Got The Time, But Not The Money: The Perils of Gaming as a Hobby

You know what sucks? The thing that really drives me nuts?

When the gaming industry wants to drop four games in one month while I'm in the middle of doing some major work that is going to keep me from buying those games.

In particular, I'm working on doing some restoration work to my 1991 Mustang - about $1200 work of work. In the meantime, the gaming industry has decided that January and February have turned around from being the "dumping ground for shitty games" into "the timeframe we release games that will be pretty damn awesome and we just couldn't quite squeeze them into the holidays".

Fuck you, gaming industry, for making this difficult. I love gaming, but I love my car more. This means that you have forced my hand. The only two games that I will be purchasing this month are Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and SSX. I will not be dumping money out for The Darkness II and Syndicate after all, as that is essentially the cost of my A/C compressor, and I don't feel like throwing that much out on games that I know will be $20 cheaper in two months.

That's part of the problem with game buying now, isn't it? You go to the store to pick that shiny new copy up on day one, and then you get that sinking in your heart a couple of months later when it's $20 cheaper. Luckily, I've got this lovely little system in my brain where I can tell if a game is going to hit that lower price bracket soon. Want the secret? Here you go...

1. Is it published by EA? If the answer is yes and the game doesn't sell a million out of the gate, then expect it to be $40 within two months.

2. Is it published by Activision? If the answer is yes and it is not Call of Duty, then expect it to be $40 within two months.

3. Is it a game that you've seen a lot of advertisement for but not a lot of people talking about on forums? If the answer is yes, expect it to be $40 within two months.

4. Is it critically panned? Two months, if not shorter...

Given that three of the four games I want happen to be from EA, I feel like I'm in luck. Nonetheless, I already have my pre-orders (yeah yeah, I know, I hate them too) for KoA and SSX.

What about you guys? Which games this month are you picking up, if any? Are you going to be waiting around for some to get cheaper?

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Posted by jakob187

You know what sucks? The thing that really drives me nuts?

When the gaming industry wants to drop four games in one month while I'm in the middle of doing some major work that is going to keep me from buying those games.

In particular, I'm working on doing some restoration work to my 1991 Mustang - about $1200 work of work. In the meantime, the gaming industry has decided that January and February have turned around from being the "dumping ground for shitty games" into "the timeframe we release games that will be pretty damn awesome and we just couldn't quite squeeze them into the holidays".

Fuck you, gaming industry, for making this difficult. I love gaming, but I love my car more. This means that you have forced my hand. The only two games that I will be purchasing this month are Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and SSX. I will not be dumping money out for The Darkness II and Syndicate after all, as that is essentially the cost of my A/C compressor, and I don't feel like throwing that much out on games that I know will be $20 cheaper in two months.

That's part of the problem with game buying now, isn't it? You go to the store to pick that shiny new copy up on day one, and then you get that sinking in your heart a couple of months later when it's $20 cheaper. Luckily, I've got this lovely little system in my brain where I can tell if a game is going to hit that lower price bracket soon. Want the secret? Here you go...

1. Is it published by EA? If the answer is yes and the game doesn't sell a million out of the gate, then expect it to be $40 within two months.

2. Is it published by Activision? If the answer is yes and it is not Call of Duty, then expect it to be $40 within two months.

3. Is it a game that you've seen a lot of advertisement for but not a lot of people talking about on forums? If the answer is yes, expect it to be $40 within two months.

4. Is it critically panned? Two months, if not shorter...

Given that three of the four games I want happen to be from EA, I feel like I'm in luck. Nonetheless, I already have my pre-orders (yeah yeah, I know, I hate them too) for KoA and SSX.

What about you guys? Which games this month are you picking up, if any? Are you going to be waiting around for some to get cheaper?

Posted by ConfusedOwl

I'm only picking up one game this month and that will be Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning. Not getting any games in March but I will be picking up Xenoblade in April and Dragons Dogma in May. Hopefully after that I will be able to relax a little and not worry about any other releases for a while.

Posted by believer258

Can't you just, I dunno, pick them up later? Like after your finances have recovered from fixing up your car? I mean, the beginning and end of the year seem pretty full already but the summer's wide open as far as I know.

I ask this because it seemed like you have this attitude of having to play them at or near release, at least in the beginning of the article.

I myself have the opposite problem. I can get the money to buy the games I want, but I can't really find the time what with college and all.

Posted by jakob187

@believer258: I will definitely pick up Syndicate and Darkness II when they get cheaper, but the problem is that I play a LOT of games. In turn, if I don't play the game pretty close to when it comes out, there is a strong chance that I will not end up playing the game at all.

The main point was that it seems like the gaming industry still hasn't learned how to spread itself out. Like you said, the summer is WIDE OPEN! There's no reason for that. Besides Max Payne 3, what else will anyone be buying? This means that game companies could give the developers an extra month or so to polish their games, work on features, etc...and then ship in the summer when people have tons of time available.

I just hate it when I want to play a game so fucking bad like I do with all four of these games...and I have to fucking wait.

Posted by Rattle618

You have a lot of options to get around this and not all of them are illegal.

Posted by CornBREDX

Most games this year I'll probably be waiting and getting later. There is only a few I will buy week of release.

Edited by Moztacular

Considering a new video game costs $60 and you mention in your own post that you're doing $1200 worth of work on your car, shouldn't you title this post "the perils of car tuning/maintenance as a hobby" ? As a working adult, video gaming is one of the cheaper hobbies to have compared to people who drop hundreds or thousands of dollars on hobbies like cars, guns, paintballing, traveling, etc. Of course if you don't consider your car a hobby then nevermind.

Posted by phish09

I've got the money, but not the time. That's generally the trade off. If, instead of spending your spare time fixing up your mustang and went out and got a second job instead this really would be a non-issue for you. If you've got time to play four new games, including a 100+ hour game like Reckoning, in one month on top of restoring a Mustang, you've got plenty of time to go deliver some pizza or clean some offices in the evenings.

I wish I had the time for a game like Reckoning, but I'm barely through any of the guild missions in Skyrim as it is, and with ME3 coming out in March, it just isn't going to happen. I'll still probably pick up SSX at the end of the month just because it seems like a good pick-up-and-play game that I can fit in wherever. Also, no games drop in price faster than Ubisoft games. That's truth. You never have to wait more than a month to buy an Assassins Creed game for less than half of the original price. Picked my AC: R up for $20 at the end of December...and I don't have god damn time to play it. EA Sports games do tend to hold their value very well though...shit I remember buying Skate over 6 months after it came out and still paying full price. Reckoning will drop in price fast though, so I'd hold out for that until later on.

Posted by nail1080

@jakob187 said:

, if I don't play the game pretty close to when it comes out, there is a strong chance that I will not end up playing the game at all.

Nothing to see here folks, this guy is either insane or doesn't actually like games, he just wants to buy into hype.

Posted by Jimbo

@nail1080 said:

@jakob187 said:

, if I don't play the game pretty close to when it comes out, there is a strong chance that I will not end up playing the game at all.

Nothing to see here folks, this guy is either insane or doesn't actually like games, he just wants to buy into hype.

Nah, there's definitely something to be said for playing games at or close to release, especially if you consider discussing gaming to be as much a part of the hobby as gaming itself. You don't get that sense of shared experience or involvement if you're playing something 6 months after everybody else has stopped talking about it.

Posted by nail1080

@Jimbo said:

@nail1080 said:

@jakob187 said:

, if I don't play the game pretty close to when it comes out, there is a strong chance that I will not end up playing the game at all.

Nothing to see here folks, this guy is either insane or doesn't actually like games, he just wants to buy into hype.

Nah, there's definitely something to be said for playing games at or close to release, especially if you consider discussing gaming to be as much a part of the hobby as gaming itself. You don't get that sense of shared experience or involvement if you're playing something 6 months after everybody else has stopped talking about it.

Don't really know what you mean, a game is a game and it's generally cheaper if you wait a few months after release. There will always be someone to talk to about the game, your point is a feeble one.

Posted by MideonNViscera

Gaming is like half price if you trade in your games.

Posted by IkariNoTekken

I've got neither the time nor the money to be buying a ton of new titles. Like yourself I've got other things to spend my hard earned on.

On top of that I've already got a huge backlog so I'd rather work through some of that (slowly) than add something new to the stack. I've pre-ordered the Max Payne 3 SE though, as I'm a big fan of the series and the footage shown thus far has me excited for what Rockstar will do with the game. Heres hoping I can blast through some of my backlog games before May comes around.

Posted by wefwefasdf

I've made a decision, that except for Halo 4 and Heart of the Swarm, I'm not buying any game for for more than $40. I feel your pain,

Posted by Zidd

Its not like the games are going to stop working if you don't beat them by an expiration date. buy those games later when there is a steam sale or amazon B2G1 deal. Those happen frequently enough that this shouldn't be a big deal.

Posted by upwarDBound

I guess I don't get that hyped for games. It's no problem for me to wait. If I absolutely must have a game I buy it right away, though that's very rare nowadays.

Posted by Fallen189

Buy the games, then trade them in, and you're fine

Posted by Jimbo

@nail1080 said:

@Jimbo said:

@nail1080 said:

@jakob187 said:

, if I don't play the game pretty close to when it comes out, there is a strong chance that I will not end up playing the game at all.

Nothing to see here folks, this guy is either insane or doesn't actually like games, he just wants to buy into hype.

Nah, there's definitely something to be said for playing games at or close to release, especially if you consider discussing gaming to be as much a part of the hobby as gaming itself. You don't get that sense of shared experience or involvement if you're playing something 6 months after everybody else has stopped talking about it.

Don't really know what you mean, a game is a game and it's generally cheaper if you wait a few months after release. There will always be someone to talk to about the game, your point is a feeble one.

That's ok; me and my feeble point will be over here with the OP, game sales curves, TV viewing figures, box office receipts, economics, psychology, sociology etc. on the side of the argument that says a lot of people will go out of their way and/or pay for the privilege of experiencing things while they're still new. You know, when everybody else is experiencing and discussing them. You and your sass can be over there on the side which bears no relation to reality at all.

Posted by blueinferno

Money's pretty tight for me right now, so I'm going with one new release a month for a while.

Edited by jakob187

@nail1080 said:

@jakob187 said:

, if I don't play the game pretty close to when it comes out, there is a strong chance that I will not end up playing the game at all.

Nothing to see here folks, this guy is either insane or doesn't actually like games, he just wants to buy into hype.

Hey! It's nail, everyone's favorite troll. I'd say I'm surprised by your comment, but it looks like every other one I ever see you post up! = D

Also, I think I should point out that I work at a gaming center. I pull my 40+ hours a week like everyone else. I just happen to work at a place where I can play quite often as well as hang out with my friends.

As for the restorations on my Mustang, I bought the car with the purpose of fixing it up. As some know, I was unemployed for a short time, and that small amount of time was unfortunately a crucial point where some of these "restorations" are necessary upkeep and repair: new tires due to wear, new shocks and struts, and body work as well as a new paint job. It just so happens that all this has to be taking place right at the same time that I'm going to be getting all of this done.

Posted by Brackynews

Pretty rare that I buy or finish retail games on their release date. I have a list just to keep track... If I could remember everything it'd probably still be under 50 titles, out of maybe... 600 games I've actually owned a copy of in my lifetime? That's a pretty rough estimate and now it's going to bug me...

I think Steam is retraining us that waiting for sales is ok, and like Jakob says, the patterns for retail (and moreso downloadable) price drops are pretty solid. Once in a while you get an anomaly darling like Infinite Space that has a short production run and gets rare. Otherwise I know very well what a Rockstar game will cost at the time I'm ready to dive into it.

Good games certainly can become difficult to obtain, but it's all relative to when you want to play it. You could not buy a legitimate copy of System Shock 2 from any download service today, but I know for a fact my local game shoppe has 2 sealed copies in their PC cabinet. The black market argument doesn't stand up too well here. Usenet and torrents are also time-sensitive and popularity-based, and frequently overkill. When you really want to find one particular obscure thing, it's incredible how difficult and convoluted the internet makes it. And shady. So shady. Like was said on a recent bombcast, buying things on demand has genuine appeal in one's later years. ;) I was fucking ecstatic when Black Tiger came out on VCA.

Posted by amir90

I need more time, not money.

Posted by jakob187

Here's an example of what I mean by "if I don't play them close to their release date..."

I bought El Shaddai, Shadows of the Damned, and Alice: Madness Returns on Black Friday. I plugged each one in to check them out for at least a solid two or three hours. However, right around that time, there were other games that came out which I really wanted to play: Skyrim, Revelations, Battlefield 3, etc etc etc. In turn, I was not capable of dedicating the time I wanted to those games, and now they sit on the shelf collecting dust because I'm going to be putting time into Kingdoms of Amalur, SSX, The Old Republic, Dark Souls, Skyrim, League of Legends, etc.

I'm a gamer, not someone who buys into hype. I do my research on games and know what I want to play. I just happen to also play a lot of games, and some of that comes from when I was reviewing games. I'm just used to finishing something and then moving on in most cases. With the density of games that have been getting released over the last four months, however, it's incredibly difficult to dedicate time to any of them because they are all pretty damn great or something that I want to play.

This month in particular is difficult because it just happens to be the month that I have had planned for getting all this stuff done on my car and dedicating a good chunk of money into something that is a TRUE INVESTMENT. It's not like I'm spending all this at a casino and losing it all. Older Ford Mustangs, and in particular notchback Foxbody Mustangs, are doing nothing but going up in value. There's no reason to not take care of it and treat it nicely. It gets me back and forth to work. I just wasn't expecting that another $240 worth of games I want to play were going to all hit at weekly intervals during the time that this stuff with my car comes up.

Posted by believer258

@jakob187 said:

@believer258: I will definitely pick up Syndicate and Darkness II when they get cheaper, but the problem is that I play a LOT of games. In turn, if I don't play the game pretty close to when it comes out, there is a strong chance that I will not end up playing the game at all.

The main point was that it seems like the gaming industry still hasn't learned how to spread itself out. Like you said, the summer is WIDE OPEN! There's no reason for that. Besides Max Payne 3, what else will anyone be buying? This means that game companies could give the developers an extra month or so to polish their games, work on features, etc...and then ship in the summer when people have tons of time available.

I just hate it when I want to play a game so fucking bad like I do with all four of these games...and I have to fucking wait.

But we need those dry spells to go back and play the things that we missed. If four games that you really want to play all come out on the same day, then no matter how much you play you are going to miss something, especially if something like 4 epic RPG's that you want to play all come out on the same day. I do understand where you're coming from - I play a lot of games as well - but I do make sure to go back and play some games that I didn't get around to when they came out.

That said, even if you do gaming as a job, you'll never get around to fully playing everything that you really want to unless you have a narrow interest in gaming.

And what do you know?

I think I should point out that I work at a gaming center

If so, then I assume you have a lot of friends that are heavy gamers as well? Why couldn't you all agree to buy certain games, and then rotate them out so that everyone gets to play every game and it's cheaper for all involved? Just a suggestion.

Posted by pweidman

I totally get the idea of getting games when they launch for the population on mp especially, and the interactions w/friends and other gamers about the games as they experience them also upon release. A huge part of the fun agreed.

My problem is I buy too many, can't finish enough, and have to go back and catch up due to a busy ass professional life. But the pace at which great games release these days is part of the thrill of this hobby. So many damn amazing experiences for me in the past several years. Disappointments are common too, especially last year, but it hasn't stopped me from, at times, impulsively spending way too much on games and the related hardware too.

Such a great hobby because it is truly my escape from the stress of daily life. Not a problem, in the big picture at all imo, considering the value per dollar with gaming, and I've had many other hobbies that are far more expensive and less rewarding overall.

Posted by BaneFireLord

I was going to get Amalur, but then I played the demo and my interest dropped like a stone. So I guess I'm not getting any games this month.

Posted by JasonR86

The problem of not having money but having too much time, to me, really is a big reason why pirated games are so prevalent. It's unfortunately because I don't think these people intend to hurt creators directly even though, really, they do.

Posted by damnboyadvance

This is why I try to get video games that have a lot of replay value. My gaming collection isn't huge, but all of my games are good enough to rack up tons of time into them. Battlefield 3 cost $60, but the multiplayer is so awesome that it will probably take years for me to get bored with it.

Posted by deathstriker666

I'm not the type of guy that has to buy every game first day. I'll gladly wait a few months to save a couple of dollars. Even then a lot games this year I really am not excited for. I think I'll just go back to playing some more Company of Heroes....

Posted by project343

@jakob187: You know, you don't have to buy all the games. I honestly can't conceive of a person who must play those four drastically different gaming experiences, outside of journalists (or EXTREME enthusiasts).

Regardless, I find myself in the opposite boat. More than enough money to supply my hobby, but very little time to enjoy it. My Steam games list is now at... 205 games, methinks? And I'm making no progress on completing them. Sigh.

Posted by stryker1121

@jakob187 said:

@believer258: I will definitely pick up Syndicate and Darkness II when they get cheaper, but the problem is that I play a LOT of games. In turn, if I don't play the game pretty close to when it comes out, there is a strong chance that I will not end up playing the game at all.

The main point was that it seems like the gaming industry still hasn't learned how to spread itself out. Like you said, the summer is WIDE OPEN! There's no reason for that. Besides Max Payne 3, what else will anyone be buying? This means that game companies could give the developers an extra month or so to polish their games, work on features, etc...and then ship in the summer when people have tons of time available.

I just hate it when I want to play a game so fucking bad like I do with all four of these games...and I have to fucking wait.

What about a rental service or a Red Box?

Posted by The_Hiro_Abides

This topic reminds me I have to buy Atlus games or any niche games pretty much when they come out or it gets ridiculously expensive.

I empathize in that I also planned on the first two months of the year to not have a lot of gaming expenses. I occasionally want to reconsider.

Posted by CJduke

I'm just gonna get Amalur. I would love to pick up SSX, but I don't have the time for it with all the other games from last year I still need to play.

Posted by Hunkulese

Get a better job.

Posted by Little_Socrates

I should not have bought Soul Calibur V. Now the only game I'm going to buy for the rest of this quarter is SSX. Twisted Metal looks cool too, but based on the demo it's not really my thing.

The days where games will stop coming out are nearly over. Soon, even the summer will have more important releases; Summer of Arcade is proof enough that people will want good games all year round.

Posted by tourgen

I'm interested in Syndicate but I'll see how it reviews first and if any friends are interested in the co-op. It looks like it has some style. I just pulled myself through a 3 month Skyrim hole. I'll probably take a little break and mess around with Yakuza 4 and Dead Space 2 on the SP3.

Good luck with the Mustang repairs/restore. They're pretty fun cars all things considered.

Posted by Deadmeat

At least you have one of the two." Having no time or money" - Life as a graduate student. Can't complain though I get more satisfaction than most games. Makes you value each game more, like a kid!

Posted by Felorn

I'm in a similar predicament because I have the money but not the time. I still have games from last fall that I've still yet to even open.

Posted by TheHBK

Thing is that I dont see anything worthwhile coming out this year. Halo 4, I will play because it is usually something fun to play with my friends and the Last of Us looks great, but since that is out later in the year, anticipating a Black Friday deal.

But yeah, I want to play Twisted Metal, Max Payne 3 and Ghost Recon, but I am going to guess those will hardly break the 1 million mark if only because people forgot about them and they don't look that amazing. But they are still games I am sure I will enjoy. Well not sure about Ghost Recon but hey, anything is possible. But yes, I follow this convention on game pricing too. Unless it is Call of Duty, or Gears, then I just wait.

Posted by hermes

I am on the other side. I got the money, but not the time.

That is because I tend to force myself to finish all games I start (or at least, play a big part of it), I have little time available to play games and I am also pretty slow. That means every campaign, short of recent COD games lasts me more than a week, even short ones like Rage and Uncharted 3 lasted me more than a couple weeks. That means even when I could afford three or more games a month, I can finish one or two, at most.

You can always buy games cheaper. The only games that are justified to get as soon as released are: games with a heavy online competitive mode (like Call of Duty, Gears or Battlefield) or games that you really want to experience the campaign and don't want to risk being spoiled on Internet (like Mass Effect 3 or Bioshock Infinite)

Posted by Ravenlight

You forgot #5:

5: Is it on Steam? If so, it will eventually be on sale for 50% off, then 75% off, then it will be $5.
Posted by supermike6

My favourite games I played last year were all from 2010. I'm pretty good at waiting.

Posted by Grilledcheez

I want to tell you to shut up, but I won't because I'm in the same boat...another resource I lack is time with all this college nonsense.

Posted by BlatantNinja23

@Ezakael said:

I'm only picking up one game this month and that will be Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning. Not getting any games in March but I will be picking up Xenoblade in April and Dragons Dogma in May. Hopefully after that I will be able to relax a little and not worry about any other releases for a while.

No ME 3?

But I'll be buying a Vita, whatever games I decide i want with that (lumines is the only one for sure) and then SSX

But games get cheaper for a reason... places like amazon and walmart want to get rid of their stock as soon as possible so they can replace it with another 60 game.

Posted by ConfusedOwl

@BlatantNinja23 said:

@Ezakael said:

I'm only picking up one game this month and that will be Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning. Not getting any games in March but I will be picking up Xenoblade in April and Dragons Dogma in May. Hopefully after that I will be able to relax a little and not worry about any other releases for a while.

No ME 3?

But I'll be buying a Vita, whatever games I decide i want with that (lumines is the only one for sure) and then SSX

But games get cheaper for a reason... places like amazon and walmart want to get rid of their stock as soon as possible so they can replace it with another 60 game.

I have my concerns about ME3. I'm making my decision on if I'm getting it after it's released so I'm hesitant to say I'm getting it for sure.

Posted by LordXavierBritish

I just buy Russian CD keys for $20 a week after release.

Posted by Jeust

I picked up already: 
 

  • Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
  • Heavenly Sword
  • Rage
  • LA Noire
Plus I've received my long delayed SW:TOR copy. So I'm really good.  
 
On topic, I generally wait for the price to drop, unless I really want or need something to get distracted.
Posted by hawkinson76

I have never had this problem. My gaming backlog goes back years, decades even, do I guess it really isn't a backlog because I'll never get to them.

No plans to buy anything this month, I'm still working through games from the 2010 and 2011 steam sales (currently LA Noir, Last Remnant, and Bastion, tons yet to be installed). I probabaly don't need to buy anything for at least a year, but I still get stuff new and full price if I get excited (a new GTA, or a bayonetta sequel would be tempting)

You mention not playing games if it isn't near release, and I guess that is what I find odd. My favorite game of 2011 was fallout3. It was super cheap, and a really enjoyable experience, in no way negatively affected by being 3 years old.

Posted by emkeighcameron

I'm the other way around.

I've got hella bank to throw around, but no time to play any of the games I buy.

:(

Posted by GalacticPunt

I have the disposable income but not the time. Thanks to Steam sales, GOG sales, and getting inundated with "free" games by PSN+, my backlog is getting hopeless. Games keep piling up faster than I can play through them.

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