Objectivity in the face of free stuff

With the increased volume of free games from programs such as Xbox’s Games with Gold and PlayStation’s PS+, I wonder if it makes it harder for people to truly perceive the value of the games that become available. With some such as Guacamelee STCE even débuting as a free title, albeit temporarily, can we really gauge the game fairly in comparison to those we had to pay for?

Halo 3 was a high profile release in the early days of Games with Gold

Halo 3 was a high profile release in the early days of Games with Gold

I suppose I’m thinking about this a lot more recently due to a great number of the games becoming available are ones that I didn’t have an opportunity to play when they were first released. At a time when there was a lack of games on Xbox One that I was compelled to buy, it was a great way to keep playing whilst enjoying the best of both Xbox platforms.

Hard to believe I had never played Assassins Creed II or more recently Saints Row: The Third but when you consider the stellar (and huge) library the 360 has earned over the course of its lifetime I don’t know a whole lot of people who have played every big game out there. So an opportunity to get a couple of these games as part of a subscription is a huge bonus.

With the pricing of mobile games calling into question the long term viability of premium priced console games, offers of free titles by platform holders or the services such as EA Access may further erode gamers willingness to part with their cash.

So in those instances when gamers are willing to spend money, there may suddenly be this psychological need to either justify the expense beyond usual reasoning or be more critical because a three year old game you get for free offers a similar experience.

It throws a spanner in the works for reviews too; ranking games that are similar in style but differ in pricing introduces a whole new area of analysis in terms of value that I certainly don’t think I will figure out straight away. All anyone can do is try to call out those games that might abuse it and hope we can make our points valid.


Categories: Gaming, Opinion

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2 replies »

  1. Good post. If you can be disciplined enough to hold off on new releases and live a year in the past, you can acquire amazing games for next to nothing.

    The problem (and the game industry knows this well) is that by waiting, you’re missing out on the shared experience of a new game. Yeah, there will still be players running around in Destiny next year, but not like there is right now, when your friends have moved on to the latest and greatest. There is some value in playing a game when everyone else is, in other words, and lots will always be willing to pay a premium to participate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment! 🙂
      I think you’re right on both counts. There is so much out there to play. Gaming has become a lot cheaper as a result of all this competition. I certainly don’t think we will ever again see another price hike that games on the 360/PS3 introduced early on.
      Being an early adopter of Xbox platforms, its been great to get in there amongst the first batch of players. But the premium you pay for the privilege does hit you. I think I read somewhere publishers expect to make the majority of their sales in the first month or two. After that the games begin to get discounted as they compete with newer titles. It’s a risky way to do business.


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