Hi everyone! This is a bit of a long post about my thoughts on next gen games, and how they’re changing things for me. I'd love it if you had a read and maybe we can have a discussion below.
I was one of the lucky folks to land a PS5 on launch day. This is the first time I've ever got a console on release day, and honestly I'm really excited about it; messing around with the new technology in the controller; seeing the load times in Miles Morales; and of course Ray Tracing (oh my goodness you guys the Ray Tracing). They’ve all left me really happy with my decision to adopt early.
One thing I'm not a huge fan of however, are the "Next Gen Prices". I've been a gamer since I was a kid, so I've watched the prices rise throughout the years to this all time high. £70 for a game is not cheap, and it's causing me to rethink my buying in a way I don't think Sony or Microsoft would expect.
You might or might not agree with me on this, but the new prices have taken games out of the "Yeah, I'll just buy it" zone. On PS4, if a new game came out and I thought I was interested, I was happy enough to buy it at full price. Often I wouldn't even play if for that long, but it didn't seem too big of a deal to me. Now though, that is changing.
When I first bought my PS4, I think I picked up three games with it. I played each of them for a while, maybe completed one of them, got bored of the others, then looked at what else I could buy. With the PS5, I bought a single game: Spider-Man: Miles Morales. This is the edition that comes with the Spider-Man Remaster too. After spending £450 on the console alone, I just couldn't bring myself to spend the money on more than one game. So, naturally, I bought the one that comes with two games!
As I'm writing this, I've finished the story of Miles Morales. On the PS4, I'd be racing through the story so that I could move on to the next game. Here, I took my time, doing side content, not wanting the game to end. Now that it has, I'll keep playing, finishing off the side quests and collectibles. Who knows, maybe I'll get my first platinum trophy for 100% completion? This is leading me to appreciate the game a lot, lot more.
It's also pushing me to think about going mainly physical this generation. With previous gens I bought mostly digital, for convenience. Now though, not only does the price seem too high to not hold something in my hands, I also don't want to take the risk of spending £70, not liking the game, and then not being able to trade it in. It's also likely that I could find a physical version cheaper if they are like last generation. This could mean I buy less games; I used to impulse buy during digital sales. But now I’m not so sure; even if a digital sale puts a game from £70 to £50, that's still not impulse buy pricing for me.
I find this really interesting because with this generation in particular the big companies are pushing more for digital sales. We know it's cheaper for them, they don't have to spend money producing disks and boxes, they don't have to share any profits with retail stores, and they make sure everyone HAS to buy directly from them including removing the option to buy pre-owned.. Sony and Microsoft have both released a console this generation with no disk drive. And yet, their decisions are making me lean towards physical games more than I ever have before.
As a side note, buying Miles Morales physically has been a good experience. It has an awesome reversible cover that I WANT to display in my house. I can see why collectors do it. Again, an indication that I'm appreciating the game more, rather than it simply being one amongst many.
The final thing that I wanted to talk about is that all this is bringing a child-like feeling back to gaming for me. Over the PS4 lifetime I got to a place where I could fund my gaming hobby without too much worry. If I wanted a game I could have it. As a kid on the PS2 or Xbox 360 I would play the same game over and over, getting every little bit of joy from it, because I was limited financially on what I had access to.
I'd look at new games and think "I want that, maybe at Christmas or a birthday"; I'd read articles on the games I was looking forward to, and my excitement would build for them. I'm almost getting that same feeling now. I'd quite like to pick up Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Demons Souls, but I think I'm going to wait until Christmas because of the price. So, I've been watching videos, seeing how cool they look, imagining how fun they'll be – how much Demons Souls will make me rage!. I'm looking forward to a new game, but it also feels like picking up each one will become more special, more of an occasion.
Who knows what will happen with meeting family this year over the holidays, but if I get Assassin's Creed (or Cyberpunk if there are no more delays!) on Christmas Day and play it for a few hours around all the other traditions that's something I'm already looking forward to. It's that child-like excitement coming back as I'm nearly 30, and all because companies are charging more for their games than they ever did before.
So how about you? Has the new pricing made you think any differently about buying games? Will you be sticking with digital or physical or switching it up this year? And will you buy as many games as before, or will each one be that little bit more special?
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