Why Do Fans Camp Out For Game Releases?

Die hard video game fans camped out overnight to be the first owners of Destiny - but why do they do it?

This week fans queued for more than 24 hours outside the Game store in London's Stratford for their chance to own the first copies of blockbuster space shoot ‘em up 'Destiny'.

Camping out for video game launches has become a bit of a tradition. But now that you can download games right to your console, why do people still do it?

We spoke to a number of fans who have camped out for a game launch and why they did it.

“I am queuing for my son”

Hip hop producer and MC Csaba Toth, 38, who queued for more than 24 hours for this week's launch of 'Destiny' was doing it for his son.

“I am queuing now so my son Andre can be the first in the queue,” says Toth.

“He deserves it. The last time I queued was the PlayStation 4 launch. I was second in line. I came earlier this time so my son could be first.”
“I used to be a diehard PlayStation fan and now my son is too,” Toth says. “I don't have as much time to play any more but I'm here to support and encourage him because he's a teenager so he wouldn't be able to queue on his own.”

“It's an incredible feeling to be first in the queue with my son and wife. I can't wait to go home and play this masterpiece of a game,” says Toth, who also met some of the developers of the science fiction title.

To pay homage to their idols

Speaking to Toth, and the people just behind him in the queue, it’s clear that people queue partially to pay homage to their gaming idols. Bungie (who were also behind the hit series 'Halo') are legends in the gaming world and fans are prepared to wait in the hope of meeting members of the team.

Toth says, “I am here to show some support to Activision, PlayStation and Bungie. It means a lot to me to get to meet the team too.”

"Meeting celebs"

Blaine Smith, 25, from Bedford, secured his place in the queue for PlayStation 4 by pre-ordering months in advance, and then queuing through the night late last year.  

“Despite queuing through the night I went straight home, set it up and started playing immediately…I just couldn’t wait any longer!” he said the next day.

His reward for his months-long wait was to be handed his console by rapper Tinie Tempah, a keen gamer who describes the hobby as “a release” from the pressures of touring and recording, and Sony’s British CEO Andrew House.

The 'Destiny' launch saw celebs such as Tinie Tempah (again), Sophie Ellis Bextor and Professor Green greeting gamers who had queued for hours.

For the status

Michael Grintuch, 33, who works for a travel company, says, “I think people queue for the status mostly. If you're in the top five the excitement is around prizes and giveaways for people that are giving up their time.”

Grintuch admits that he has previously queued for four 'Call of Duty' games. He too has queued for more than 24 hours, being beaten into second place by Toth, who started his vigil at 7pm the previous night.

Others near the front of the queue admit to having taken a week off work to play the game: and one boasted, “If you want me for the next 72 hours, I’ll be on my couch.”

Game routinely stages such midnight launch parties for the year’s “big” game releases (the 'Call of Duty' and 'Halo' franchises, for instance, any update to 'World of Warcraft'), as well as consoles such as PlayStation 4.

'Destiny' certainly qualifies: with a budget rumoured to be bigger than any previous game, it’s made by the creators of the multi-billion-pound franchise 'Halo'.

“I wanted to be the first”

Matthew Carr, 24, who queued for the launch of 'Halo 4' says, “It is part of the hype. Gaming is a collective thing, it's not about the single player anymore you go online to share the experience with people and you come to midnight launches for the same reason.”

“It's good banter and good fun. There's a bit of prestige involved in it because gaming is about being on top, being the best, being the first.”

"I didn't pre-order"

Imran Chowdri, 21 had not pre-ordered, so had to queue for three entire days to get his hands on a console.

He said, “It was always my goal to try and be one of the first people to get hold of a PS4 and I am so happy to have now achieved that. I didn’t get a chance to pre-order before they sold out.

“I decided I just had to get down here, it certainly takes a lot of commitment and it’s been a very cold wait – but it all feels worth it to be able to walk away with my PS4”.

“You get free stuff”

Fans are know to camp out for midnight launches as there are often free merch on offer. This can be anything from t-shirts, posters, goody bags and SOMETIMES a free console.

For example, last night Toth and his son were given a free PS4 for their troubles. At £350 a pop, that's not bad going.

Taylor Pelling, 19, who queued for five entire days for 'Call of Duty: Black Ops II' in 2012.

Taylor brought a tent to HMV Oxford Street in London (since closed), and was thought to be the first in the world to queue. The Twickenham student said that staff in store gave him food and hot drinks and let him use the lavatory. Probably best that they did that though really.