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.

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17 comments

  1. This is a really good topic and I know what you’re saying! I use to be someone who HAD to get that game the day of release…until I bought The Division at full price the day it came out 😅😂 The trailer had seemed epic but the game didn’t live up to the hype for me. but I think it’s a good idea to wait ever since that xD

    1. But it’s getting an Xbox One X patch now so it can fulfil all the promises that were made for it…

  2. I’m the same I wait a while before purchasing a game (as I’m a cheapskate😂) I used to go with tge hype and buy games on the day they are released. I also sometimes wait till my birthday so others buy them for me 😂

    1. If I do that and it’s not what I expected, I feel bad when trading it in as it’s not my money.

  3. I hardly get games on release day and I never really read reviews either- I like to experience them first-hand for myself and dive in without too much knowledge, and then see and discuss with other people afterwards. I think it’s unfair to judge games so quickly because we all have our own preferences anyway. Hype and reputation are a weird thing.
    Great post by the way! 🙂 ^^

    1. Thanks for the feedback 🙂 I also think in many ways that reviews would be best done after a short while too. I thought Division was great to start with but after the hype I found it to be not what I expected or they had billed it as.

  4. I love this topic! I think it depends on the type of game honestly. Single player games I feel are mostly safe and fun to play day 1. Anything with multiplayer, involving servers I’m hesitant about. Also anything that is hyped up beyond control (cough *No Man’s Sky* cough). In those cases, I prefer to give it some time to smooth out and DLC to release. I’m much more likely to enjoy a game if I don’t worry about crashing servers, buggy NPCs, or lackluster story lines/content.

    1. I think it’s in our interest that this is the case as well. Can’t expect them to iron every crease out pre-launch but we’ve seen some shocking launches where games fundamentally don’t work. I’m not one to wait too long for complete editions or the like to release but, renting most of my games, I can come back whenever I want.

      1. Very valid. I think after some of the bigger disappointing launches, studios and developers are getting better at ensuing decent launches but they won’t get it right every time. Hoping whatever big things are in the works next all have at least acceptable releases!

      2. It’s funny you should say, “Whatever big things are in the works” because I’ve been pondering over this myself and thinking of penning my next article on this.

      3. E3 will be interesting to be honest. What does Sony do? Do Microsoft keep updating BC for 4K ? Who knows?!

  5. I usually get into games late mostly because it takes me forever to finish one game so there’s usually a lot that I want to catch up on. However, I think it helps that you get the already patched version and you already have a fair idea of what you are getting into rather than going in blind. With TV and movies I liked blind watching, games are usually a much bigger time commitment and I prefer them to be enjoyable.

  6. Exactly. With the monetary commitment and time commitment you want to make sure you’re getting value and going to enjoy it.

  7. For me, if the game has technical issues and going to need a bunch of patch’s to fix…Then I’d rather play it later. Perfect example, I bought Assassins Creed Origins the first day it came out, but I hadn’t actually started playing it till February this year. I remember when I first put it on, the frame rate was terrible! not downright un playable but quite off putting. Now I’m playing it and it is running so smoothly now, and I feel this definitely has helped me enjoy the game a lot more.

    1. I’ve just started playing this on my newly purchased X. Looks fantastic but I find it boring to be honest.

What do you think?