Viewpoints

So, Are Games Best Played Late?

What happens when that shiny new game that you've bought doesn't live up to expectations?

Regular readers/followers, please don’t get the wrong impression of me ok? My last few articles could quite easily be interpreted as negative, but they really aren’t. Granted, they do seem that way but my intentions are good, with our collective best interests at heart. You see, whilst I love games and gaming, I want to ensure that my experiences are enjoyable, worthwhile and memorable. This being the reason why I have come to believe that games are best played late, not at launch.

Playing Games Later

I used to love midnight launches; being one of the first to get a new title and rush home to install and play it. It’s a great feeling. Getting together with a few friends, staying up late together before succumbing to fatigue and calling it a night one-by-one is a great feeling. But what happens when that shiny new game that you’ve bought doesn’t live up to expectations? What if it wasn’t what you were expecting, leaving a sour taste in your mouth? Well, you won’t be waking up early to carry on where you left off, that’s for sure…

And this is my point; it’s easy to get lost in the media hype and be part of the zeitgeist when a new game comes out. We’ve all done it, lest we forget what happened with No Man’s Sky (the less said about that the better). Now let’s not interpret this the wrong way, I’m not writing this cynically against the developers or the gamers here, I have both their interests at heart. More so for the developers really, one bad launch can damage their reputation beyond repair and said game can flop with little opportunity to recover (see the above mention of No Man’s Sky).

“Ultimately though, the decision lies with us as gamers to decide how and when we spend our money.”

I’m not talking about games being buggy at launch either or cynical developers bringing out extra downloadable content out shortly after launch. I’m more making reference to letting a game settle, seeing people’s opinions once they’ve had it a while and then make an informed decision. Reading reviews pre-launch can be tricky as some don’t allow their games to be covered until release day to protect sales (which I don’t agree with) so making these informed decisions can be tricky.

Valkyria Revolution
Valkyria Revolution

Ultimately though, the decision lies with us as gamers to decide how and when we spend our money. I’m not completely averse to spending money on games on day one, I’ve done it many times before and will continue to do so, but I’m more careful about deciding when I do now.

With the likes of Games Pass on the Xbox housing their new first-party games from launch, making this same decision on their platform at least will be much easier. For the sake of a low-cost monthly subscription, you can dip your toes, test the waters and come back at a later date once things have settled down or when you get the chance. Who knows, this model might be the future but one thing is for certain; I’m happy to wait if it means I can play my games in their complete form.