All the way back in 2007 I bought a PS3 on launch day. I did not, however, buy a PS4 when it landed six years later. What happened between those two dates that made me change my gaming habits? The simple answer, I stopped chasing the next shiny thing dangling in front of my face and learned to game on my own terms.
Buying games when they first come out is quite remarkably expensive; especially the big-budget stuff that gets plastered all over bus stops. And as I’ve already droned about at length in my diatribe against pre-orders, there’s less and less upside to putting your money down early when all you get for your trouble is a buggy product that might take months of patching before it’s actually fit for purpose. The most recent example being a Street Fighter IV port so bad that Capcom resorted to using an older version in its own tournament for the sake of reliability. Don’t even get me started on Arkham Knight’s £33 season pass. A similar principle applies when shopping for a new console or PC component, prices are always high at first then tend to diponce the initial feeding frenzy disperses.
Then there’s the argument that investing in games early on colours your impressions and either builds unreasonable expectations or leads to that awkward process of denial where you try to convince yourself the wait was worth it. I remember paying full price for Grand Theft Auto IV and quickly tiring of it after the honeymoon, whereas I paid no attention to Titanfall until a year after its release and was thoroughly pleased with my purchase. It certainly helps that the legendarily ridiculous sales on Steam and other digital shops makes it easier to justify trying games you might not have done otherwise. When Call of Duty and Papers, Please both cost a tenner, happiness is the inevitable outcome.
By waiting out the hype tsunamis and buying games after they’re left flopping on the shore, you can save a bundle and actually have some guidance as to which games are worth playing on the machine you didn’t have to queue in the rain for the honour of purchasing. And if it turns out a particular system winds up with about three decent games on it, you’ll be able to sit back and act insufferably smug that you waited for the dust to settle before blowing your hard-earned moolah. Like all the best things in life, some patience and caution can greatly enhance one’s pleasure.