October 14, 2010

Pre-Orders.… a bad idea?


In recent years there has been a major push by pub­lish­ers, encour­ag­ing you to pre-order your games before they are released in stores or online.  Is pre-order­ing a game real­ly nec­es­sary and can it be harm­ful to you as the con­sumer?  The most com­mon argu­ments for pre-order­ing a title are a.)  You don’t ahve to wait in line or the game or even risk not being able to get it on day one of release b.) You will be giv­en a cou­ple spe­cial in game items such as extra weapons, pets, or maybe even a map c.) A dis­count­ed rate on the game if you pur­chase the title ear­ly. 
Hav­ing said this let’s take a look at some of the rea­son­ing for pre­order­ing start­ing with get­ting your title on day one.    Halo3 for exam­ple, was released at mid­night at a local Best Buy here in Lin­coln, NE, peo­ple were lined up out­side the store for the game.  The fol­low­ing day I went to pick up a copy of the title half expect­ing it to be sold out… much to my sur­prise their was stand after stand stocked full of Halo 3 copies.   While this may not be true at EVERY best buy across the coun­try I tend to think that it’s a fair­ly com­mon trend any­more for major releas­es for retail­ers to order large amounts of stock so they don’t miss out on any sales.  Pub­lish­ers also give you extra in game items such as a pet, extra maps, ear­ly beta access to upcom­ing title or even spe­cial weapons.  I have found in most cas­es the extra in game items you are giv­en tend to be worth­less and don’t get used at all dur­ing the course of the game.  There are some cas­es where you might actu­al­ly get a dis­count if you pre-order.  You don’t gen­er­al­ly see this for con­sole titles but you tend to see it more for dig­i­tal­ly dis­trib­uted games. 
The biggest prob­lem with pre-order­ing how­ev­er isn’t with the items list­ed above.  The biggest prob­lem is… What if the game sucks?  We have all done it at some point… we have been fol­low­ing a game that we have been excit­ed about for months and then when it final­ly is avail­able for pre-order you pounce on it.  The time for release comes and you go to read the reviews for the game and it is a com­plete let down, glitch graph­ics, sub par game play and has absolute­ly no redeem­ing qual­i­ties about it.  You get home with the game hop­ing that all of it is lies and you install it to find out the reviews were wrong… the game is actu­al­ly far worse then they said it was.  With­in a month the game is in the $5 bar­gain bin and you had just one month ear­li­er paid $60 for it.  You try to play through it but you just can’t and you reluc­tant­ly remove it from your PC, Xbox or PS3 and put it on the shelf to nev­er touch it again. There are sev­er­al games that have fol­lowed this exact trend: Medal of Hon­or, Space Siege, Gold­en­eye: Night­fire, Turn­ing Point: Fall of Lib­er­ty and the list goes on.  Does this mean pre-order­ing is bad?  No.  But it is some­thing to con­sid­er before you go blind­ly buy­ing some­thing before you know if it’s any good or not.

1 comment

  1. T8 - October 20, 2010 12:41 pm

    i will still always pre­order games by the com­pa­nies i trust have have loved for years (bliz­zard, valve, ect…) Part of the whole pre-order­ing expe­ri­ence is get­ting with friends the very sec­ond the game comes out and enjoy­ing some­thing new WITH the peo­ple you enjoy being around. I remem­ber the day L4D came out, there were 4 of us with the game already down­loaded at mid­night, nice­ly buzzed on dif­fer­ent drinks and ready to spend the whole night kick­ing zom­bie ass. Great times.

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