In the last couple of days I am frequently logging to vgchartz to stay up to date with game sales for the leading consoles. This gives me a good overview of what people are playing most and how successful is each title on a specific platform. Today I’ve also read that GTA 5 is the best selling video game ever in the UK.

This lead me to think whether one should base his buying decision on what’s popular on try out some games that are less popular? I have to admit that I am attracted to popular titles, but there is a reason for that. I spend most of the time playing multiplayer games online, and having people to play with is obviously essential. So i assume that if a specific multiplayer game is popular, obviously many people play it.

A game being very popular doesn’t necessarily means that you, personally, will enjoy it. There many games that are very popular that I didn’t want to play them at all, or tried them and found that I don’t enjoy playing them. Indeed, some games ride on a big well-planned marketing program. I think that in 2014 a few AAA games had high expectations, but were poorly executed and have gotten poor ratings in reviews and negative feedback from gamers.

It seems sometimes that the marketing can make a game looks larger than life, but in reality it can be very boring. A game doesn’t need to have top-notch graphics and very sophisticated sand smart story behind it to succeed, it has to entertain the player, and not so many games were able to achieve that. It also seems that most AAA games get funded if they fall in the most popular categories like first person shooters, sports, car racing or an action-adventure game.  We see less fighting games as we used to see in the past. Super Smash Bros. Wii U and 3DS game have proved that people love playing those type of games.

I am among those who prefer buying a console that have games that I enjoy playing, and those games available today. That rather than buy a console that have hyped game titles that you are not sure whether they will be good or not. I think that the Wii U is a great example of that.  Looking at the global hardware total unit sold as of 22nd November 2014 on vgchartz, we can see that Nintendo sold 7.4M units, just shy from the Xbox One with 7.6M units. Of course we need to take the time the console is on the market, but no doubt that titles like Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros. and Bayonneta 2 helped Wii U to even double its Wii U sales.

I personally prefer reading reviews before purchasing a game. After all, spending $60 on a game isn’t cheap, and I don’t want to pay for a game that I am likely to play it, or play it for a very short time. I want to invest in a game that will keep me busy for a few weeks or even months to come. That said, I can’t ignore the urge to pre-order a game or buy it on the first day it’s released. It’s like missing a great party, and I want to enjoy this party with others as well.

Buying a game before or without reading reviews is kind of risky if you have a small budget to pay for games. This is why I am strictly in favor of companies that allow reviewers to review the game prior for its release and not like Ubisoft’s decision to not allow it with its The Crew game. I can understand that it’s an MMO-style game and the best experience comes when many people play it online together. That said, no one will even write a pre-release review about the game right now, only when it’s released. So although I am very interested in buying the game, I will hold on until I read the first reviews.

You don’t need to read reviews in order to get a good understanding what to expect from it. There are many people who played the alpha and beta released that share their opinion publicly on the web. You can read about it in official and non-official forums, in comment’s sections and also as article posted on leading gaming websites, written by reading those opinions. Social networks are also a good place to read and gain more insight about a game that you didn’t have the change to play yet. The best thing to do is obviously to sign up to become a beta tester, nothing is better than that.

I hope that we’ll see more companies giving the option to try out the game prior to buying it (aka trial), but most companies do so only to encourage more sales long after the game is released.

In competitive online games, gamers feel its essential, and in many cases it is, to jump to to wagon first. They do that to gain an advantage over their competitors and also to be able to show off their achievement to others, this is part of the fun. This is why for certain type of games, it’s important for many gamers to buy the game on day-1, and not after reviews are released. Seeing other people progressing while you still not even having the game can put you off from buying it. It’s like revealing the end of the movie — doesn’t feel good. As I said, it’s only for certain type of games and it depends on the individual.

The timing also plays a significant role. I assume that many people planned buying a game that was planned to be released at the holiday season/Christmas and they certainly don’t want to delay buying the game to a month after. This is also a time that many popular console titles are released. The prices goes down and therefore many people buy games that otherwise they would have waited for those to be reviewed. People are less patience about spending money and are more stimulated to buy new things for them or for people close to them.

My personal recommendation to you is to wait for the first reviews before buying the game. This is unless your feel that you might pass it if you don’t start playing early and if you don’t mind taking “a risk”. There are many cool games to play now and many others are on their way.