Do you still buy games at full price?

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May 16, 2021
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The last time I bought a game at full price was when I bought Street Fighter V. This is because fighting games need online competition and you know they have online communities at launch.

But then again, I don't usually go for AAA games.

Other than that, I really don't buy games at full price. At least not at the $60 price range. Everything under maybe $20, I'll consider it. Everything at like $5 and under, I have a strong consideration.
I'm not sure what the last game I bought at full price was. I did recently buy the Tomb King DLC for Warhammer 2 at full price. I had been playing the campaign using my friend's game through family sharing, but my friends decided to gift the base game to me for my birthday. While it was nice to play whenever I wanted, it also meant I had to buy the Tomb King DLC if I wanted to continue my campaign.
I bought C&C Remastered last year for the full $20 the day after release, when the initial player reviews were very positive. I went full because:
1 Superb value—2 full games and 3 large expansions;
2 I wanted to support the remastering of later games in the C&C universes.

I'll only spend that kind of money on my very limited number of top franchises. I bought the last few Far Crys at $15-20, since they don't drop much below that even after a decade, so not much point waiting. I might spring $30 for FC6 in the first big sale if its reception is really good.

I also bought Civ6 complete last year for $40, even after getting vanilla free from Epic Games. Civ improves so much by the 2nd expansion that I felt it was worth it, plus the final patch was out by then and most of the best mods were well tested, and of course a load of paid DLC was included.

Apart from those, I'm definitely in the sub-$5 market during the big sales—I stock my wishlists during the interim so I know what to look at. I can't remember the second-last time I bought full price, maybe a decade ago.
First let me say i know a lot of hard work , time and investment go into the development of a game and they cant be expected to make games completely bug free , example in warframe their is an area where you go fishing and if you go to 1 certain pool the game falls into a green screen loop , unless somebody tells they they wont know about it.

That said , i think some games companies are becoming lazy and expect us to do their work for them , we have alpha , beta , and early access versions of games .

Warframe was classed as under development for about 5 years but credit where its due , unless you replayed all missions wont wont see just how many visual improvements they have made to it.

What really annoys me is when a game is advertised on places like steam as early , at a reduced price because it may crash.

Why should we do their work for them , and for this reason i do not buy any new game until it has been around for about 6 months and even before i purchase something i look at performance comments on steam community forums.
Why should we do their work for them
In simple terms, because there's no possibility they can do it themselves. It's collateral damage from the big advances games have made this century. There are at least trillions of possible hardware and software combos possible—all the companies can do is test maybe 10,000 of the most common variations.

Without betas, games would be far worse at launch.
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Last game I paid full price for was Disco Elysium because I couldnt wait to play it. Previous to that Sekiro because Fromsoft hype, and before that Total War Warhammer 2 because I was playing a lot of the multiplayer in TW-WH1 when it released.

I nearly always buy games on sale for €30 absolute max, if I like them a lot I'll often buy DLC even if I dont think i'll actually play it, particularly if its a smaller developer.
I've never bought a game full price. The last time i did it? I can't remember. Cyberpunk 2077 came pretty close but i was betting that the eventual DLC would all be packaged into one neat package and i snap it up. But we know how that game turned out...

Speaking of DLC that is also my other reason for waiting. Chances are they'll release a GOTY edition or i can snap it all up for a cheap price. But the increased popularity of the season passes and live services are slowly closing a couple of doors. Other games with tons of DLC that don't drop to a price i'm willing to buy i delay indefinitely. case in point the total war series. Atm when i'm ready to purchase, i'll buy the base game and if i like it more, i play one of the other factions (i generally play one faction and then uninstall it). But if some DLC provide QoL updates then i have to wait for them.

My massive game collection means i have to turn my attention to that first before i do anything else. It just increases as i make the occasional purchase here and there.


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Theoretically, I'm willing to do so. (Actually, I'm willing to pay a lot more, but don't tell them that! ;))

Practically, I never do. I just build up my wish list then, when the winter sale comes, I buy half a year's worth of games. In the summer, I buy enough to take me through to Thanksgiving. It just takes a few in Thanksgiving to get to the next winter sale.
I still do occasionally, but it's definitely dropped off since I stopped preordering several years back. Typically when I buy a new game its after some reviews have come out or it's a game I'm fairly certain I'll enjoy like the latest COD.

Funnily enough, I think Nintendo has gotten most of my full price purchases because the greedy SOB's never lower the price on their first party games.
It just reminds me. I doubt i'll ever get Sekiro as its still retails at £50 and it never seems to budge at all in that price atm. The lowest was at £30 which is infuriating. A great game at a terrible price. But maybe that's it; if we keep seeing games on discount, we start to reduce the value of the game as a whole. I mean, if i know that Game A goes on frequent sale at 50% off, what makes you think that i would ever consider forking out for the full price? But never reduce it and i have no choice but to pay full whack to play the game. or find some other site that would get it cheaper. In Sekiro's case, i can wait i have other things to play.
if i know that Game A goes on frequent sale at 50% off, what makes you think that i would ever consider forking out for the full price?
They're not aiming their pricing strategy at you, a customer who's already aware of the game and savvy with your spending. Some typical reasons to regularly drop prices:

Capture the newest batch of customers—which is maybe a million a month turning 18 or just discovering games, or…

Entice people to try a new franchise, and generate later higher-priced sales for others in the series.

Revive interest in games sliding down the sales curve—100 sales @ $20 is better than 10 sales @ $50.

Introduce a new dev company to the market.

Influence the retailer algorithms which pay attention to numbers of sales and reviews—there's an ongoing big battle to get on retailers' front page, bestseller lists, deal of the day etc.


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I get the feeling that, as games age, many of them slide over to a model where they only expect to sell games during a sale. (Apologies to those who have heard me get on this soapbox before, but I like this box!)

Say you've got two $60 games that do pretty well but, as marketing & media move on to other games, and fewer people buy games. Game A responds the way most games did ten years back and drops the price to $30 and advertises a price drop while game Z sticks to the old price. A sells more games then Z for a few weeks and a few more per week over the long term. Then one of the "sale seasons" hits and both games go to $20. Suddenly, Z starts selling way better than A. Why? Because Z is 66% off while A is just 33% off. Even though the actual price is the same, Z is seen as the better deal.

That continues for many years: A sells a little better between sales, Z sells far better in the sales. The publisher can't do much to save A, either. "We're raising the price so we can have bigger sales" would lead to rioting in the streets (or review section - whichever).

So now it's becoming silly to buy games that have been around a while outside of a sale. Publishers are sacrificing between-sale customers for the big sale crowds.

(On the plus side, these themed sales like the "open world" sale going on now and various publisher sales seem to be getting more and more common.)
I have no problem with paying full price if I know the game will be good. That is the big problem though, I just don't know anymore. When I say good, I don't mean good in the sense of me personally thinking the game is "my type of game" but that the game is released as advertised. I see more and more companies abusing our trust, delivering something completely else for easy cash in. Most often this goes for the majority of the AAA games because that is where there is most money to grab.

You'll definitely find it with the indie game also and just a little peek at Indiegogo or Kickstarter and you'll find TONS of games with ugly-looking assets, trying to prove amazing game potentials with a cinematic trailer they probably paid someone else to make. Basically, I don't trust AAA game companies AT ALL right now and I see absolutely no reason to support them by paying full price when all they do is trying to manipulate us by any means possible. Let them prove they can deliver and I'll think about actually investing my money in the future.
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Certain games I have no problem with paying full price, especially if it's a game that I know I'll play multiple times and enjoy. But there aren't that many games that fall into that category for me anymore. Games on my radar that I will pay full price for:

From Bethesda: Starfield & the next Elder Scrolls. Single player, open world, with freedom to be who you want to be, and unlimited exploration. I'm hoping that Starfield fits that same mold, but those are 2 games I plan on getting at full price (whatever year that may be).

From Bioware: Mass Effect 4 & Dragon Age 4. There's a big "Probably" sign on those 2 games for me. A lot depends on the single player aspect of those games, and they don't go that "online only" bs. I don't mind a multiplayer component, but I expect the single player game to be the prime focus.

From Piranha Bytes: Elex 2. I love their somewhat quirky games and how brutal they can be in the beginning. While not yet officially announced, they have been working on a project for several years since the release of Elex. I loved Elex for it's role playing and exploration, and hope to hear something soon (June?) about Elex 2.

A couple of remasters/remakes (I always get those 2 terms confused, so I just list them both) coming out this year: System Shock & Diablo 2, are probably full price purchases. I will probably wait for some reviews though, before buying full price.

My most recent full price game purchase was Cyberpunk 2077, and a pre-order at that. That will be the very last pre-ordered game for me (honest!). I unfortunately bought into the hype and promo videos, which unfortunately as we all know, didn't really reflect the state of CP2077. It may eventually be a good to great game, but it's way down on my play list, probably not until next year.

The other fairly recent full priced purchase was Baldur's Gate 3, and while that was (and still is) an early access game, but I have confidence that it will be great. It may not be my personal vision of what BG3 should be, as there are some design decisions I personally don't agree with, I know it will be a great D&D RPG. I have no problem supporting Larian Studios with full price, even though the games not finished. The games industry needs more creative directors with the passion of Swen Vincke.

Other games I usually put on my wish list and follow on Steam, whether they are released or still in development (current wish list is 71), waiting for a sale, watching the reviews and discussions. Some I may never even puchase, but it's nice to have a list of games that I'm interested in.
one of the "sale seasons" hits and both games go to $20. Suddenly, Z starts selling way better than A. Why? Because Z is 66% off while A is just 33% off
I've been in the online selling space for a couple of decades. What I would do in your scenario is drop Game A to $15 and $10 in successive sale events. Non-deceptive marketing is all about testing, testing, testing. No product should stay at the same price for years, without testing others during sale and non-sale periods.
full price if I know the game will be good. That is the big problem though, I just don't know anymore
Yep, that's the killer. If there was a catalyst to make me stop buying full price ~a decade ago, it was when companies stopped providing gameplay demos. Perhaps in-game tutorials could be split off as separate demos.

I suspect however that demos were affecting launch day sales, the follow-on from which can have a huge impact on sales numbers.


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All the time. Most recently RE Village. Some games I want to experience before it gets spoiled for me, others I just know I want to play as soon as possible.

On the flip side, if I didn’t purchase a game at release it’s rare I will buy it at full price. Sales are so frequent that I have enough patience (and a large enough backlog) that waiting for a sale isn’t a big deal.

Fortunately I’m at a stage in my life that if I want something I’ll spend the money on it, but understand that not everyone has that luxury.
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