Do you torrent/rip/back up every movie you have ever enjoyed? Do you visit Gog.com regularly, looking for games that you loved back in the day, even though they border on unplayable and nostalgia is their key feature? Do you have a terabyte hard drive full of files you haven’t quite managed to sift through?
I certainly feel your pain – from time to time the primitive part nerd-brain compels me to track down a season of this show or a story arc of that comic book. Surely the cloud will save us all from these impulses.
Too bad someone has already turned this urge into a business model.
Every couple months they find an excuse to make you buy. Summer. Halloween. Christmas. Just because. Steam is there for you. Sure – it’s easy enough to resist their 10% and 20% off sales. Its when they start offering you a game for half and three quarters off. Oh, you might never get around to playing the X-com prequel, but if you do – you’ll have saved 30 theoretical dollars, and everyone knows those are the most valuable kind.
Right now I have 18 deeply discounted games that I really do have every intention of getting around to play, and another half dozen that I have started, but not gotten anywhere close to finishing. That’s at least $200 over the last year that I have, shall we say, misallocated. Sure, when I get around to playing my $15 copy of Bioshock infinite (thank you summer sale) I will enjoy it on a dollar adjusted basis far more than my $50 copy of Dead Island (how could a game with a trailer so good turn out so bad) but that’s not the point.
All of this really leaves me with more questions than answers. How does Valve manage to make any money giving games away? If 25% of the cover price is break-even for a publisher, does that mean that video games have a 400% margin? How is it Steam is able to seduce me so regularly?
Steam and Kickstarter represent the last vestiges of my impulse buying, so the problem isn’t all bad. Once upon a time I might have spent those dollars at Barnes and Noble (rest in peace,) or my FLGS. Today I can spend money on things I don’t really need from the comfort of my own home. Heaven help me if a comic book company ever uses the Steam flash-sale model.
So what do the rest of you say? Am I alone in my need to buy games I may never have the time to play? What outlets succeed in stealing your impulse dollars?