One of the most exciting moments in childhood was the sound of the letterbox opening and a brand-new release hitting the doormat. You stick it in your console and play it all day, knowing that hundreds of thousands of people around the world are sharing the same experience as you.
As most of us have got older, we’ve managed to lose that childhood buzz for new releases. Practical things get in the way, like bills and children of our own. There are also a few other factors why you might be avoiding buying a fresh released straight away, but also some pretty sizeable upsides that might just change your mind…
Why we avoid playing games on release
Let’s start with the drawbacks. The idea of playing games as soon as they’re out or, even worse, preordering them has become incredibly unfashionable. And there’s a good number of reasons why waiting a while to buy, and play, a new game is prudent.
Over the past couple of decades, as developers and publishing teams have grown dramatically, so have overheads. Video games aren’t made by charities, so it’s inevitable that the cost is eventually passed to us, the gamers. New releases are now priced at double what they were 15 years ago, which can really make you think twice about the entertainment you get out of the game.
To combat this, many developers extend the playtime by introducing collectibles and side quests, but for many a full-priced game is still a real investment.
It’s certainly not uncommon for new releases to suffer technical errors, bugs and glitches; sometimes completely destroying the playing experience. The most notorious example of recent times is Cyberpunk 2077. Framerate issues and other significant bugs occurring on the ‘old gen’ consoles, rendered the game almost unplayable.
To avoid this issue, you might think that buying the game months after the release is the best option to provide the developer more time to complete any hotfixes and patches. This way, when you come to sit down at the weekend and play the game, you can be confident that it’s the experience that the developer intended. No unexpected hiccups to ruin the immersion.
No additional DLC
When you buy and play a game on release date, it can sometimes feel like you’re just playing a base game. You can see where the developer wants to take it, but it’s just not quite there yet. Games are expensive enough, without making the purchase knowing that the developer has held back content to sell you at a later date.
This isn’t a new concept. The Sims popularised this in the naughties, and now big behemoth franchises across many different genres, such as The Witcher, Assassins Creed and Forza all work off a DLC model. There’s no doubt that there’s some benefit to waiting if you’re not desperate to play it, and you’re likely to get a good deal on the game with all of the DLC included at some point.
Why we should play games on release
So yes, there are plenty of pretty sizeable drawbacks, but there are also huge advantages of playing a game as soon as it’s out.
Experience it at the same time as friends
It’s common to overhear a conversation about a brand-new release and feel some FOMO or regret. You might think to yourself, “who are these idiots, spending that amount of money. In a year, I’ll get it at a fraction of the cost and then we’ll see who’s laughing”. That might be a sensible decision, but where’s the fun in that?
Video games aren’t supposed to be sensible. This isn’t a business transaction, eking out as much value as possible and maximising your return. This is entertainment, and without a doubt best enjoyed with friends.
When you finally find that great deal with all of the DLC included, your friends are going to be playing another game. Worse yet, if it’s a competitive multiplayer game, they’ll be light years ahead of you with much better players or equipment depending on the genre.
If you really want to get serious about gaming again, playing games with your friends is a surefire way to maximise enjoyment.
Be part of the buzz
It’s not just your friends talking about new releases though. When big releases come out, you can’t move for TV, radio and written press coverage about it. Reviews are out, the games media is abuzz, and the game’s subreddit is blowing up whilst the community discovers every interesting nook and cranny to explore.
That’s what’s so underrated about gaming; the community. When a new game comes out, you can easily find like-minded people are also playing it who will share your excitement and help you out if you get stuck.
If you wait to play the game, then the buzz is gone and the community has likely moved on to something else. Not to mention that if it’s a multiplayer game and you wait long enough, the developer might not even support it anymore and the servers can get taken down or poorly populated.
Playing through a game at the same time as everyone else on release is great because you’re all experiencing it together. But it also means that you’re much less likely to encounter spoilers as you go.
People in communities on Reddit or Twitter are unlikely to go out of their way to spoil the game that has just come out, but only for a certain time period. If you haven’t completed the story of a game within 3 months of it coming out, then it’s best to steer clear of these areas of the internet because you’re bound to come across something.
Spoilers are so frustrating because not only do you know what’s going to happen, but you spend every cut scene wondering when. It completely takes your focus from where it should be and spoils the immersion. So if you really love a game or franchise, you should definitely consider getting it on release.
Obviously, we don’t recommend playing every game on release – that would be madness. Nowadays you need to keep your wits up and stick to supporting developers who have a proven track record for releasing a finished, playable product and not some extended beta version at full price. But if you pick the right games – the ones that truly matter to you and the ones you can trust – then you will be rewarded with lots of benefits.
If this has helped you see things in a new light, then please share our work with others. Additionally, why not tell us all about it on Twitter? Alternatively, find some other ways to rediscover your love of gaming.