Posted by DrSwank (442 posts) 1 year, 1 month ago

Poll: How have your game buying habits changed? (60 votes)

My game buying habits haven't changed. 20%
My game buying habits have been most affected by increased sales competition in the market (e.g. Steam sales) 62%
My game buying habits have been most afffected by large back catalogue of unplayed great games. 17%
My game buying habits have been skewed toward Free-to-play titles first. 2%
My game buying habits have most been affected by iOS and Android platforms and prices thereof. 0%

Before answering, please consider the following:

1. How likely are you interested in buying full priced games vs 3-5 years ago?

2. If you're buying a new console, are you eager to buy brand new full priced games?

3. How has Youtube and Twitch affected your buying habits?

I'm off work today, and I'm just curious to know how other people are experiencing the games industry in terms of changed habits, the state of pricing in the video game industry and how expectations have changed as a result. As the industry becomes more saturated, both by developers, publishers, publishing platforms, and indie development, how has consumer satisfaction changed as a result?

#1 Posted by DrSwank (442 posts) -

If you don't mind being quoted in a GB blog I'm writing, please comment below.

#2 Posted by AlexW00d (6302 posts) -

1. More likely cause I have disposable income now.

2. I dunno, I only bought my own console once, and with PC it kinda doesn't count.

3. It hasn't.

I buy so many games I will knowingly never play though, so I guess that's a thing.

#3 Posted by I_Stay_Puft (3551 posts) -

I've probably gone more PC and been waiting for the steam deals. Recently grabbed Ghost Recon Future Soldier for $4.99 on Amazon Digital Download. Cheap Shark has definitely been a lifesaver, thanks to Alexis for mentioning it on one of the Unprofessional Fridays.

#4 Edited by Brodehouse (10066 posts) -

I've gone almost full PC, and because I was saving money for college since January, I've lived like a monk when it comes to my spending habits over the last 9 months. It finally seems like I can stop worrying about that briefly.

If I'm going to buy a game full price, it's because I want to be a part of the conversation/discovery process of that game. Or that I need to see how the game plays out first hand rather than hearing it from others. I bought BioShock Infinite new even though I wasn't the biggest fan of the original because I wanted to be a part of the conversation. I bought Injustice because I wanted to be trying out dudes and playing the online at the same time as everyone else. In some ways it mirrors the 'opening weekend' of a big movie, you don't go because it's the cheapest or best way to see the movie, you go because you want to react to it along with everyone else. You want to discuss it then, not nine months from now.

For every other game, my life becoming more hectic has made it so it's not even price that's the major decision on purchases; it's time. Will I invest the 8-12 or 20 or 30 hours to finish this game? More and more the answer is 'probably not', and when I arrive at that answer I get way tighter with the pursestrings. Everyone gets the Steam problem of an endless backlog that they eventually give up on, which is essentially money they never should have spent. It doesn't matter if it was 90% off if you play 0% of the game.


1. I'm more likely to buy some new and less likely to buy others. My purchase requires that the game have some kind of cultural critical mass that I want to be involved in.

2. No, that's actually something that's making me second guess my upcoming purchase. I'll get Watch Dogs with my machine for the same reason outlined in 1, I want to be part of the crowd that first reacts to the new machines. But I don't know if that'll keep up.

3. Twitch, mainly VGCW, is going to make me purchase a copy of WWE2K14. I haven't bought a wrestling game new since I was 10 years old and No Mercy came out. But I love watching VGCW. That's a sale made.

And yeah go ahead quote me.

#5 Edited by DrSwank (442 posts) -

@i_stay_puft said:

I've probably gone more PC and been waiting for the steam deals. Recently grabbed Ghost Recon Future Soldier for $4.99 on Amazon Digital Download. Cheap Shark has definitely been a lifesaver, thanks to Alexis for mentioning it on one of the Unprofessional Fridays.

Woah! That CheapShark site is amazing!

#6 Posted by EXTomar (4831 posts) -

Yes, since I started to get heavily into MMOs and other persistent games my spending has actually gone down a lot.

#7 Edited by Zeik (2535 posts) -

It has changed somewhat as I've gotten older and I have more disposable income and my game interests have widened, but as far as buying full priced games vs waiting nothing has really changed. If I really want to play a game I will want to play it as soon as possible and thus will buy it as soon as it is available. (Assuming I can afford to.) If not, I wait. That's pretty much the same thing I've been doing since I first started paying for my own games as a kid.

I have still never bought a new console at launch.

#8 Posted by Verendus (348 posts) -

1. How likely are you interested in buying full priced games vs 3-5 years ago? Well, I've been working for 3 years now, so I have more money to buy games, but I don't think it hasn't changed anything. I buy about 3-5 games on release day in year. Most of them are something I spend a lot of time with, so I don't see a reason to buy a new game every month. (700 hours spent in Battlefield 3 for example)

2. If you're buying a new console, are you eager to buy brand new full priced games? This goes with earlier answer, I'll buy the console at launch and BF4 with it. By the time I'll be looking for new game to play most of "early" release gems are cheap already. Or who knows, maybe XV is out by then.

3. How has Youtube and Twitch affected your buying habits? Only gaming related thing I use youtube for is review for older JRPG games this gen I hadn't heard of. I don't watch "Let's play videos" or "Streams" because I honestly couldn't care less about watching other people play video games.

#9 Posted by hermes (1533 posts) -

1. More likely. Job stability and online sales made me pirate a lot less... So, there is that.

2. Probably, but I won't buy a new console until later on in the life cycle. Launch windows tend to get lots of crappy games because of the new market, and a lot of hardware and services details left unanswered.

3. In no way at all. I could name several sites that have affected purchases from me, more than youtube.

#10 Edited by kerse (2116 posts) -

I feel like it hasn't changed all that much for me, I'll buy games that I know I'll like for full price and wait on a sale for stuff I'm not sure about. That's pretty much how I've always bought games.

Buying a console, I'd say I'm not eager at all to pay full price for a game right away mainly because its a lot of money with just the console already, luckily there's rarely anything on a new console line up that I actually want to buy so its usually only one game.

I'm not really sure how Youtube or Twitch would affect game buying habits.

#11 Edited by believer258 (11979 posts) -

When I was a wee lad and my only source of income was the meager fiver that my dad occasionally felt inclined to throw me after a day of slave labor*, I only bought one game at $20 occasionally and it was often used.

When I was a teenager, I got a job at the local Subway and that one game per few months became one or two games every month.

Now that I'm almost done with college and I'm back to working in that IT department and I have a respectable computer good enough to play games from all those delicious Steam sales, I... am back to getting one game every few months.

OK, so the rate is higher than that, but I've only finished a small percentage of the five dollar bundles that have built up to a library of over a hundred in a little more than a year now, and that's just PC games. I find myself ignoring that "whim" that comes along when I want to buy something and instead dwell on it for a bit, and I often end up just not buying something at all. Right now I'm considering GTA V or Etrian Odyssey Untold, and not both, which is saying something.

*In reality, my dad gave me about ten dollars for mowing the lawn every other Saturday when he could, and I spent it quite irresponsibly on sodas or something whenever I had to go riding around with them. I could have had a game per month, but I was dumb.

EDIT: Oh darn. I missed those three points

1) I haven't bought a full priced game but, as mentioned above, the lack of completed games may mean that I start going back to 1 or 2 games per month. That should be crazy talk, but it ain't.

2) If I'm already spending $400, then yeah I'm going to have the extra $200 or so set aside for a few brand new games.

3) Before I buy practically any new game, even one that's on a Steam sale for insanely cheap, I look up a few gameplay videos on Youtube. I want to have an idea of what I'm stepping into, and Youtube has me covered on learning something about how game mechanics work, how the game looks, how it sounds, how well it's written, etc.

#12 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

I never had a credit card, so I've missed out on Steam sales (luckily). Since I have PS+, I know the woes of flippin' sales. Some deals are just too good to refuse. I'm drowning in games. Very likely I've bought a ton of games I'll never get around to play in a meaningful way.

Sales suck so much! I love you PS+! I'm torn... *sigh*

#13 Posted by Brenderous (1105 posts) -

I would say one's game buying habits would depend more on their financial situation than any of the choices listed.

#14 Posted by Veektarius (4920 posts) -

The largest change in my buying habits (in what time period? I'm going to arbitrarily say the last year) is the shift to digital purchases on consoles. Previously, digital purchases had been limited to the PC. The only boxed copy I bought this year was Madden 25, and that was for the stuff that didn't come in the box.

#15 Posted by Kidavenger (3581 posts) -

1. How likely are you interested in buying full priced games vs 3-5 years ago?

It hasn't really changed, I probably buy just as many full priced games as I always have 3-4 a year, in fact I'm way past that already this year (DmC, The Cave, Tomb Raider, Ni No Kuni, Heart of the Swarm, Soul Sacrifice, Last of Us, Saint's Row 4, and I'll not be waiting to get Beyond Two Souls, Tearaway, Grand Turismo 6, The Wolf Among Us or Walking Dead 2, GTA5 if it makes it's way to PC this year). I'm just buying a lot more games now because of the sales.

2. If you're buying a new console, are you eager to buy brand new full priced games?

Probably won't change, I'll still buy the same games for full price, I'll just be buying less games that would have been on sale otherwise.

3. How has Youtube and Twitch affected your buying habits?

No effect, I don't watch much videogame stuff on Youtube and I don't use Twitch other than the Giantbomb livestreams.

#16 Edited by Missacre (566 posts) -

I have a hell of a lot more money now than I used to when I was younger, so I can buy games left and right, at full price, if I really wanted to.

#17 Posted by Corvak (1118 posts) -

The biggest development in the last few years is of course, on PC. Steam kinda broke away from its roots as Valve's distribution network, and became the de-facto platform for PC gaming.

But this is relevant to buying habits for two reasons. Steam Sales, and Steam Resellers - two ways Valve has responded to the two major criticisms of it's service.


Steam was of course criticized as there was in effect, no used market, something that remains a big part of console gaming. Valve's answer has of course been the Steam Sale. Discounts 4-6 months after release for most games have essentially given us the same 25% savings from buying used, but the publisher and developer still get their fair share. In the end, most of us don't care who gets the money, we just want our 25% off.

Steam sales were only part of it - As time went on, Steam became more and more popular. Broadband internet became standard in urban areas. Gaming PCs become cheaper and easier to build. Consoles are falling behind PCs when it comes to performance. There are many reasons for it, but Steam has picked up a ton of new users in the last five years. Game sales also eat away at the higher price of a gaming PC over a console - It costs a few hundred more, but paying over $20 less per game by waiting for a sale adds up over time.


Steam's other criticism, is that as it grew, it was essentially exerting a monopoly over the PC gaming market, getting over 60% of the market share when it came to digital releases. Which was interesting, because Valve never had anywhere near the power that any console maker has over their market. This was brought to a head when Valve essentially forced developers to sell their DLC through Steam. Valve's move may have seemed a way to exert more control, but in practice, it standardized the process, resulted in more consistent DLC releases on PC, and more sales as a result. EA left the service over it, yet they were the biggest offender when it came to obnoxious DLC purchasing problems (looking at you, Bioware. Ugh.)

We like Steam for being a "one stop shop". A full community front end for our PC gaming that didn't involve a complex web of logging into any number of publisher specific account managers or DRM schemes.

Valve's answer to the monopoly was reselling. Valve will sell bulk game codes to resellers at a significant discount - the resellers can then undercut Valve's own pricing. The games then activate on Steam, and we (buyers) get what we want. Competitive pricing, and all of our games in one easy to organize account. It is usually worth shopping around - more often than not the resellers will offer a better deal than Steam itself.

Most of us don't love Steam out of some kind of brand loyal zeal, it's a combination of the fact that we tend to get a quality service, and we remember what it was like years ago - owning five things on Steam, six things on Direct2Drive, and a couple things on Impulse - the sheer logistics involved in managing all those accounts was a chore in itself.

The result of Steam's rise to power is that PC has the only platform that allows competition to occur. Resellers compete to offer the lowest price for steam codes. Valve gets a smaller cut, but still makes money from every game sold.

#18 Posted by wemibelec90 (1737 posts) -

I have plenty of disposable income, but I'm trying to only buy games I'm going to play immediately and can't wait for a sale on. My backlog is pretty large, so I'm trying to prioritize finishing that stuff first. If a game comes out I must play, I'll pick it up day one but I'm waiting on stuff like Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Rayman Legends in favor of older stuff.

#19 Edited by falserelic (5461 posts) -

I might buy a used game play and beat it, then go back to gamestop refund it and buy something else.

#20 Posted by 49th (2783 posts) -

I rarely buy new games any more and prefer to wait for a steam sale whereas before I would preorder or go to a store to buy games.

#21 Posted by RonGalaxy (3218 posts) -

I just buy games when I feel like playing said games.

#22 Edited by Slag (4603 posts) -

Steam Sales and such have led to a massive backlog for me so I guess answers 2 and 3

re: your considerations

1.90% Less- I have a huge backlog, games drop in price rapidly, games also tend to release versions that include the DLC later, and Games often ship busted. DOn't care for multiplayer much other than a few select titles. Many games' multiplayer feels tacked on and bad.

i.e Why pay 60 dollars now , when I can get the whole game with all the DLC and no bugs for 10-20 in 6 months - 2 years later?

2.not very

3. not really other than picking up a few DOTA 2/Starcraft 2 techniques. Giant Bomb Quick Looks have actually encouraged me to buy more/differently than I otherwise would have, especially indie games i would have never given a chance to.

#23 Posted by ConfusedOwl (952 posts) -

I'm more likely to buy a brand new full priced game now more than ever because I have a bit more money to spend but that's still only a game a month unless I buy them off steam on sale (I dislike buying 60 dollar games on steam but if it's something I really want I will make the plunge).

Streaming and youtube have done nothing to my habits because the only games I'm interested in watching playthrough's of are really shitty games because they have a bigger potential for laughs.

#24 Posted by Dalai (7040 posts) -

I do look for deals more often or hold out on buying certain games just to wait for a price drop. The only games I buy at the full $60 price anymore are games I really want on day one or Nintendo games I want because Nintendo hates dropping game prices.

Looking at this year, Bioshock Infinite was the only AAA title I bought at regular price. The rest were either small, indie games or on sale.

#25 Posted by djou (877 posts) -

I picked 3, but its not only a large back catalog of games (which is over 150+ now) but the fact that I'm a grown ass man with more responsibilities and a life outside of video games. When I was 12 I had plenty of time to sit around grinding through jrpgs, but a game has to be something special combined with an opening in my schedule for me to play a game for 60+ hours. This is the main reason I never bought a game like Ni No Kuni despite the fact that a younger version of me would be lusting over a game of that type.

I also have greater disposable income so I can buy pretty much anything I want. When I was in college I bought Halo 2 and played the hell out of it because I was a poor college student, now I pick up games on a whim and let them fester in my Steam account.

#26 Posted by Ben_H (3377 posts) -

I went from buying one or two expensive games every few months to buying a lot of super cheap games quite frequently and spending less money overall while doing that.

#27 Posted by Weatherall (6 posts) -

For me it's the rise of indie games at lower price points that offer new or at least a wider range of experiences compared to AAA titles, combined with Steam sales, all of which often results in me having a solid backlog of games to play. Plus having less time due to work etc. compared to my gaming habits as a kid and at university.

The only problem is sometimes I'd like to take part in the conversation around a major new release, e.g. Saints Row IV, but finding the price so high in comparison to indie titles actively puts me off, so I find myself thinking with my wallet and only buying a major game if I am really compelled to do so. So I often miss out on the social side of big new games, playing them later after a price cut. I'm a grumpy old gamer now. You kids and all your damn *talking*.