"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
For many gamers, the excitement of a game's launch day is unparalleled. Anticipation builds up as the release date approaches, leading to a mad dash to secure a copy of the newest blockbuster title. However, despite the hype, it seems that time and time again, the gaming community is relearning a simple yet crucial lesson: Do not buy a game on day one.
The Problem with Redfall's (and Others) Launch Day
Games today are frequently released with the understanding that they are, in fact, not finished. Developers often push out titles riddled with bugs, performance issues, and lacking content, only to address these problems later through patches and updates. If gamers could only resist the urge to buy games at launch and instead wait a year, they would likely find themselves enjoying a more optimized, stable, feature-rich experience, and most importantly - often at a lower price.
The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) might be the driving factor behind these early purchases, but the endless cycle of disappointment that follows demonstrates that FOMO is not a good enough reason to invest in an incomplete product.
Throughout gaming history, there have been numerous instances of hyped-up titles falling short of expectations on launch day.
Assassin's Creed: Unity was plagued with game-breaking bugs and performance issues, while the highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 was virtually unplayable on older consoles due to technical hiccups.
Anthem, a title that promised a revolution in the multiplayer gaming landscape, was underwhelming and suffered from severe design flaws. Releasing so early that, some could argue, doomed its long-term success. Plans for constant updates on a release schedule were not financially viable and eventually scrapped by heads of EA.
Exceptions to the Rule
Titles such as Nintendo's Zelda: Breath of the Wild (and soon, Tears of the Kingdom) and Sony Santa Monica Studio's God of War deliver polished and satisfying experiences on launch day. These exceptions for AAA releases are typically large first-party releases with significant resources behind them. In the broader gaming landscape, quality assurance seems to be lacking, making it increasingly difficult for gamers to trust publishers who prioritize recouping their investment over delivering a finished product.
The (Unfortunate) Solution: Patience and Skepticism
The gaming community must exercise patience and skepticism when it comes to new releases. By waiting for reviews, patches, and updates, gamers can ensure that they are investing their time and money in a game that is worthy of their attention. This approach not only saves gamers from disappointment but also sends a clear message to publishers: Quality matters. Until gamers on the whole start speaking with their wallets, nothing will change and the cycle will continue to repeat itself.
While glitches are nothing new to the video game industry (see my video below for some retro bangers), they are only more pronounced and exaggerated in today's gaming landscape. More effort was made historically because over-the-air updates were not possible. Nowadays, publishers can utilize day-one patches as a get-out-of-jail-free card, but often fall well short of initial expections.
As the industry continues to evolve, and the line between finished and unfinished games becomes increasingly blurred, gamers must adapt by changing their buying habits. It's time to break the cycle of launch day disappointment and reevaluate our priorities as consumers. By being more discerning with our purchases and waiting for games to reach their full potential, we can enjoy more satisfying experiences and encourage the industry to prioritize quality over quick returns.