Is this the golden age of video games? From a consumer perspective, it might not be too difficult. Yes, it’s DLC, Season Passes, and Microtransaction times. But for gamers, it’s also an age of abundance. With Steam sales, subscription services, and tons of packages, it’s easy to get hundreds games that you haven’t even installed, let alone play.
Sitting hugely behind video games can be frustrating and seem like a real challenge, but there are constructive ways to deal with this first world challenge, so you spend more time playing games than how many games you still have to play.
Play Subscription Access Games First
These days, you can access large libraries of games by paying a subscription fee. Microsoft has Game Pass, EA has Origin Access, and you can bet there will be many more on the horizon. Something like EA Origin Access can be a great way to play tons of games that would cost hundreds of dollars to buy directly. Often, an annual subscription costs the same as one AAA game in the library.
The problem is that we tend to get into the habit of paying for a subscription to access a game and then not playing any of those games, just like we can’t play any of the games in our own magazines.
Therefore, it makes sense to list which games included in the subscription you really want to play. Complete them first and then unsubscribe until new games are added that you really want to play.
Prioritize your library according to interest
Browsing a large list of games in your game launcher of choice can be daunting, but the only way to constructively deal with the paralysis of choice from so many options is to damage the herd a little. First, open any spreadsheet.
Then list all your games and start over from the beginning. Give each game a rating out of ten, with ten being a game you are very interested in playing and one being a game you are not interested in. Go through the entire list once. Don’t waste time agonizing – use your intuition about the game to win.
Then rank your games by score, from highest to lowest. Then remove from the list any games that score less than seven out of ten. This should be a much shorter list of games. Think of it as your current or priority non-performance and play and complete these games first. You can always go back to discarded games by ticking them off on your list – if ever.
Prioritize your games according to time
If you followed the advice above, you will have a list of games that you are very interested in. But in what order should you play them?
If you don’t have a particular preference, it makes sense to reproduce them from the shortest time to the longest. Playing games that end faster means you can cross them off your list faster. It also means that as you get to the bottom of the list where there are more games, you will have fewer outstanding games to distract you.
Is figuring out how long a game is going to be like a chore? Luckily, we have HowLongToBeat, a site that keeps track of the average time it takes players to complete a game. It is a great tool and invaluable asset when it comes to backlog.
Buy games offered at a reduced price only from your Wishlist
Gamers love and fear the emergence of massive online sales of digital games. These sales use several powerful persuasion tricks to get you money, and this is one of the main reasons people have such long delays.
The easiest way to deal with this problem is to spend some time in between sales building a wishlist. The games you really want to play will of course be the ones you buy shortly before launch at full price. Wishlist games are usually the ones that you really want to play but don’t feel the need to play now or aren’t willing to pay the full launch cost. Rate the games on your wishlist by how much you want to play them.
Now, when the next sale arrives, only buy discounted games from your wishlist. This way, you only end up spending money on games you’re likely to play, not cheap impulse buy games that won’t even make it to your hard drive.
Don’t give in to the sunk-cost fallacy
There is a logical fallacy in psychology known as the sunk cost fallacy. Basically, this means that people take into account the time, money, and effort they have put into something when it comes to future decisions. In general, there is nothing wrong with this, but when none of this matters, it is a delusion.
In this case, you may feel the need to play or finish a game that you don’t like or no longer like because you spent a lot of money on it. This is one of the reasons the concerns about lagging are in the first place. The thing is, you’ve already bought these games. The money you spent on them is a sunk expense, whether you play them or not.
So the real question is whether you will enjoy playing them in the future, or will you enjoy playing something else instead. The money you have already spent on them is irrelevant to this decision.
Use the Backlog Administration Tool
The last tip is the hardest, but acknowledging the problem is an important step. To truly deal with the backlog in the game, you can use a third-party backlog management tool.
There are more than a few, but PC gamers will probably want to start with the Steam Backlog, which is one of the simplest and cleanest solutions. If you want to manage things outside of Steam, Backloggery is a great place to start.