There are advantages to waiting a couple of months to purchase the latest new release, the price notwithstanding. Recently the idea of patient gaming seems to have taken off. The recession taking a bite out of gamer’s wallets, and pre-owned titles now being readily available with the big supermarkets offering pre-owned games could be helping to foster a less urgent need to own a game the moment it comes out. Communities do seem to be springing up around the idea, such as r/patientgamers on Reddit, hosting discussions on older games and pointing out sales other members may have missed. So just what are the advantages?
Well, if you’ve played any Bethesda game then you will be aware of the possibility that there may be bugs still in the game that have been missed during the playtest. Whilst usually these can just be minor annoyances, it has been known for games to be released with major game-breaking bugs, for example it freezes during loading screens. Waiting a couple of months allows any bugs missed to be nicely swept up with a patch or two before you even have the game in your hands, making for a less frustrating playthrough.
Waiting for a game may also mean that you can pick up the game and DLC as a bundle. DLC is a pet peeve of mine, especially when it adds achievements and locations you cannot access with the base game alone. However, in time there may be bundled packages available such as the Game of the Year editions which contain all the DLC in one box meaning you avoid going through the Xbox Live/PSN middle-man.
There can also be the issue of hype which can distort public opinion on a new release, as can be seen most recently with Skyrim, which is enjoying considerable attention. However, in the face of all the adoration it can be hard to find an honest opinion and review of the game. The opportunity to make up your own mind about a game can only be a good thing, and enable gamers to buy something they will enjoy, rather than what’s popular.
The final advantage of course, would have to be the price. With pre-owned titles being sold at varying fractions of a new copy’s price, it does seem to be the budget conscious gamers’ choice. Even holding off for a new copy to come on sale can be rewarding in terms of savings, with Steam holding several sales during the week, recently offering Oblivion and all the released DLC for £5.
Of course, there are some downsides in delaying when buying a game. If it’s a story based game, there runs the risk of spoilers. No matter how hard you try, something will be said about the game in your (online or otherwise) presence revealing a major plot point. There’s also the problem of keeping up with the gaming community, which unfortunately dwarfs the patient gaming one. Think back to the xkcd comic with the guy discovering Portal five years later. No one wants to be that guy.
Overall, the benefits of patient gaming seem to outweigh the negatives. Waiting and potential spoilers seem to be a fair deal for owning a complete, bug free game for a cheaper price. Who knows, waiting to buy the latest release might spur you on to complete all the games in your collection you haven’t finished yet… Or is that just me?