"We" Are Not Buying Broken Games

A reply to a recent trend about how "we" are buying broken games.

"We" are NOT paying for broken games. I don't know how Joystiq defines "we" but this big marketing push about "how we're paying for broken games" is nothing but hogwash. "We" don't buy broken guys, because I'm not included in that "we." People who buy games at launch or through crowdfunding or presales are doing so AT THE RISK that the product isn't what is specified or to their tastes. 

This is the giant issue I have with Star Citizen is that our current cultures perception is that we should get value for our money, but that's not true. Our society DOES NOT honor this notion, this isn't some form of alternate government, this is f'in capitalism and in it, the free market determines prices. Now, obviously, we've got some hybrid type thing going where regulation controls specific markets (mostly utility), but as far as consumer goods are concerned, this is how it works. 

Vendor A sales a product at $X.XX and Vendor B sales a product at $Y.YY, a lower price. Vendor A has no reasonability to inform you that their more expensive product is sourced from the same location and original source that Vendor B's product is sourced from. When you purchase it, they have no obligation to also inform you their product, while more expensive, is inferior. They can say nearly whatever they wish to. 

Here's a real life example - at a local outdoor mall there is a Williams Sonoma and a Homegoods across the street from each other. When you go into Homegoods, a lot of the miscellaneous items in Williams Sonoma is on sale for about 1/4th to 1/10th the price. The same functional item, in the same packaging. A good example is a professional cheese grater I saw while I was at Homegoods was $4.99, the same exact brand grater was at Williams Sonoma for $14.99.  

Yet, no one is obligated to inform you of this. You, as a consumer, must research this yourself. If, for instance, in both cases the cheese grater was a giant pile of dog excrement, then both purchases would be incorrect. It's up to the consumer to decide if this purchase is right for them. 

Which is, again, my primary complaint with Star Citizen right now -  these big buys, like the Javelin, are for a product which has yet to be tested and based purely on blind faith, and while the intention is that you're donating your cash to the cause, many players, nay consumers, are purchasing it for the intention of using it - thus the issue. When Star Citizen launches, they are hedged into a large purchase for a game that, while may be successful, may not be either the purchase they desired or the game they personally desired. [Edit: To emphasis, I am not saying that Star Citizen will fail, but that those who are buying ships not to support the game but for the ship itself may be disappointed with the finished product, on a personal level.]

Hence the problem - they made the choice to buy in. They made the choice themselves to purchase the Javelin. They entered their credit card information into the website. However, was their choice properly informed? Was the information provided to them correct? These are questions for them to ask themselves, obviously, and the same questions we should all ask ourselves before we buy a game. 

Game reviews, while under heavy criticism recently for journalist integrity *cough every review in Nintendo Power, to me personally, is questionable* and there exists no Consumer Reports for video games, there is still peer feedback for those who don't trust reviews. There is demos, YouTube videos of gameplay, and so much more for someone to decide if purchasing a game is right for them, and generally there is a wide array of resources available that aren't mainstream review sites, if you fear they're being paid off to try to sale you a product.

Pre-orders are a thing of the past, honestly, the pre-order bonus is almost a give-me for any game now even if you don't preorder it. Additionally, there is no reason to anymore. With digital downloads, there isn't some fear the local video game store is going to hold copies and keep you from buying them. There is no more midnight launches for a lot of different games. 

So, what I'm attempting to say is that, people who buy a broken game are making the choice to do so. They're saying hey, I want this game without any research beyond the pre-release reviews and this one video with Pewdiepie playing 5 minutes of it and saying OK BROS ITS PRETTY FUN SO FAR. If you buy a game blindly and that game is broken, you've just participated in capitalism. 

Interestingly enough, these broken games do get fixed, because obviously if it's broken there will not be any continued sales, additionally the brand which sold the game will suffer. "I'm not sure I'm going to buy the next Ubisoft game until I hear more..." which is exactly the kind of opinion a lot of video game publishers DO NOT want you to have. Obviously you need to buy a game before anyone can play it so that you can play it seconds before anyone else can. 

So, Joystiq may be buying broken games, but not me, no sir re, I bother to look into a game and the only "broken" games I buy are for work. I sat on the fence for so many game launches, sitting and waiting to see how they happen, and each time I've been rewarded with the solace of knowing that I made either the right or wrong purchase, and I hope that all of my readers out there will join me in this very simple, consumer friendly logic. 

If you don't want a broken game, don't buy them. Wait to see and hear if they're broken. Waiting until you get home from work to buy a game that you can't play until you get off of work is far superior to the concept of buying a game months earlier and then playing it at or near the same point, but without knowing if it is or isn't "good" or at least "functional." 

To me, game developers and publishers should release all the broken games they desire, it just means I won't purchase them, and that's revenue they're going to lose. It's not society's reasonability to sit and hold the hand of every gamer out there, and promise that every game they ever buy will work as intended and be as fun as the claims are. 

The 80s and 90s were a great time for us to understand the follies of preorders. The only way to get a lot of big titles, especially in the late 90s and early 2000s, was through preorders. If you wanted to be an early game adopter, as in get the game within the first week of launch, you needed to obtain a preorder, otherwise the store would be "sold out." This was true of even World of Warcraft's launch, and the two subsequent expansion releases. 

Reviews from kids at school were important and most major game retailers had a lot of consoles out to test various games. The game shops I visted as a kid would put any game in for you and let you play it in their store for 5 or 10 minutes to see if you liked it, which worked great for them, they had a timer on the power supply to the unit. After 10 minutes, the unit would automatically cut off. You could sit there and play it and if you wanted to play more after 10 minutes, you'd buy it. 

Now, we have the Internet, and the associated voices of millions, in addition to videos on YouTube of gameplay and websites that, at the drop of a hat, will trash most game developers into the ground for any bugs or errors, even after they're fixed, so with that in mind it's important to know that if you buy a broken game in this modern age - you bought... well a broken game either on purpose or through lack of research. 

You don't have to buy a game day one and any game that must be purchased that way is just exploiting the consumer base. Honestly, it's why a lot of bad press happens over some MMOs, they launch, everyone buys it when it launches because you have to be in the game when it does launch, and then everyone rolls out when it doesn't go that swell. 

A comment below does mention that some developers like Blizzard, CD Projket Red, and for me Rockstar make fully polished, completely finished games, not unlike the recent Ubisoft scandel. However, I still refuse to buy most games until post launch, specifically probably during the Steam Sale which is when you kinda know you want the game or not, and I mean we all have backlogs a mile long of stuff we have to play. You don't have to get the latest Assassin's Creed III clone on day one.

Then, with an actual playerbase in (the paying consumers) playing the game, they submit tons of feedback through rants. Then, they fix the glaring issues (hopefully), but no one subscribes. The free-to-play model, somehow, isn't what any game launches with even though SWTOR's F2P model is essentially pay us to play and it works great, because players can play, subscribe or not, and if they don't feel like playing they don't have to pay to play. 

All I'm saying is that, we can hate game developers for releasing bad games, but we have wallets and we speak with them. If a game is buggy, don't buy it until its fixed. Just because your friends are playing a game before you doesn't mean anything - I mean let's be honest, most games are bought on the Steam sale these days anyway. 

So that's my viewpoint, you're welcome to have your own opinion, but however it is, it's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it. 


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Get in the bush with David "Xerin" Piner as he leverages his spectacular insanity to ask the serious questions such as is Master Yi and Illidan the same person? What's for dinner? What are ways to elevate your gaming experience? David's column, Respawn, is updated near daily with some of the coolest things you'll read online, while David tackles ways to improve the game experience across the board with various hype guides to cool games.

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