Everyone learns in school about the difference between a need and a want. Needs are the basic things required to keep on living like having food to eat, water to drink, and shelter from the elements. I would also put social interaction and relationships in the need category. Studies have shown people that are completely removed from other humans can develop mental illness. We need people around us to give us support in hard times and to do activities with during the good times.
Everything else is I would categorize as a want, including video games. This is an issue because gamers need to know how video games fit into the overall world. Of all the various forms of entertainment I think video games are the best, but they are not a need. They are a luxury. We do not have to have video games. Before video games, people watched movies, listened to music, and read books. Before movies, they listened to music and read books. And so on all the back to where people just played sports or hung out with each other.
The reason I say this is because I am disappointed every time I see 2 views in particular.
I have to play this game, but X company is not consumer friendly. I’ll just pirate it.
Some people use the “games as a need fallacy” as a way to legitimize them pirating a game. When they were first introduced to games, they probably considered them a want. They did not have to play games. They had a number of other interests besides games. As a child if their parents told them they could not play games, they found other things to occupy their time. But somehow over time video games became their dominant activity during free time (which I think is fine), and they started to think of them as a need.
It is just like a habit. You get used to doing things a certain way. You just want things to stay the same. The problem is these people truly believe games are a need. Consumer unfriendly companies are definitely bad, and we should do what we can to combat them. However, pirating games is not one of them.
If you want to boycott a game, boycott it totally. Do not buy; do not play it. This shows we are gamers of integrity. We are so disgusted with the company’s actions we refuse to play this game, even though we could very well through piracy. Piracy is like an act of war. It encourages companies to treat customers even worse. They start to think all consumers are pirates, so why ever be nice to them? Then they treat gamers even worse to ensure they always come out on top.
I must have this game on launch day! I got off work all week. I’m picking it up at midnight and just going to play nonstop until I fall asleep in front of the computer.
It is fine to be excited about a new game, but players should not feel like they have to keep up with the latest games. If they are happily playing other games, it is okay to continue playing them and wait to pick-up a new game until ready. You also save money because game prices go down fast. I have seen sales little more than a month after release for 50% off. If the game turns out to be buggy, day one buyers also have to deal with all of that annoyance. The game may not be fun until the first few patches fix the major bugs.
One argument I see favoring buying early is to stay competitive, but if you are good at a game, you will rise to the top. A few weeks or months of extra playing time does not make a difference in the long run. New professional players enter games all the time and rise to the top. Publishers like to fool you into thinking this. It is false. All their advertising and promotions are about getting you to act early, to make decisions before thinking about them.
Players should also not feel like they have to skip sleep and work to be the first to beat the game. Actually, it is usually better to go through a game slower to take it all in. You get more time to admire the art, characters, music, and the gameplay, the most important thing in a game. The argument against this is usually that everyone is talking about it, and spoilers are everywhere. Well, it is not that hard to limit forum use until after you beat the game and tell your friends not to talk about it around you.
Of course there are times when buying games the first day makes sense. Games in series you really love and know you will enjoy are perfectly fine to buy on launch day. I would still advise against marathon sessions though. If you play the same game over a longer period of days, you do not have to buy as many games to stay entertained. I set aside 2 hours of free time for games most days. I might play longer if other planned activities fall through, but I do not stop doing other activities to play a new game.
I think this “going against the grain” is also applicable to other parts of life. There is no need keep up with every change in the latest fashions, same for the latest movies. Players should be in control of their life. I feel a lot better now knowing that I play games on my terms, not when the publisher or my friends tell me to play. I definitely take their input and think about it, but I ultimately make the decision to buy a game, for what price, and how much time to spend on it per day.
To most it is perfectly fine to buy every game at midnight and play until every ounce of content has been experienced, but I believe in balancing my activities. I set aside a certain amount of time for games each day, but also other things outside of gaming. Games are a luxury. They will always be a luxury. We should not get so carried away to do stupid things like pirating a game, buying a game we do not really want, or losing sleep over a new game.
After players get used to playing games a lot, some of them start to think they are a basic need. They are not. I think games are the best entertainment, but they are a want, a luxury. If someone cannot afford to play a game, they just have to deal with that. There are other things to do with free time besides games if they do not have the money.
Players also should realize they do not need all the latest games as soon as they come out. They do not need to cancel all their other activities just to beat a new game. They do not need to play all the big releases. They can take their time and get to new games when they are ready. There will inevitable be slow points during the year where people can catch up on the games they missed earlier in the year.