Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the third entry in the Tomb Raider reboot, has met an unfortunate fate. After releasing on September 14th, it has found itself at the face of a smear campaign for committing one of the cardinal sins of selling a product—going on sale too fast for too much. For a game, only a month later, having a 30% discount on Steam, this was too much for some to bear, and so they lashed out! Posting review after review on the Steam page of the game, bombing it with negative opinions and ratings, solely over the nature of sale being deemed “too soon.”
And to those people I say, you have no one to blame but yourself and Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s score shouldn’t suffer because of it.
If you have purchased a game, or really any item in a medium that is predicated on the idea that the latest product is the most value, you should expect sales. Nearly every game goes on sale eventually, it’s just a question of when. But that could be anytime for any amount and is left to the developer or publisher to determine. There is no set of rules that these companies must follow and none that should be expected, doing otherwise is just going to set someone up with disappointment—and that exactly what has happened here.
The following scenario represents a group that felt when Shadow of the Tomb Raider launches (or pre-ordered beforehand) that the $60 price was appropriate, that it was worth the cost. Finally, once the game launched, still felt like that price was acceptable enough to the extent that they didn’t feel the need to review bomb the game. Then only a month later, when Square Enix decided to put the game on sale, decided to let the developers know that this was unacceptable by bombing the game and felt they were entitled to the lower price from the beginning (otherwise they wouldn’t complain). Not only is this the wrong attitude to take, but it’s one that is severely lacking consideration of other points regarding their purchase.
The first and foremost is the fact that before this sale exists, this group deemed the $60 price tag at the time of launch as acceptable. As all of us know (by being consumers), items will go on sale, and there is usually a few patterns to them to some degree (even though we should never expect them) on when those sales will happen. For games, the general rule of thumb is that the older the game is, the cheaper it becomes until it is not easily acquired (causing the price to climb). If the price tag of $60 at launch isn’t acceptable, then all consumers need to do is wait, and the price will come down to something hopefully that is found acceptable. For most, determining the right time to buy a game comes down to a simple question:
How much am I willing to pay at this moment to play this game?
If you feel $60 is too high of a price, then your desire to play the game doesn’t match the price that is being asked, so you pass. However if you find $60 acceptable, then the desire to play the game matches or exceeds the price, so the purchase is made. For those who bought the game at full price, that calculation was already made and decided. Yes, we all would like to save more money if we can, but if you have already justified the cost with a purchase then that is your decision to do so and nothing is owed from the developer/publisher. But if one is feeling that after their purchase and willing to gather en masse to review bomb a title, perhaps it is you who needs to take a moment and consider how purchases are evaluated and judged?
Regardless of one’s process for evaluating a purchase, there is still the second aspect of purchasing a game at a higher price tag, playing it earlier. Remember, part of the equation in determining when to purchase a game is the time, when time and price match your desire to play, that’s the time to buy. When you purchase a game for $60 at launch or shortly after, your desire is to play the game as soon as possible and $60 is an acceptable price to do that. Again, the game will get cheaper, but part of that high price tag isn’t just because its new, its also to allow you to play it as earlier as possible and experience it. If after that purchase and playing the title, enjoying it, and there is still buyer’s remorse, then once again the purchaser will need to evaluate their buying practices.
In the end, this is what truly strikes at the heart of the issue. Lashing out against a developer who is trying to generate more sales just because you bought the game at a time you felt was acceptable is the wrong approach and shows an entitled attitude. Instead, consider what made you want to purchase that game from the start at that price and reflect on the values you use to judge a product. Perhaps then the amount of buyer’s remorse won’t be as strong and a game’s score won’t have to be artificially tarnished just because someone couldn’t wait.