I don't typically write many gaming related blogs, but this is something I recently thought about again and felt it should be blogged. I'll admit my title might be confusing, so I'll try to clear it up.
Basically, those with a PS3 and/or 360 know they have a centralized friend list. We are able to send messages to friends, have chats with them, see what games they are playing (sometimes exactly what they are doing in the game), and so on. The key is seeing what games friends are playing.
In previous generations, I rarely bought a game on release. Most of the time I waited for the price to drop unless I could see the game becoming rare quick (like some ATLUS RPGs), or if the game was beyond huge to me (such as a new Final Fantasy or particular RPG series, since I felt the only genre worth spending $40-$50 on was RPGs). As much as I love Ratchet & Clank and other games, I waited until Christmas or when I could get a good deal on them. I didn't feel compelled to buy games so fast because at a few points I didn't post in forums much (like when I was busy with college stuff), and I really never knew what games friends were playing unless they told me.
This generation the time has changed. When I turn on my PS3 and 360, I see what friends of mine are online and what games they are playing. If a new game comes out (whether it be download or retail), I tend to see a few friends playing it. Many times I'll send them a message asking what they think of it. If they enjoy the game, there's a good chance I'm going to rush out and buy the game too. Sometimes I get a small discount, while other times I paid MSRP for it since I just couldn't be left out. Downloads I'll buy 80% of the time if I see friends playing it and I hear good times. Friends playing games in genres I ignored over the years (such as FPS, RTS, etc.), I might end up buying them now strictly because I see friends playing them. What really pushes me to buy a game early is if I see my friends playing it online and want me to join them. Even if it's not a game I'm too excited over, I'll most likely buy because I want to play with my friends, and don't want to wait too late when the community dies down or people get too skilled for me to compete online. Also, with trophies and achievements, sometimes I want to buy a game and compete with my friends with trophies/achievements. I also just love the ability of knowing what my friends play and chatting with them a little. Also fun putting a short message above our name saying how we feel, what's going on, and so on. Since most of my friends are on PS3 (I have 94 friends compared to 63 XBL friends), that's a big reason as to why I buy the PS3 version of many games.
I'm blogging this now because on Christmas Day, I noticed many of my friends got Assassin's Creed II. While I hear the game is awesome, I haven't cared much about it since it isn't really my type of game, never liked a Ubi Soft Montreal game (not a Splinter Cell or Prince of Persia fan). However, when I come across a deal, there's a very high chance I'll buy the game since I see my friends playing it earning trophies/achievements. I'm also not that big of an FPS fan, but I was heavily compelled to buy MW2 because I knew many of my PS3 friends were playing it. With many of my XBL friends I never had the chance to play games get it too, made me buy it on 360 also. I've been tempted to buy Borderlands because some of my friends are playing online and stuff (some want someone to play with). I beyond can't stand Bioware's games (they aren't bad, just don't appeal to me), but I was tempted to buy Mass Effect and Dragon Age all because I see friends playing it. As much as I dislike certain Valve employees (well, mostly Gabe Newell I don't like), I even bought Left 4 Dead 2 due to friends. Overall, I could say I bought 2X-3X more games than I should because of friends, and I probably spent 3-5X more on games than I should due to friends. Even while I was unemployed, I went the route of buying fewer games at a higher price just because I'd be playing along with my friends, instead of staying behind.
I also like how friends can keep me up to date as far as what beta tests are going on and what demos are up. On PS3 especially, its fun playing some Japanese demo and having tons of friends send me a message asking me what I'm playing, lol. I'm tempted to see if the PSP mini's games I played on PS3 showed friends what I was playing. If they do, you better bet I may buy more of them.
Due to PS3/360 spoiling me, unless I'm playing my PSP (when I'm away, in the bathroom, or just want to lay in bed playing games), I just can't play anything else. If my PSP did show friends what I was playing (hopefully PSP2 does), I'd constantly be playing it. My PS2 has probably only been played a few times this year. I never used the PS2 BC on my 20GB PS3 because its no fun playing PS2 games on PS3 when my friends can't see what games I'm playing (I also can't see friends sign on/off of PSN). With PS1 games, I can at least see my friends sign on/off of PSN (which makes it a tad easier for me to play a PS1 game), but they still can't see what games I'm playing. I ended up selling a bunch of PS2 games all because I just have no interests to play them anymore, even if they are really good (because my friends can't see what I play on when using my PS2 console). While I don't like to hate on the Wii like some people (since it has some fun games), not being able to have a buddy list seeing what games friends are currently playing has really hurt it. I tend to buy a game, play it once, and not compelled to play it again. Partially because I feel I'm playing with friends when I can see what games they are playing, and its fun sending messages back and forth between friends when playing games. If my Wii had a buddy list like my PS3/360 (seeing what games friends are playing), I'd probably give it tons more support than I currently do. I definitely can't play any other older console because of the centralized buddy list.
Anyway, anyone else tend to buy more PS3 and/or 360 games than they should because of friends? Anyone else buy games sooner than expected because of friends (whether its to play them online or just seeing people play it)? It seems like Microsoft and Sony purposely did this to make people want to buy more games.
I honestly feel I'm not the only one who gets influenced buying games because of friends.