Skip Release Day!

Delay the urge for instant gratification, and spare your wallet.

On this site, we offer you some pretty common sense type of articles. Gaming is often a joyful, relaxing hobby. We love the fun that comes with gaming. However, on our site we are going to examine spending norms that exist in our hobby, many of which are heavily influenced by advertising, consumerism, and profit. This isn’t a bad thing, by any means – companies exist to make money. Our intention is never to be condescending or insulting of anyone’s values based on their habits in any way. Our core focus will always be to share some pretty honest tips that can save you money. One of these tips we’re discussing today is the simple fact of skipping release day, and wait on those hot-new releases.

In my experience, it’s easy to get hyped up in pre-release news for the newest games. It can be exciting to read early impression articles, watch release trailers, and try out demos. My next urge is to make a list of all the games coming out over the course of the year that I simply have to play. Retailers are also dutifully there to tell me which games appear on their “Must Own for 20XX” lists. I could be looking at buying a minimum of two to three games, setting me back $120 – $180+tax. However, what’s the impact if I were to ignore an urge for instant gratification and delay a gaming purchase? Why do millions of us settle for the default answer of pre-ordering or buying a game on or shortly after release, paying $60 or more , simply because it is new?

There are plenty of arguments to be made about why a game is best when it’s first new. I will share rationales and strategies to save money buying new. Still, there are compelling points to hold off buying most newly released games:

Pros of waiting on a purchase:
  1. Paying drastically less simply by waiting a couple of months.
  2. Many games have bugs upon release, resulting in day 1 patches.
  3. Hype and reviews can settle down, allowing for clearer opinions on a game’s quality.
Cons of waiting on a purchase:
  1. Fear of missing out.
  2. Online functionality: starting new with everyone else usually means a level playing-field. Also, see #1.

What if I told you that just waiting two months into the new year to buy a console game  originally released during the holiday season, you’d save on average 45% off the $59.99 MSRP. Here’s the data crunch for the biggest titles released during Holiday Season 2016:

New Video Game Releases: October, November, & December 2016
Game: October November December January February March April May June
Battlefield 1 (PS4) $59.99 $39.85 $47.66 $39.98 $35.00 $35.75 $33.94 $31.00 $28.29
Titanfall 2 (PS4) $59.99 $35.00 $36.66 $32.99 $28.49 $22.00 $18.50 $17.00 $20.99
World of Final Fantasy (PS4) $59.99 $49.99 $46.85 $40.96 $31.09 $29.50 $29.99 $29.99 $30.37
Gears of War 4 (XB1) $59.99 $42.22 $28.33 $28.97 $27.32 $25.25 $24.61 $21.40 $21.25
Final Fantasy XV (PS4) $59.99 $40.00 $35.00 $34.00 $31.00 $31.00 $30.00 $29.99
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (PS4) $59.99 $35.84 $30.72 $31.00 $22.50 $23.50 $20.49 $21.44
Dishonored 2 (PS4) $59.99 $50.40 $44.54 $41.80 $41.80 $29.99 $29.99 $29.89
Watch Dogs 2 (PS4) $59.99 $49.67 $35.33 $32.51 $27.99 $30.50 $29.99 $24.99
Killing Floor 2 (PS4) $50.00 $40.25 $39.00 $38.99 $35.99 $32.99 $31.49 $27.99
Pokémon Sun / Moon (3DS) $39.99 $37.84 $35.99 $34.99 $35.99 $35.99 $35.11 $33.99
Mario Party: Star Rush (3DS) $39.99 $35.38 $34.77 $32.64 $30.00 $29.95 $29.09 $27.26
Assassin’s Creed: Ezio Collection (PS4) $59.99 $39.68 $32.13 $24.78 $28.74 $28.28 $27.31 $28.50
Darksiders: Warmastered Edition. (PS4)** $19.99 $19.02 $19.97 $18.97 $18.95 $17.50 $17.83 $18.95
The Last Guardian (PS4) $59.99 $39.15 $34.99 $31.00 $32.00 $27.90 $27.85
Dead Rising 4 (XB1) $59.99 $30.44 $31.81 $27.42 $26.29 $24.99 $25.00
Super Mario Maker (3DS) $39.99 $36.75 $34.99 $32.95 $32.50 $31.50 $30.00
October November December January February March April May June
Average, Console: $59.99 $51.70 $41.53 $35.96 $32.50 $30.05 $28.33 $26.87 $26.37
(% Saved) 0.00% 13.82% 30.77% 40.05% 45.83% 49.90% 52.78% 55.22% 56.04%
Average, Handheld: $39.99 $37.74 $35.84 $34.21 $32.98 $32.81 $31.90 $30.42
(% Saved) 0.00% 5.63% 10.39% 14.46% 17.53% 17.95% 20.23% 23.94%


Here’s a graphical representation:
*All games are standard edition, and all prices shown (after release month) are lowest at end of month. Prices are pulled from Tracktor & VGPC.

The savings you can get by pushing off the urge to get the newest games is clearly significant. Again, if you wait until February, you’re going to get around 45% off the cost. Wait until May, and most games are less than half-price. My point is this: when a lot of the AAA titles released have glitches, issues, server problems, and more upon launch, is the premium you pay a satisfying experience? I think there’s plenty of room to ignore the buzz and hype of pre-ordering and release-day purchases.

When should you buy on release day?

  1. Do you have a favorite franchise that you truly love?
  2. Is there a developer who you really appreciate?
  3. Is there a game that you and your friends made a commitment to play?
  4. A collector’s edition that you really, really want (or will you have buyer’s remorse?)

I feel like these are all legitimate reasons to jump in on release day. For example, the only four games I bought new this year are: Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild for Wii U, Sonic Mania, Yakuza 0, and Yakuza Kiwami for PS4. All three series are franchises dear to my heart, and the quality of the series has been consistent through each title (except for Sonic, who’s had some shaky years, you might say). An important fact is that you should always seek a deal when there’s one to be found, such as Best Buy’s Gamer Club Unlocked and Amazon Prime. The memberships often pay for themselves over time. I often use the latter since we do a lot of other shopping on Amazon, and the two-day shipping can’t be beat. Don’t discount store credit from trade-ins at family-owned local game shops, either. I had a stockpile of credit saved for when Zelda came out and paid $6.88 for it. If there are games you’re really eager to play and GameStop offers a huge trade-in bonus, that’s not a bad time to hop in and score a deal.

Summary:

You’re better off waiting a couple of months on most shiny new games. Celebrate some delayed gratification. Save some money, but still play the games. Every once in awhile, give yourself that freedom to splurge on a game you’ll play right away. Keep your volume of purchasing reasonable so your budget thanks you.

Are there things you found useful? Anything I’m missing? There’s always more we can learn, so don’t hold back on the comments!

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