Features The Price Is Right

Published on August 27th, 2013 | by Jeff Derrickson

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Question of the Week: Are Games Worth $60?

Welcome to Critically Sane’s Question of the Week, where we do our best to answer an inquiry posed to us by the community. Have your own question? Tweet it to us @criticallysane or put it in the comments below!

With game prices dropping so quickly after release, is saving a few bucks more important than being part of the conversation during launch? If so, are there any instances where you’d bypass your cheap ways so as not to miss out on an experience?

If you are patient, it is true that most games will drop in price $10-$20 at some point within a month of launch. Being part of the conversation at launch should never be more important than saving 33 percent on a game for waiting just a couple weeks. I, however, don’t practice what I preach. I am all id; when I want something, I need it right away. If the thought of buying something crosses my mind, I will obsess about it until I pull the trigger.

 This most recently happened to me just last week. DuckTales Remastered launched on Aug. 13, and I held back on buying it, because I wasn’t sure if my memory of the original game was accurate, especially since it released to such mixed reviews. A week later, and I couldn’t resist anymore. I needed to play it. I waited a week, but I didn’t wait for a sale or a price drop.

I purchase most games day one, and I prefer owning over renting, regardless of a game’s length. I’ve always been like that. In the age of Twitter, being part of the conversation is just an added bonus.

Gamestop

Of course, if you’re a GameStop customer, you’ve probably bought into their “buy, play, trade” model. You buy a game for $60, beat it, and then trade it in for store credit toward your next purchase. If you beat a game, and you’re done with it quickly enough, you can trade it in for maximum value (usually) of $25. Taking advantage of trade promotions, such as putting your trade toward preordering an upcoming game, will push your credit over $30. If you do this regularly, you can always buy games on day one without paying full price. In most cases, you will pay less than $40 for a new game.

The downside of using that model is you are getting less than half of what a game is worth, and GameStop will turn around and sell it for $55. If GameStop is able to sell a used copy of a recent release for $55, you can get at least $45 by using sites like eBay or Amazon to sell your games. GameStop gets away with its model because it’s convenient, and some consumers still don’t know how to use the Internet. I will admit, although I keep many games I buy and replay them, I occasionally trade with GameStop. I have sold directly to other people before, but having to ship stuff is not as convenient as simply going to the store. I also don’t like how Paypal holds onto your money for weeks now.

The smartest play is to always wait for a deal. Unless the game is only available digitally, you won’t have to wait long. And since you’re presumably not trading in your games, you will always have something to play in the meantime. Maybe you will be playing a game that you recently bought on sale but is still totally new to you. And yes, there are rare cases where it is appropriate to pay full price for a new game. GTA V probably won’t go on sale any time near launch, and I’m willing to bet it’s worth every penny of $60. In most cases, you can wait.

Although I have many games and often replay them, I usually don’t follow my advice. I’m foolish with my money, and I’m always excited for the next new thing. Don’t be like me. You won’t be part of the conversation at launch, and you will risk seeing spoilers out there in the wild. That is a small price to pay for being smart with your money.

Or you could be like me, because video games.

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About the Author

is a member of the Perfectly Sane Show and co-host of Movie Dudes. He studied English and mass media at Northeastern Illinois University.



  • Napoleon1066

    I think the only games that are worth $60 are the ones that I have to play with my friends on day one. Otherwise, I normally have such a backlog of good games, I can afford to wait.

    • Wolf

      This is why i buy on day 1 most of the time. Multiplayer,
      I don’t think games have the same longevity that they used to, because the saturation of good games and that I don’t get as obsessed as I used to. COD I only buy at price to play with my friends, after that, it tends to sit for a long time. If I don’t get it on day one, then the window for enjoying it gets smaller.

  • Chris Scott

    “Being part of the conversation at launch should never be more important than saving 33 percent on a game for waiting just a couple weeks.”

    I’m not sure I agree with that. Being part of the zeitgeist of a game is often worth that extra 33% to me.

  • Wolf

    Best reason to wait on a purchase: DLC packages. I try to only buy games I must have on day one, a la GTAV. Otherwise I try to wait, not only is the price drop nice, getting more content on disc almost is always worth it. Getting Fallout3 and Boarderlands1 2+ years after launch means that the game of the year edition was 20 +/-. Totally worth it for extending the games by several hours.

    • Wolf

      I do have to say, I kinda wish that I had gotten the basic version of fallout3 though, the raised level cap was nice at first, but the extra hard monsters that appeared everywhere actually make the game less fun: they take too much time and energy to fight when i’d started to enjoy a faster way of playing the game.
      Does DLC hamper games? Is it just a marketing tool? Is it worth while?

      • Chris Scott

        I think that final piece is a good potential future question of the week.

  • Wolf

    As game reviewers, does the obligation of having to beat and write about a game change your feelings for a game? I remember reading a review of Assassins Creed 1, where the reviewer didn’t like the game when he was pushing through it, but when he stopped to just enjoy it for what it was, his overall impression greatly improved.
    Does reviewing games change how much you value a game? Does getting a press version or early release do anything to weight your opinion?

    • Chris Scott

      Maybe. No. And no.

      To elaborate a bit more. I do think the pressure of having to rush through a title to get a review out as quickly as possible can at times impact perception of a game. There is a chance that this heightens ones opinions of a game (both negatively and positively), which is why I like to digest my experience a bit before sitting down and putting my thoughts to paper.

  • Alan Collahuazo

    I don’t think games are worth at that price. Except if they assure you more than 100 hours of gaming between single player and multiplayer. There is horrible games that shouldn’t cost that much. Even games are just ok and fun to play for a bit.

  • Marcus Green

    Yeah, I think a lot of it comes down to the game. Like you said, GTA V is one I’ll easily pay full price for. I’m just debating what system to get it for. However, something like Saint’s Row IV, I have decided can wait until I get that 20 dollar price drop. I dislike that initial discussion wave that is usually filled with spoilers. People will tear through games in record time and I usually like to make the experience last for that price.

    • Wolf

      I think it was a review of Assassins Creed 1, where the comment was that burning through the game was a drag, but when the player just enjoyed it for what it was, he got a lot more our of the game.

      When I get a game, I’m expecting to get my investment’s worth. I’m still baffled how new games can be on the used game’s shelf in under a weeks time.

  • Wolf

    What are peoples’ thoughts about special additions, and collectors editions? The swag could be cool, but is it worth it? Are we/they segmenting the market? Are developers just miking a product?
    GTAV is theoretically worth its weight in gold.

    For a tempting few more dollars you can get a couple bonuses.
    For doubling down, you get a whole lot of stuff, most of which I don’t really see a purpose to.

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