Weekend Question: Do you buy games for full price?

PCG Jody

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Dec 9, 2019
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I ask the PCG staff a regular Weekend Question and post the answers on the site. If you'd like to throw in an answer here, I'll squeeze the best into the finished article!

This week's question is: Do you buy games for full price?

Have you been spoiled by Game Pass, Steam sales, Epic giveaways, and free-to-play multiplayer games that resemble but are legally distinct from multiplayer games that are not free-to-play? Are you as they say in France le tightwad, or do you still pay the recommended retail price for your videogames like a gosh dang chump? That's right, you're getting insulted either way because we're all losers under capitalism.


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Mostly no, though I recently found myself looking for a new (for me, "new" means "been out long enough to release most of its DLC") game but without a sale to be found! I tried playing an old game from my GOG backlog, but it just wasn't doing the job. I bit the bullet and bought Mercenaries 5 for full price. That's the only time I've paid full price in years.


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Now that I’m a responsible adult and can afford it I do. Resident Evil 8, Cyberpunk 2077, and Red Dead Redemption 2 have been some of the recent full priced $60+ games I’ve snagged. Also a few smaller indie games like Mini Motorways and Dorfromantik.

Sometimes you just don’t want to wait for a sale to play, and if you can afford it, why not?
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I used to in the 90s & 00s, but very rarely recently—it probably coincided with devs stopping the release of playable demos, which made buying games much more of a gamble… especially with the state of many new releases in the last ~5 years.

I paid full price—all $20—for Command & Conquer Remastered last year after the initial player reviews were very positive. I can't think of another full price in the last decade, altho possibly for some small indie title or two.
I did bite the bullet when I bought Cyberpunk 2077 for full price believing it would live up to its hype and being CDPR. We all know how that went... I very seldom buy games at full price, but when I do, it is most of the time an indie game. Often they are sold for a decent full price and it also feels better to support a small company, than a AAA company spewing out generic content, which they often do.
Ages ago, before the Steam age, when we went to the local mall to check out new releases at Game Stop or Electronics Boutique, I would often buy games at full price. But full price for a new AAA game was usually around $39.99 USD.

Nowadays, I'm always on the lookout for sales like most of us are, but I also will buy a game at full price at times, though that usually depends on the game developer. Games from Bethesda (as long as it's single player, no FO76 for me) are usually a full priced purchase. Starfield and the next Elder Scrolls game (if I'm still breathing) definitely fit that scenario. The next Mass Effect & Dragon Age games from Bioware will be full priced purchases also, assuming they don't screw up the single player game and make it some kind of online only atrocity. Games from Piranha Bytes and Larian are also games I have no problem paying full price for, as I love those studios and have no problem helping to support them.

CD Projekt Red used to be in that group of developers, but like Frindis, I got burned on a full price purchase of Cyberpunk 2077. It was too difficult not to buy into all the hype and videos before release, if I could have just waited a few days for some reviews; but I didn't. So while it doesn't label me as "le tightwad" as PCG Jody said, it does say I'm more of "le idiot".
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Mostly I won't pay full price for a AAA game unless its something I'm very excited for, its very rare. I bought Sekiro full price day one, and I'll buy Elden Ring day one no questions asked. I also paid full price for Total War Warhammer 2 because I played hundreds of hours of the first game and I really loved the multiplayer at the time. Crusader kings 3 I played a fair amount of on Gamepass and then bought it full whack because I liked it a lot although I think it was 'only' 50. Other then those I can't remember anything for years.

Games from a lesser known studio or indies, whatever that means now, that are 20 or 30 Euros I'm more likely to get full price. If I buy an indie on sale really cheap and I really enjoy it I'll buy DLC if its available.
I haven't payed full price for a game in at least 10 years unless the original price of that game is around £5.
Pretty much every game I own has been purchased from sales, bundles or give-aways.
Never from those shady key resellers though.

I think it's better to wait a year or two so one would be playing a fully patched/updated version with any DLC that might have been released.


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If you'd ask me a year ago, I would say that it doesn't happen. Things have changed however since the release of Cyberpunk 2077. Now I'm buying games for full price from time to time. It's not easy to do so considering the fact that most of them have a tendency to get on sale very quickly after their initial release. I like however the feeling of playing games as one of the first from the regular gamers group. It's also a form of support for the developers and publishers. A few days ago I grabbed four Star Trek games that were re-released on GOG despite the fact that they were not on sale. We deserve for more classic Star Trek games to be re-released and I hope that players support will convince the owners of the property rights that it's a good thing to do.
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I pretty much have to know that I'm going to play it. If a game is on deep discount, I'll grab it if I have any interest at all, but not for full price. Usually this means the game is a sequel to something I loved. For the rest of this year, for instance, I expect to get Total War Warhammer 3, Farming Simulator 21, Far Cry 6 and Dying Light 2 (it's a huge gaming year for me) as soon as they release because of the amount of time I spent in the previous versions. There are other games releasing that I'm sort of interested in, but I'll wait until they go on pretty decent discounts. Something like Deathloop seems fascinating to me, but I didn't make it that far in Dishonored or Prey because I'm not much into either stealth or shooters, so it would be dumb of me to take a chance on it for $60.
Jun 21, 2021
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I usually wait for the game to be super-cheap (like 75%, 80% discount) before I grab it, but then again the game will be 3-4 years old already. Nowadays I also grab whatever free game Epic gives.
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I keep missing these forum threads, but since I live in Canada, I feel like sale periods feel less like sale periods and more like games being sold at a reasonable price. The only times I paid full price on a game were more to tell Japanese game developers to continue their PC support. I also pre-ordered Kingdom Hearts III for a similar reason and I felt that even with all the bad that's attached to the Epic Games Store, I think they should still be rewarded for using their bribe money to fund PC ports that'd otherwise never exist.
Sep 12, 2021
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I almost just purchased Doom Eternal at full price and I already own that game. However, I own it solely on the Bethesda Launcher, and here in 2021, the Bethesda Launcher still doesn't have cloud saves. I just built a new PC and had to reinstall everything, and I forgot that Bethesda doesn't support cloud saves. So for like the 5th or 6th time since I bought Doom Eternal, I have to restart everything.

I almost just gave up and bought it on Steam but I told myself to just back up the save and if I have to wipe everything and reinstall again, this time I will keep my save. So this might be a little off topic but companies want 100 percent of the profit for their games so they make us play on their own launcher, and even if you buy it on Steam, you still have to play it through their launcher, well in 2021, if you want us to buy and play the games on your own launchers, then you better have all the features that have made Steam so great for so long.

Bethesda not having cloud saves is horrendous and I will never buy a game on that launcher again. In fact if I can avoid anything but Steam, I will. I hate it when companies avoid Steam and make their games exclusive to other launchers. Sorry Valve makes you pay them money to have your game on Steam. Maybe it is because Valve knows what it is doing and Steam is so much better than every launcher out there. Now if only Valve could get their shiznit together and develop Half Life 3 they would be okay in my book.

[Mod edit: added paragraphs.]
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Jan 13, 2020
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I hardly ever pay full price for games. I can probably count the amount of games i've paid full price for on one hand since games have gone from boxed purchases to digital downloads. There's just too many reasons to wait and not enough to purchase right away.

Games are buggier today and I have zero faith that a new release won't be buggy. Waiting allows the game to be patched, maybe a few times.

Developers like to add a lot of DLC nowadays. Some of it adds some value while some of it are garbage cash grabs. However if you wait a year or so you can usually get the complete game including all DLC for a fraction of the original asking price.

And lets be honest, we KNOW the price is going to go down. I don't look at it as much as my waiting for a discount as much as I see it as first day buyers paying an impatience tax. In fact I'll go one further. I feel that publishers charge more for a game in the first month or two knowing that there's a bunch of people out there willing to over pay to get the game now and that the price after 3-4 months is the real standard base price of the game.
Do you buy games for full price? Sometimes.

Have you been spoiled by Game Pass, Steam sales, Epic giveaways? Probably.

Are you as they say in France le tightwad? Oui.

Do you still pay the recommended retail price for your videogames like a gosh dang chump? Rarely.

Over the past... thirty years, I think I've paid "full retail" on a game that was 50-60 bucks, maaaybe... fifteen times. And that's a high estimate. But I'm also including games that I got with a gift card or certificate in there, or that I bought using birthday money or Christmas money when applicable. If I only include games I paid full retail on when there was absolutely no occasion and no "splurge money" deliberately on hand, the number drops to about four or five, almost all of which were back before digital downloads were a thing. (I'm still ambivalent about paying full price for games I don't technically get to keep, and yes, I know floppies, CD's, DVD's, etc. go bad eventually. I realize it's all psychological.)

I think the only game I've paid full retail for in years was Red Dead Redemption 2. And in hindsight I wish I had waited, at least until they were done patching the PC version. Before that? Skyrim. Yep, nine year gap. I might be forgetting something in those nine years, but I don't think so. Everything else (above $40) was discounted, pretty sure. Even Cyberpunk 2077, I waited until I could get a few bucks off (10% discount I think it was.) And with combos, bundles, etc., my backlog is insane. GoG Galaxy 2.0 chokes on my library. Even if I lived to be ninety (which I'm sure I won't, on account of all the gaming), I'll never play through all the games I allegedly intend to, even if I never bought another game between now and then, which won't happen.
There's just too many reasons to wait and not enough to purchase right away.
That's a nice summary of what I usually say in a much more longwinded way!

there's a bunch of people out there willing to over pay to get the game now
That's the same with anything new—in tech, such people are known as 'early adopters', they could be supporters or enthusiasts or impatient or…

if I lived to be ninety (which I'm sure I won't, on account of all the gaming), I'll never play through all the games
Join me at RIP, the Reincarnation Isreal Project.
Only way I'm getting thru my backlog :rolleyes:
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