thing. This represents some huge pressure being placed on EA Sports for their latest offering and is a clear warning shot regarding future titles. Outlets are growing frustrated with the current state of how sports titles are being handled at and following release."

Hopefully, as the good Father of Pasta says, the increasing clamor of not only gamers, but also of games journalists and comment sites, will start making companies pay a bit more attention to what they're shipping out the door. I would think a rather large percentage of any game's sales are going to be in the first week. If people hold off on buying these games until the patches are out, that's really going to affect their bottom line.

I would argue that sports titles are even more susceptible to this than other games, because of their relation to real-world events. As I stated, I wait until the rosters are as up to date as possible because of the "QB #5" thing. However, even with professional sports games, like Madden, I would wait until rosters are a bit more finalized before buying the game.

What if Brett Favre comes out of retirement and joins the 49ers two weeks before the season starts? I would want that reflected in my game.

Yes, they do put out updated rosters as the seasons go on, but that doesn't help the dynasty/franchise that you have already started.

That, combined with the fact that these things have been buggy as hell on release the last couple of years (at least NCAA has; I don't buy Madden, so I can't say anything about that) just adds incentive for me to hold off.

How many people are like me?

Maybe not a lot, but I'd say there are enough.

How long before we see lowering sales of these games because people are tired of buggy games coming out of the gate?

Sometimes, they may not want to wait around, especially when there are so many other great games coming out around the same time.

Granted, sports games are a thing all their own, with dedicated fans who *only* buy these particular games and no other video games, so they have a built-in audience.

Maybe that's part of the problem as well, which will prevent this issue from ever being truly addressed.

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