It wasn't so long ago that I would have paid about $60 for a brand new video game. That's the going price these days (here in Canada, it's starting to look more like $70 or $80 for a brand new title, actually, but the less ssaid about that the better). Over the last few years though, that's changed, thanks in part to the fact I've been through some financially dry periods where money has been tight.
But it's also changed because the cost of gaming has changed in a lot of ways too. It used to be that if you didn't want to pay $60 for a video game, the best you could hope to do was wait for it to end up in the discount bin at Walmart where you could nab it for $20, which was a steal. Well, $20 isn't a steal anymore. Thanks to Humble Bundles and Steam Sales and digital distribution, I can't remember the last time I paid much more than $5 for a video game.
There downsides to this, of course. I'm certainly not playing brand new games as they come out. I'm at least six months behind on things, maybe even a year. But I don't mind that so much because my steam library right now is almost 300 games strong, and I haven't played more than maybe a quarter of them if I'm lucky, so I've got plenty of gaming to get through while I wait for current titles to end up in a bundle somewhere, or heavily discounted at one of the handful of annual Steam sales.
Which is what inspired me to write this, actually -- the current Summer Sale going on over at Steam, which I've been checking out daily and which, though I've been tempted a few times, I haven't dropped any money on yet. And I've been trying to figure out why. And I think it's because I'm spoiled.
When I see a game that's $10, even if it used to be $40, I think, "Nah, that's too expensive." If I see a game that's dicounted at 75%, I think, "Well, maybe I should wait until it's 80% or 90% -- I mean, that's still a lot of money." Where it used to be $20 was the point where I felt like I was getting a good deal on something, these days it's more like $5, and even then I'm wondering in the back of my mind how long until I get it for $2.
People like me are probably ruining the gaming economy (or at least not helping it), but I can't help it. It's the way I've been trained now, and it's how the game industry has trained me -- wait long enough, and you can get the game a lot cheaper than if you buy it on day one. And these days, with so many games crippled or broken on day one, who doesn't want to wait six months to a year before dropping some cash on it?
Image courtesy of foto76 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net