Weekend Hot Topic: Do you buy games on day one?

Readers discuss how often they buy a video game as soon as it comes out and whether they’re swayed by pre-order deals.

This week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Cabal, who asked whether you get a game immediately or whether you wait until it’s cheaper and the bugs have been worked out. If you take it on a case-by-case basis, what is it that influences your decision the most?

The upcoming release of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom influenced a lot of the answers, with most people saying they only buy day one on a few special occasions, with pre-orders being even less common.

Confident purchase
Buying (and pre-ordering) games for day one (if lucky, you can get them early) I have only ever done for Nintendo games.

Out of all the console formats, Nintendo first party main franchise games never seem to get cheaper.

I pre-ordered Zelda Breath Of The Wild for Wii U for about £30 at the time. Goes for way more than that now. Got the Switch version for £35.

I currently have Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom and Pikmin 4 on pre-order for £40 and £35.

No need
Most big games release at great expense and in an unfinished state due to the demands of publishers, to the detriment of the consumer.

This coupled with the value provided by Game Pass (and the fact that a lot of titles I want to play seem to find a day one release there) mean that it is incredibly rare that I will pre-order or buy a game on release, and I should imagine I’m in the majority these days.
James, Kent

Welcome trap
I have just pre-ordered a physical game for the first time in many years (probably a decade) and that was purely due to Currys’ ZELDA20 offer mentioned previously here.

I do not normally pre-order games as I like to see review scores prior to purchase, however I cannot see GC giving Tears Of The Kingdom less than a 9. (In fact, I am fully expecting them to quote Edge’s Super Mario 64’s review and say that not only is it a clear 10 but they have potentially overscored every other game up until this point).

I do occasionally buy games on launch day, but it is more of a rarity than the norm. The games I have bought at or close to launch are nearly all Nintendo titles, partially because they are generally of high quality but also because they never drop in price. This is clearly Nintendo’s intention, and I am falling into their trap but I am seldom disappointed with their titles.

The majority of my game purchases are in sales. For example, most of my Sony first title purchases are digital and occur when they first reduce in price, often as the headline in Sony’s summer or Christmas sales.

I am yet to buy a game on Xbox Series X, beyond the bundled Halo Infinite, as I now use it purely as a Game Pass machine. For third party retail games that are not on the Game Pass service I will buy on PlayStation 5 in their sales and for Indie titles I will buy on Switch in an eShop sale.

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The price is right
There is only one game at the moment that is almost a guaranteed first day buy for me and that’s Alien: Dark Descent, as it looks like the perfect Alien game, but I need it to be around the £35 mark.

I’m disappointed that the Final Fantasy series is no longer a first day buy for me. The latest one is coming out around the same time as the Alien game, and I honestly think I’ll prefer Alien.

Other first day buy games are games with a co-op element like Elden Ring or Remnant: From The Ashes, as I don’t want to be stuck waiting ages for people to join my game (these games are super active to begin with but soon dwindle).

GC: Alien: Dark Descent is £34.99 on the PlayStation Store.

Shop around
I’ve not pre-ordered anything since working in games retail years ago. Apart from a tiny number of noteworthy examples, specifically back in the days where games came on cartridge (N64 consoles and Zelda leap to mind), there’s no benefit to committing yourself to a particular retailer in exchange for some gift or other.

The last game I bought, Resident Evil 4 remake, was £59.99 in GAME but Currys offered it for £54.99 with an additional 10% off if you pre-ordered it. But ultimately it was £46.99 in Asda so I got it there. Mind you, that’s the first time in a very long time that I’ve bought a game at launch. £46 (plus the Blue Light Discount as I work for NHS, so £41.60 seemed a fair price. The price of new games (up to £70 for some) is just ludicrous. No video game has ever been worth £70.
Steve Piers

Ducks in a row
It depends on how excited I am for it, really, and how much of a dead cert I believe it to be. I pre-ordered Saints Row 4 online (as online has been typically cheaper for quite a while now) as I was pretty convinced with about a few months to go before release. The reboot I was much less sure of and nothing I’ve seen of it since has in any way convinced me that it’s worth £15-20 of my money. Max.

Then we get to the Resident Evil 4 remake and Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom. Now, I have to have these as soon as possible! Street Fighter 6 will likely be the same as well. The value of the two games yet to be released is all but assured by this point.

I managed to take advantage of the deal at Currys for Zelda. It was a bit of a battle with my laptop as I rely on PayPal to be able to pay directly from my building society account (and no, I don’t want to change another bank – that is a hassle I do not want) but the site has been giving me trouble signing into it and getting the Currys site and PayPal to play nice with one another turned out to be irritatingly convoluted. But I persisted! And come next Friday, Zelda shall be mine! I feel this calls for a villainous laugh! Bwahahahahaha!

Wait and see
I haven’t bought a game on the launch date for what seems like an age ago. Not because of price issues but because of my backlog.

Of course, by then the advantages would be patched up bugs and possibly a cheaper purchase. But I definitely have more patience and as thrilling as an excellent new game is I am definitely more reserved now and definitely check out the reviews and comparisons, with other critical responses including YouTube video gameplay demos.

I won’t be getting the new Zelda game just yet as I am still finishing up the predecessor to Tears Of The Kingdom. Games like Cyberpunk 2077 was a game I probably would have got by now, but due to all the buggy problems related to the game, and other problems that needed rectifying, I am still waiting for a definitive edition. It does look like an awesome game but with far too much negativity involved to warrant a purchase just now.

I used to get Fallout and Elder Scrolls games from day one and put up with all the bugs, but they were ones you could look past for the most part.

I am not looking for any pre-order bonuses as most DLC content can usually be had in a Game of the Year Edition and are usually way cheaper at this point of its life than the initial release. But reading an old review from GameCentral on Metacritic and other comparisons made by content creators on YouTube is usually how I do things now.

So getting the game at a later date has been a lot more beneficial for me than a day one release for sure, and a good game will always stand the test of time anyway.

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