I’ll admit I’m not a patient man, a bad personality trait to have when dealing with the endless hype machine that powers upcoming video game releases. Thankfully, I live in NYC, where there are still a few independently owned game stores, the best part of which is their general willingness to break street dates. I’m not up to snuff on what the legalities of street dates are, but I know that independent stores are doing what they can to survive the crushing boot heel of Amazon, GameStop & Best Buy.
I’m fortunate to live midway between two such stores and am generally able to pick up new games the Friday before they are released (generally Tuesday is new game day, with the odd exception, like Skyrim, released to coincide with 11.11.11), Monday at the latest. I’d support the independent stores regardless (shop local!) but the willingness to slide me games early definitely keeps me coming back. A partial list of games I’ve gotten early:
– Rage, inFamous, inFamous 2 , Uncharted 2, Uncharted 3, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Mass Effect 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Fallout: New Vegas, UFC Undisputed…
(Craigslist is also worth checking starting the Friday before new games are released; you never know what’s going to appear.)
Which brings me to my point: I fully expected to just stroll on in to either of my locals, pick up a copy of Max Payne 3 and be bullet timing people in the face, no sweat. So much to my chagrin, NOBODY had an early copy. I called around to all five of my usual spots and nothing. So is this the new trend? Broken street dates are now a no-go? The owner of one of the shops I frequent once said “GameStop is cracking down on early releases”; what does GameStop have to do with it? Do they really wield that much power? Yet when Mass Effect 3’s release rolled around, I was in the store and told, “Jimmy* is on his way back from the distributor now with a limited supply for each console.” So it would seem that the distributor themselves are the ones who decide who gets what when. Adding another layer to the mystery is that GameStop often has games the Friday before release date to make sure order fulfillment**; so if they aren’t even apart of the distribution system serving the independents what could Jimmy possibly be talking about?
I hope to look into this in greater depth in a future post. Stay tuned for that, but for now, know that my Early Acquisition streak has smashed up against the rocky shores of an Unattainable Copy of Max Payne 3.
Max Payne (PS3) – Acquired early? NO.
*Pseudonym; also I don’t know his real name. His real name might actually be Jimmy.
**This is just conjecture on my part. Based on me acquiring an early copy of Fallout: New Vegas with a sticker on it that read “D0 Not Sell Until October 19, 2010”; I bought my copy on October 15th, 2010. I knew it had come from a GameStop after I opened the game when I got home because the pre-order bonus gear matched with the bonus being offered at GS.