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The battle for gamers’ time and money – Reader’s Feature

Battlefield V – one of many franchises to take a downturn in 2018
A reader explores why so many franchises have been seeing a dip in sales and blames everything from unfinished games to silly release dates.
Last year was a strange year for video game sales, with a lot of established franchises struggling to sell as many copies as previous games in their respective series. But is there more at play here than simply declining sales?
I love the Battlefield series and have enjoyed most of the entries in the series. I’ve also pre-ordered all of the games, except for Battlefield V. I’m not alone doing this though, as all of my mates hadn’t pre-ordered it either. That’s not to say that I won’t buy the game. I was waiting on it being on sale on PSN, and as it is currently £30 I shall likely purchase it in the next few days. There are a few reasons for me waiting like this.
With Battlefield V, by all accounts, being quite light on content this year, I’m quite happy to wait until the game is cheaper and has more content. This is happening a lot this generation, with games lacking content or sometimes even being unplayable, like Fallout 76 and No Man’s Sky, and I feel gamers are savvy enough to wait until a game has been fixed, and has more maps, etc. for players to get stuck into.
I’m also finding my buying habits are leaning more towards digital now, as you can buy £50 of PSN credit for around £43 from online retailers (cdkeys.com or electronicfirst.com), and most of the physical copies of games are £50 these days. You can also game share with a friend, which basically means you’re buying the digital copy for half the price of a retail copy. Battlefield V is a game I won’t sell on, as there’s so much replay value in the multiplayer, so buying it on PSN is an easy decision to make. So I wonder if that is the case with most of these new releases that are seeing physical sales declining?
I also think that gamers have huge backlogs of games (I know I do!) and so they are waiting for discounts to buy games, as it could be months before they get to play them. Also, big hitters like Red Dead Redemption II require 70+ hours to complete, and more and more games are using an open world, which take a lot longer to complete than a linear experience like Uncharted.
Another issue is the rise of games as a service, and games like Fortnite, which demand hundreds of hours of your time to rank up, and they constantly evolve to keep players hooked – at the expense of other games and established franchises.
Black Friday, I believe, is also having an effect on day one sales, as gamers wait for the inevitable cutthroat discounts. With so many games releasing in the run up to Christmas, it’s no wonder that games are struggling for sales and if I were a publisher I’d try and avoid the Christmas mayhem when games like FIFA and Call Of Duty hoover up most players’ gaming budgets, and niche games end up suffering.
They should also make sure their game is in a playable state and has enough content to keep players happy. Gamers are a fickle bunch, and it doesn’t take much for them to turn against even established franchises, as EA found out with Star Wars: Battlefront II, although in that case it was totally warranted.
Publishers really just need to stop releasing half-finished games when competition is so fierce. It just doesn’t do them any favours at all and will see their game struggling amongst the big hitters. With many other factors at play as well, it’s getting harder now than ever to win gamers over, and it really is a battle for both gamers’ time and money. But with a bit of common sense and planning, it’s a battle that can be won.
By reader Cubes (PSN ID)/SW-3654-9259-0500/ Kevin M

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email [email protected] and follow us on Twitter .

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