One thing i can tell you for sure, after getting older, wiser and more experienced, is that I am getting more and more critical, cynical and pessimistic. Especially when it comes to politics, and economies. This is also why i may be drifting off the bulls eye of the target audience for most sim racing and racing game developers.
The truth is though, that I have grown a bit more immune to the hype that the developers can stir up about their products through trailers, leaks, and other tricks that they use to make us want something we probably don’t need. I have also learned to see through some tricks that they use, to make us feel like we are getting much more value, simply by adding limits and boundaries. This is why i have decided to put together a list of guidelines to be a smarter shopper when it comes to sim racing, and maybe gamer in general.
Your purchase is your vote
You can complain all you want about a product, service or purchase, but if you buy it, and especially if you keep buying it, then you are really just saying to the developer that you are happy with it as it is. Your purchase is the ultimate show of acceptance and you should use it carefully. You can’t complain about Forza, and still buy all their games, DLC and merchandise. As far as Forza is concerned, they are doing everything right, as long as people keep buying what they come up with. If they can see that sales start dropping, they will look into why, and hopefully figure out what is wrong. If not, they will blame it on bade economy, hard competition or changing times, and eventually shift to making mobile games or dishwashers.
Pre-orders are for sheep
I have pre-ordered 3 racing games, basically because i knew i’d love them and that i’d buy them anyway. The truth is, i didn’t love them, and looking back, i should not have bought them, and would not have bought them now. One of them i actually got a cash refund for, from the developer, even after 45 hours of play, because it just didn’t deliver what they had promised during development, or during marketing. In line with your purchase being your ultimate vote, and sign of acceptance towards the developer, pre-orders are basically telling them that you’ll buy anything they come up with. This may or may not be justified, but ultimately, it’s a lot of trust to put into a company that probably always is looking at changing, adjusting and optimizing their ways of profiting from developing games.
You’ll often be awarded with fictional goodies, that others can’t get, but that usually don’t really matter. Rarely will you get something groundbreaking that you’d otherwise miss out on and never get the chance to either buy or win in some way or an other. They would almost never develop a car or track that only is available for pre-order customers, and if they do, it’d only be a skin or variation of an existing car.
Reviews are marketable quotes
Arguably, you can’t evaluate a product or software, without buying it so to some extend, you’ll need to buy something blindly or after researching the market. Don’t buy into them blindly though. Many of the reviews you read online mainly exist for making reviews. The problem here is, that if they truly make a genuine review with pros and cons, and even give constructive criticism, their review will be less promoted and less exposed than a review that is not only positive, but ecstatic. Reviews, especially the ones that come out before the game has launched, are basically quotable marketing. If they are not, that media will not get to review future products, and will eventually lose their livelihood.
Early Birds should sleep in
Being early is no longer worth the worm at least seen from an early bird view. Nowadays, most games are launched way too early than they would have. Most games get a critical update anytime between a few days, to sever weeks after launch, because users find problems that the testers hadn’t. Even more embarrassing, is that the people who did test it, review it, and gave it those awesome reviews before launch hadn’t noticed either, but they can be excused because they got a free early access version. You on the other hand, have to pay full price, and basically do their job, and spot problems, bugs, mistakes and incompatibilities. Most of these issues are fixed pretty fast, but you can as well save your self some frustration, and buy it after it’s launch. Your advantages are that you can, during this time, get much more objective reviews from people who aren’t paid to make them. You can also be lucky to get a special price, as the highest price a game usually has, is at launch date.
You can’t always be right, and i am sure that we all have made some purchases that we very quickly regretted, or eventually figured out that we actually knew we’d not be happy with. The latest regrets that i have had, were the purchase of two cars on iRacing. I knew that i’d never really want to race the the McLaren MP4-30 but i just had to have it, because F1 is one of the few motorsports i really follow in real life. It was really difficult for me to not fall for the trailer and hype.
The same goes for the Audi 90 GTO. I’m not a huge Audi fan, and i knew that this beast is a mouthful to drive, but i just love the way this car looks and sounds, so i just had to buy it, to give it a spin. I have never driven it since that spin, and it literally was a lot of spinning.
Non the less, i feel that i personally have gotten better at not just jumping into impulse software and hardware purchases. My trick is to let it sink and give it time. This can be difficult but mentally, not making a decision on the spot, is easier than having to make up your mind on a purchase right away. So a scenario goes a bit like this
- Spot or hear about a new piece of hardware, software or idea.
- Figure out where to buy it and what it costs
- Buy it, try it and figure out of if it was worth it.
Now.. what i have learned to do, it not make a decision at this point. Instead of deciding if you are going to buy it or not, simply procrastinate. This is one case where this is a wise choice. If you still have the itch after a few days, investigate and research. This will lead to more information, maybe better prices and also eliminate buyers remorse in case you end up buying it. Let it simmer s bit more. This can be a few days, or may need a few weeks. Ultimately, it’s a gut feeling, but by giving it time, and by getting more information, you can better get a feel of what your gut is trying to tell you.
Basically the trick is to
- Feel yourself up…