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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » Polls & Comments » Major game purchase influences?

View Poll Results - On what do you base the purchase of a game?

Reviews 276 26.74%
Ads 6 0.58%
Advice from friends 112 10.85%
Demos 180 17.44%
Screens/trailers 82 7.95%
Box description 13 1.26%
Forum comments 206 19.96%
Previews/interviews 122 11.82%
Other (specify in the comments) 35 3.39%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 431. You may not vote on this poll

Default Major game purchase influences?

August 27th, 2008, 18:39
In terms of other a big factor for me is the balance between available time & things I want to play. I even bought the silverfall expansion in spite of being 99% confident it was going to be unbearably shit because there was just a big gap and nothing else I could think of to play.
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August 27th, 2008, 18:53
When I started making money it usually was based on spare cash on hand. I always liked to treat myself when I got my paycheck. This was at a time when the bargain bins started showing up as before old games would simply be taken off the shelf.

A few disappointments at full price and 2 shelves and a few drawers full of unplayed games has caused me to be more selective. As well, there are a lot fewer games for PC and I am not longer just interested in whatever is out there like I was in the 80's.

Demos, and "unofficial demos" is the difference for me whether to purchase something, or if its a deal I can't pass up like a $5 bargain.

But another buying decision for me is experience with previous titles from the same company. Div Div2 I have high expectations for. My experience with BG and NWN caused me to buy the sequels on the first day, no questions asked. This goes both ways as Heart of Winter for Icewind Dale sucked severely. It was really after that, and maybe U9, that I started keeping my eyes open.

Fortunately for me, the terrible demo for Arcanum didn't nearly come close to how fun the game actually was.

Promotions and publicity (as well as box description) for a game are more helpful to me than reviews lately, simply because most RPGs these days are advertising themselves as Mature. Reviews may gush with the virtues of these games but the simple M on the box is going to tell me I'm probably not going to like it no matter what the reviewers say about the game or even when they say people like me are wrong.

The box is more effective than people will admit I think, because although RPG players are supposed to be more literate than your average shootemup gamer, look at Dungeon Lords.

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
Last edited by Lucky Day; August 27th, 2008 at 19:00.
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August 27th, 2008, 19:19
Well, the box sure doesn't help me. I normally don't see it until I have it in my hand standing in line at the store.

One big thing for me that's not on the list is publisher/developer reputation. If BioWare or Bethesda are making a game, I'm paying attention. I'm going to remember how CDProjeckt (sp?) put out some very good and free updates for a long time, though I'll also remember how desperately some of those were needed when the game first came out.

Screenshots and trailers are a big influence, as are previews. Developer interviews can often act as both and work great. However, I try hard not to use just those. There are too many holes in that method. It's too easy to hide game crippling problems like horrible stories, checkpoint save systems designed for no-hard-drive consoles, broken quests, mangled balance, and any number of other problems. That's where the reviews come in. Those can quickly point out those holes and, thanks to review copies getting sent out while the game is shipping, reviews are pretty timely, too.

I use demos on rare occasion, normally with stuff I'm on the fence with. I got The Witcher largely thanks to it's demo.

Reviews are static, though, and only relfect the game as it was upon release. If patches have fixed things up then I need to check with the forumites for confirmation.
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August 27th, 2008, 20:37
I basically check them all to some extent, except probably ads that seem to tell me least. Even badly written reviews tell me something about a game, especially in context of other reviews and forum comments. I don't think there is one specific thing that pulls me over the line.

Missing poll option: trust in the developer based on previous releases and/or franchise.
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August 27th, 2008, 21:48
10 years ago or even 5 years ago, I would have said reviews. Today, not so much.
Today, I buy games from developers I know and trust. I also buy games based on posts from other forum members about the game.

If I'm still in doubt, I'll try to see some screens/trailers at the company's website or I will tru to play a demo of the game - if there is one. That's how I learned about Eschalon, book I and other games. I have bought some games (not many) based on their box description alone; this includes games like Keepsake and Agon - The Lost Sword of Toledo are among these (very few) games.

I tend to not trust reviews anymore, unless there from this site; or from the the adventure community forums, or from small places like game gamebanshee.com

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August 27th, 2008, 22:02
The only way to really know for sure if you're going to like a game or not is to play it. Unfortunatley if there is no free demo then you have to plunk down your hard earned cash and buy it… and most software stores will not accept returns of software so buying a game is a one way ticket…

So the next best thing really are reviews and comments by others in forums. Alone, reviews and forum comments can contain a lot of hyperbole or emphasis on aspects of gameplay that you care little for… good or bad.

Together though, reviews and forum comments can give you a pretty decent picture about a game without actually buying it or playing a free demo.

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August 27th, 2008, 22:04
I think that number one source I use is reputation of the developer ("other"). I don't trust reviews at all anymore.
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August 28th, 2008, 00:36
Demos and forum comments. The ideal situation is to play the demo and read some comments on how the game fares later on, without spoilers.
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August 28th, 2008, 17:52
In addition to things people have already mentioned, I'll add one thing: Who is making the game?

Some companies (mainly Obsidian, BioWare, Blizzard and Piranha Bytes) generally make games that I enjoy a lot, so I automatically buy their games untill the day they actually let me down. Even then I'd probably give them the benefit of the doubt, and keep on supporting them untill they somehow managed to fail several times in a row.
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August 28th, 2008, 20:41
Heh - Maylander beat me to it. The designers / developers are… or at least used to be… a big factor for me. It's a bit fuzzier now since teams are so huge and so fluid at mainstream game companies now. Even Bioware doesn't mean what it used to mean. But I still try and pay attention to it - especially amongst the indies.

I voted for reviews, but I will generally ignore reviews from the Big Game Sites nowadays. I'm way more interested in a review from a particular reviewer whom I trust and know their tastes in games.
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August 29th, 2008, 01:04
I start focusing on a game with the early media and previews, and as several have said, there are developers I tend to follow. Forum comments then come into play, particularly bug warnings. Next, I like a demo for the simple reason that many games look & sound perfect but when I actually get my hands on the controls they play in a way that makes me think I won't enjoy them or get very far with them. (Avencast and Silverfall come to mind.)

Finally the last stage is looking at the reviews—most of the time I'm reading a review after I buy a game to see if the author agrees or disagrees with me, but if something's slipped under my radar, or is an older game, I might look at a review or two, especially from smaller sites that are more into a particular genre, like here maybe.

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August 29th, 2008, 03:50
For me, trying the demo is the biggest factor. Only then I will know for sure if I like a game enough to buy it. Reviews (not the score, but the pros & cons), screens & trailers (mostly to see if I like the visual style and atmosphere) and previews (to get an idea about what the game is) influence me as well, as well as my previous experience with others games of the same series and/or developpers (other).

I very rarely see any game ads so they can't influence me. Friends don't really share my gaming tastes, and beside I see them less often than game ads. Forums comments tend to vary too much to be really helpful; no matter the game there are always people worshipping it and others who hate it. As for the box, my mind is already made on wheiter to buy the game or not when I see it in a store.

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August 29th, 2008, 13:53
I voted demo's -> otherwise I would have never bought Gothic and therefor never met the people here (previously rpgdot). Today I use the forum here: I wait till you bought the game and describe it.
I also buy PB games without a doubt.

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August 30th, 2008, 00:11
Hmmm… when I was still buying many games, there was not much of a pattern to my buying behavior, especially not when it came to discovering favorite games.
If it was a game from a series or developer or sometimes even genre I tended to like, I might have bought it just because I liked the siblings (that's why I bought Heretic, Morrowind, Unreal Tournament, Final Fantasy VII, everything by Westwood and so on…). I happened to buy games after cross-reading several reviews (…Cyberstorm…), after discovering a demo on a magazine CD (…Realms of the Haunting…) or following the advice of a friendly sales person (…Planescape: Torment…). And then there were some favorites I didn't buy at all - they either were birthday presents for me (…Gothic…) or hubby (…Thief…).
Well. There was no pattern back then, and the only pattern nowadays seems to be that a game must be available for one of my aging consoles or playable under Linux. But there definitely is an anti-pattern: never trust the advice of a friend. I wasted good money on horribly bad books by listening to friends, and I wasted good money on HORRIBLY bad games (…Fire Warrior, anyone?)
In a similar manner, good friends told me NOT to play several games because they were so bad. When I accidentally got my fingers on said games, however, they became all-time favorites, like, for example, Lands of Lore and System Shock .

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August 31st, 2008, 15:24
I'm genuinely surprised reviews are ranking that high (so far).

Most reviewers don't have the same tastes as I, they don't have the same expectations as I. Because they play games all day and go through such quantities, little technical or gameplay imperfections will tend to annoy them a lot simply because their tolerance threshold is lowered by the quantity of games they go through. I play maybe a game or two per month, so naturally things that I'm expecting and things that annoy me are very different from them. For example I can do with framerate drops or stutter from time to time while I can totally understand why a professional reviewer would be very annoyed by that if it's the 10th game he's trying that week.

Last but not least, the perception of professional reviewers are often affected by marketing, sponsorships, hype, free trips, invitations to private presentations, etc. Remember that article at NMA describing how the "journalists" who reviewed Oblivion didn't point out its flaws in its actual review but in later reviews of other games.
http://www.nma-fallout.com/article.php?id=37708

And really games are just like music, it's first and foremost a matter of tastes, even if 99% reviewer say Britney Spears' last record is crap, maybe I'll actually like it (not saying I do lol it's just an example). The only thing review can have a saying about that might have any validity is technical aspects ("this game has lots of bugs", "this game has an inconvenient interface", etc.) and yet again, as I said earlier, because I play much less games than them, even when their judgment strictly depicts unbiased technical aspects the actual effect of such technical aspects will probably have a much lesser impact on me than it has on them.

I remember during my first playthrough of Fallout 2 I had an inevitable game stopping bug : the non random encounter close to the beginning of the game where you meet Frank Horrigan in the Wastes wasting a guy and his family would crash to desktop. I couldn't get past that until the patch was released, and yet I still consider Fallout 2 my favorite game of all times. Had reviewers encountered the same bug and no way to fix it at the time of press release I'm sure they would have gave it a rating of 2/10 at best.


So I voted for advice from friends and demos. Nothing beats actually trying the game and deciding by myself. Or have a friend who played it already talk about it and go to his place to try it out (that's how I got into Fallout 1 DAoC and WoW to name a few).
Last edited by Hedek; August 31st, 2008 at 15:37.
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September 2nd, 2008, 21:12
"On Advice from Friends" studies in marketing have proved that "word of mouth" is the biggest and best way to get buyers for your product.

We may vote it as the least listed reason but our perception is not reality. Heck, "RPGWatch Opinions" I think would be inclusive to that choice. I would not have checked out Gothic if it wasn't for the "Word of Mouth" at the dot and subsequently rejected it. Same goes for FF7.

Here are examples two games with the opposite marketing. Gothic had zero buzz, was not heard of in NA, but managed to get on a few critics listings and it did eventually find its way here. It didn't sell well at all. FF7 had plenty of buzz, having developed increasing sales in Japan and the previous 2 had been widely distributed in NA on the most popular console. Yet, I would not have checked out either if I hadn't had other people spewing on about how great they were.

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http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
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September 2nd, 2008, 21:19
A combination of all probably, mostly I'm looking for something different or that grabs my imagination or just an interesting mechanic or setting.
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September 3rd, 2008, 02:14
I'm suprised so many gamers ignoring the ads; i guess the intensity of online ads causes internet user (especially advance/hardcore user) developed an immune system toward ads, or automatically treat them as spam…
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September 3rd, 2008, 05:14
"Word of mouth" from gaming forum cites such as RPGWatch is the single biggest influence on determining whether or not I'll purchase a game. Reviews and previews are important, but actual gamers experiences carries the most weight for me.
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September 6th, 2008, 03:17
I can't trust reviews since they always stear me wrong. I thought everyone agreed previews and intyerviews (and most reviews) were just sales vehicles? I guess not.

I trust demos for sp games, and open betas or free trials (actually open betas, not "buy-in betas", for mmorpgs). I don't trust forum comments, because you all have very bad taste. I can't even trust the hand full of people that sometimes have good taste like Dhruin, VD, Corwin, and DTEowner.

I can trust history. I can put blind faith in some devs I think always have people like me in mind. I just don't get it most of the time though, how did Dungeon Siege 1 get rave reviews, while 2 and Space Siege get mediocre to poor reviews when they have to have a lot more than 1 did? Why would I listen to the hive mind when the hive mind never makes any sort of logical sense? Why would I want a polished game or care if a game has bugs when Troika's games were light years ahead of everything else and were all buggy as shit? Why would I belive a dev that said their game is a rpg when I played games like the RoA trilogy?

All I can trust is history and demos. And history isn't an option.
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