The Scourge of Sales

Last Friday saw the take off of a recent US import; Black Friday. People throughout the UK caught sales fever and let it drag them down so much that even Americans were shocked by the some of the actions that took place that day. Whilst Cyber Monday has previously been gaining more notoriety and seemed like a more subtle way for people to calmly obtain some good deal, it was largely overlooked this year and had essentially merged into the “holiday weekend” for a holiday that has no meaning here.

People often deride Christmas for being purely commercial, yet in the context of the UK Thanksgiving is solely a commercial holiday and unearthed people’s greed that has been subdued due to austerity measures. Unless you have a house to sell yesterday’s autumn statement isn’t going to change things for the better.

How does this relate to videogames though? Well during the “holiday weekend” I kept an eye out on the sales on the off chance that some crazy deal emerges for something I actually want to get; obviously this was in relation to videogames. Unless you were in the market for a new console (where crazy good deals did exist) there wasn’t anything particularly noteworthy. Sure Shadow of Mordor and Metro Redux were essentially going for half price, and I am interested in ultimately getting both games, neither are ones that I really want (as of right now).

I found my self-restraint kicking in. This is not me bragging how much better I am for my self control. As the reality is that I had realised that I already have too many games either on the go or ready to play. I’m still deep into Dragon Age Inquisition, Super Smash Bros had just arrived, Mario Kart 8 is still great, and Destiny is still receiving notable updates. This doesn’t even include the games that I haven’t even started, such as Bayonetta 2 and Uncharted 3.

Admittedly my wallet is now fearing an onslaught due to the possibility of more amiibo purchases, yet it’s adding somewhat to my enjoyment of Smash Bros, looks good on a shelf, and also works with other WiiU games (despite minimally is still crucial). I made the ill-advised decision of buying an amiibo in an actually shop and forgot that the “holiday” deals were still active on the Sunday. So I found myself in a rather long queue surrounded by people buying either a PS4 or Xbox One (with interestingly the ratio slightly favouring Xbox One), and there was I waiting to get a solitary Samus Aran amiibo that unsurprisingly was not on sale.

Whilst it is good that so many people are able to join the current generation, which is necessary for the industries continued growth, with a couple of exceptions most of the people there were getting the consoles to play now and not as a Christmas present. The reason I point this out is that the “holiday” is ultimately selfish, with very few people using it as an opportunity to save money on buying gifts for others.

I find the whole thing a shame as it adds to the notion that videogames (and other media) are commodities to be bought and sold rather than pieces of culture and the benefits that they bring. With the global recession still having ramifications (regardless of the UK’s current 3% growth rate) I understand that money is an issue, as it affects me like everyone else, but for me videogames are so much more than simply a “product” to be consumed. They are a window to other worlds and experiences, the same as any other medium, which is why when obtaining new games our first thought shouldn’t be ‘how much?’ but rather why do I think this game could be special to me?

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