You see that guy up there? He bought an iPad on day one. That wasn’t a mistake. The first iPad lasted a nice amount of time and was a really good product for being the first in a series of high tech tablet devices. Now, he is what we would call an early adopter. An early adopter is someone who bites into the hype, marketing, or just generally has a “need” for a product. They buy something so early without proven results or reviews to back their fancy. I guess you could call it a leap of faith in the technology world.
The term early adopter isn’t just for tech, though. It has been a staple of the technology world since things got really interesting with home computers. Ever since, tech products have lived and died by the early adopter craze and the hear-say from those initial buyers. After all, conventions like CES, SXSW, E3, and TGS are all about showing off new hard- and software to get a buzz going. You may get excited about something but somewhere out there is someone who just can’t wait another day without this newfangled device or game.
I am an early adopter. I have been since I was able to start guilt tripping my parents into buying that new game or the new Nintendo machine. It hasn’t stopped, either. A bulk of my hard earned money has gone towards devices that are new and unproven. Have I been scorned by this? Oh yes. Did I care? Not enough to quit buying early. So what has changed? This generation of gaming devices, including the new handhelds, have really shown me just how badly I get burned on buying early. This gen has showed me that I need to stop caring about “day 1″ or mentally created needs. I have to stop being an early adopter.
Here is a list of devices that I was an early adopter for:
- Sega CD (ouch…)
- Sega Channel
- Dreamcast (I loved this thing…)
- Sega Saturn (ggrrrrrr….)
- PlayStation 1
- iPod (hard drive broken after a 2 inch drop)
- Windows ME (worst. mistake. ever.)
- Windows XP (burned until SP1)
- Helio Mobile (hah. oh wow I almost forgot I bought into this)
- Android (HTC G1, great phone but outclassed almost immediately)
- Android Tablets (Motorola Xoom…way too expensive and outclassed quickly)
- Windows Phone (no dev support at the beginning, great mobile OS though)
- PlayStation 2
- Xbox 360 (surprisingly my near-launch unit lasted me two years until the disc drive died)
- PlayStation 3 (60gb yellow lighted after a year)
- PSP (bought into the hype for the 1000, 2000, and the 3000…)
- PSP Go (what a wasted opportunity)
- Nintendo DS
- 3DS (no dev support at the beginning, lost my Ambassador status when I sold it)
- Vita (amazing launch, ghostly “75 games” in production)
The ones that I commented about I either got burned on in some shape or form or sometihng better came out that made my purchase invalid.
I won’t go terribly into the other tech since this is supposed to be about gaming. I want to talk about the PSP first, though. I bought the PSP about three weeks after it launched. I got it with Metal Gear Acid and Coded Arms. I was so psyched with it. Thing was, it took a bit for the games really start hitting the shelves. Think about the current Vita problem but unlike that, devs were actually showing off new PSP games that were hitting soon after. I know that being an early adopter is a decision made by the buyer and therefore I eat my expenditures. That and hardware refreshes are things that just happen as tech gets better and hardware pieces can get smaller. Though you shouldn’t have to buy a new model of the same device because of new functionality. I owned every version of the PSP except this new Euro-only model. In fact, after I got rid of both my PSP Go and PSP-3000 and left the system, I went back a couple years later to replay some old hits with another bought 3000 model. That totals four PSP’s bought and owned by me.
Once again, I know, my money and my problem. As I look back, though, I think “wow I did that…” I did the same with the DS as its hardware refreshes actually added plenty to want over the previous model(s).
I did it again with the 3DS and Vita. I bought a launch 3DS and just about two or three weeks after Ocarina of Time 3D came out, I realized that the system was faltering and dev support was no where to be found. Then I heard about the price drop and I sold mine for $40 under the original price to some woman at a GameStop before I wouldn’t have been able to get crap for it. Then I got excited about the Vita. I spent a ton of money on the First Edition bundle and about 9 games. Not fully out of pocket but enough of it was. I played the thing through the rest of February and into mid-March and then just stopped. It hasn’t been touched since except to update it and then put it back down.
I praised the Vita in my review and talk about launch titles. I truly believe the Vita had the best selection of launch games in gaming history. At least here and in Europe, the titles appealed to a wide variety of gamers. Plus, the first two weeks after the launch was filled with titles. Then it got dry and now we barely get anything. There are apparently 75 games in development but with how the Vita is selling, don’t you think it would be a good idea to show them off? Even just title screen splashes in a commercial!
My point is, this past gaming generation has taught me to finally stop caring about launches and stop caring about proven results. I’m not going to be that type of person that waits too long and then says, “oh I’ll just wait for the next model.” That I find to be too extreme. I like to support technology and watch it grow. I’m not a hardware wizard but it is something that I find fascinating. Smartphones are actually something of a hobby of mine. I research them and read all about the specs, new processors, upcoming tech, and anything else my searches come up with. Tech is a wondrous and rapidly growing piece of the world. I know people say it all the time but just 20 years ago we were looking at the Super Nintendo and Genesis coming our way. Now we’re seeing tech demos for things like the Luminous Engine. Then I think back to how much of the gaming world I’ve owned at launch and I almost puke at the amount of money I’ve spent.