When it comes to AAA games or any high-profile videogame releases, there is always a big push to get you to buy it on day 1. Pre-orders and pure hype are pretty much the lifeblood of the industry by now. And Cyberpunk 2077 is proof that you can just sell a lie. As long as you have big enough marketing, people will literally buy a game that does not exist yet.
The games as a service model or multiplayer-focused games are somewhat of an exception. The GaaS model focuses on updates, tweaks, and new content. It is only natural that half a year after release, games with this model will have more content. It is expected. And multiplayer games tend to be most active at launch. So there is a time window where you do not have to think if a game is dead or not.
There is an argument to be made here, that good multiplayer games do not die that fast. But Dark Souls, or heck even more recent, the Demon’s Souls remake, are types of games you need to consider. The optional PVP is great! If you are into that sort of thing. But this is primarily a single-player experience. So the PVP scene died within half a year post-launch.
The Problem With Recent AAA Games “Day 1” Experience
But the situation becomes absurd when you consider single-player-focused experiences. The recent “Day 1” experience in many AAA games was just a beta test you had to pay for. Resident Evil Village had massive performance issues on PC because of the DRM attached. This was only fixed months later. So not only was the experience improved months after launch, but it was also cheaper. The same exact thing happened with Deathloop on PC.
Okay, PCs are varied. It is not easy to provide great performance to all setups out there. But what about consoles? Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales was a bug-free launch, not really anything wrong with performance either. But about a month post-release, the game got an update. This included Ray-Tracing support at 60 FPS. Which is clearly the superior way to experience the game. So why buy it anywhere near day 1?
But a better example is Far Cry 6. The game launched with terrible performance on PCs. But more importantly, the game is just bugged across all platforms. We reported on it weeks ago. Enemy spawn rate is bugged, so they pop into existence right behind you. Players who grab the game in a month or two will enjoy a way superior experience than those who gave into AAA “day 1” game experience hype.
Guardians of the Galaxy launched with audio issues. Cyberpunk 2077 was… you all know what it was. eFootball was another juicy disaster. Returnal, Days Gone, Ghost of Tsushima. All of these games got way better months after release thanks to patches, updates, and small add-ons. And now Halo Infinite will launch without co-op and RayTracing. These will come in updates.
But no one will care. Because the vast majority of the player base will get Infinite day one. And they will not revisit it with RayTracing, or potential bug fixes. They will experience a day 1 version. The version that is inferior. But they will report the bugs, and future customers will play without them thanks to their efforts. Kinda like beta testers.