Video game sales and bundles have made games more accessible and affordable to players than ever before. A lot of gamers (guilty as charged) wait patiently for the next sale extravaganza of our favorite app store and hope that the games on our wishlist will be discounted enough to be bought in one purchase cart. With this, it may seem inevitable that our purchases will continue to pile up until we have a lot more games than our free time will allow. We can rationalize that we’re just availing this sort of “rare” deals that we don’t want to miss the chance to buy these great games, regardless of when we’ll play it (i.e. if we ever get the chance to play it). We can also say that we’re doing this for charity. I just hope it’s part of the real purpose. For such reasons, I just reached the point that I don’t want to give excuses just to succumb to my pleasure of getting more and more bargains without enjoying my purchases. I stopped buying games since January except if the game is part of my research or part of a game engine bundle which I consider a good investment as a game developer. Here are some things that motivated me to have my purchase-lock.
As a Game Developer, I Want My Games to be Played
This is the top reason that really struck me. I’ve experienced the hardships of being a game developer, but I strive and continue to do what I do for this is my passion. This is with the hope that beyond materializing my ideas, gamers will notice and appreciate what I’ve made. I read this article from polygon where it was mentioned that:
The only thing worse than paying less for a game on sale is to not pay anything, and even if you don’t play the games you buy you can comfort yourself by saying you’re helping to fund the creation of that company’s next venture.
Point taken. The company really needs the funds to keep the operations going, but depending on the monetary support alone will prove to be ephemeral in terms of its expansion, let alone survival. More than finances, the company needs followers and loyal supporters who will continue to play the games and spread the word of the quality that the developers deliver. With more and more games getting released everyday, it is essential to make a mark with your game and create a reputation from there. And it is not achieved by merely pulling off a money-shot trailer or good webpage synopsis. People have to play your games in order to recognize that it’s good, and they get their money’s worth. Who knows, maybe it will make them buy your next games at full price since you’ve already earned their seal of approval.
My Money is Better Spent on Something Else That I Will Enjoy or Consume Sooner
Sure, you’ll get discounts on buying these games, but I can’t consider that money as actually saved if you don’t get to play the game at all, you basically just threw it out (again, unless you really did it for charity). I apply this principle in everything that I buy. If I won’t use it soon, then might as well keep it in my budget instead. I’ll never know when I’ll need the money for other stuff like emergency bills, vacations, meetups, or even game dev materials that I treat as a valuable investment. Besides, most of the best games reappear in future deals, sometimes with a cheaper price than the previous sale.
Secure My Savings While I’m Still Operating on Active Income
I only got my first ever credit card last year. Actually, it’s a debit card, because I don’t want to have unsettled bills hanging for a while. The interest rate may go crazy if you don’t pay attention. The ease of online transactions made anyone susceptible to splurge on online shops. The next thing you know, you’re already in a big debt. To be honest, my purchase rate for bundles were quite high for the first couple of months of my debit card. The online transfer of funds really made it convenient for me to avail such great deals. Good thing I’m keeping records of my personal finances and I observed the sudden spike of expenses. I knew I had to halt at one point. Then I read this article from Kotaku which motivated me to start my purchase lock. I even sold my PS2, Nintendo DS Lite, and PSP since I just have too many games to play, and I wasn’t able to play them as often as I used to. Maybe I’ll loosen myself on spending if I acquire passive income that pretty much covers all my expenses. How to do that is reserved for another blog, but for starters, you might want to check out Cash Flow board game, created by the prominent businessman, investor, and self-help author, Robert Kiyosaki.
I Just Want to Enjoy the Games That I Bought
Well, I have to admit; this is just me being me. I’m really bothered of the pile of games that are waiting in line for completion. Sometimes, it affects my enjoyment of playing my current lineup of games. I skipped some secret parts which are difficult to discover or consult the FAQ when a challenge becomes too time-consuming to accomplish. Fez for example, had a lot of beautiful puzzles, but solving them through context clues scattered in separate worlds takes considerable amount of time to figure out so I had to consult some guides to solve it. I’m quite torn with this, because you shouldn’t care that much on how long you play a game if you totally enjoy it, but I always say that there’s a vast sea of great games waiting to be played, and as a gamer and game developer. I even check the site How Long To Beat just to have a rough idea of how much time I will consume on the next game that I will play. Again, this is just me, if you really enjoy staying on a single game, then by all means do it. Don’t compromise with what you enjoy. 😀
There’s a TON of Free Games
Who doesn’t want free goods, let alone free games? I observe that this is not just the era of bundles and sales, it’s also the era of FREE games. This is not limited to indie games, but also to old AAA titles. EA Origins have started their On The House section that gives one free game each month. They also gave the complete Sims 2 game and expansions for free. Other gaming platforms like GOG and Steam are doing the same. All of this also stack up to the pile of shame, and even if it’s free, it’s far from something to be ignored. Fallout, Dead Space, and Left 4 Dead 2 are just some of the titles that were distributed free of charge. All you have to do is monitor the corresponding sites to keep yourself updated with the latest deals. I’m actually putting them in higher priority above some of my purchased games. On top of that, mobile games have spewed more and more free to play games that will take a lifetime to try it all. If you’re not very particular with games and all you’re aiming for is to keep yourself entertained, then you can get that without spending a single penny.
I wrote this just to give readers something to ponder on. I share the enjoyment of availing the discounted games, and it’s a lot of fun when you’ve played one that you know is far more valuable than what you paid for. Just remember though, your money is well spent if you actually enjoyed what you bought. I believe the game industry doesn’t just rely on monetary support. It’s the continued patronage of gamers that moves the industry to continuously evolve, as new hardware are developed, new concepts are explored, and new realms are created. In the end, I hope you guys buy the games that you will really have fun and at least get your money’s worth. If you do, it doesn’t hurt to write to the developer on how much you love the game. Seriously, the developers appreciate that. Until then, happy gaming! (~^_^)~