Devil’s Advocate: Preorders


So, some time ago I wrote a piece about the negatives of preordering. How it was a blight upon the gaming/commercial community, how it offers nothing and just leaves peoples’ pockets empty. So I think it’s only fair that I come back to this topic, and instead, offer some potential positives to preordering. I mean, Hell, I did it for years, and on rare occasion, I still do. There is one major positive though. Video games as a hobby, unless you only play F2P games and almost never spend money on them? It’s effing expensive! Games are typically sixty bucks and some change, consoles are hundreds of dollars. Now I know some people aren’t bothered by that because they make more than comfortable living. That or they have secondary income from their live streams, or whatever they do for a living and can just pick up a few titles a month without it harming them. That or they just make tons of money and that’s their vice. It’s not a bad vice to have! So what’s the solution? You put some money down each paycheck on a game you really want. Five bucks here, ten bucks there. The money you would have spent on sodas, fast food, or whatever other things you want.

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This is not money that is spent on important things, not money for bills. This is the spare money to help you quit smoking, quit drinking so much soda, et cetera. This means that when the game comes out in a couple of months, you can just walk in the door, get the game, and leave! Could you put that five dollar pre-order on something else? You could, but you are absolutely under no pressure to, despite what others might say. But that’s not the only pro. Say that you are a fan of more niche games, not popular titles that are pretty damn hard to come by. Or huge titles that are going to sell out day one. It applies to both of these. You pre-order it, and you’re guaranteed a copy when you walk in the door, provided you’ve paid for it [or are going to pay for it when you arrive]. Now, you might be saying “You should always be guaranteed a copy!” but that’s just not reality. Physical copies of games cost money, and stores won’t always get bucketfuls of each game. When I worked at Gamecrazy there were some games we literally only received copies of that were preorders. Dark Void, we received a whopping total of four copies. Now, it wasn’t a great game, but that’s not the point.

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It’s also all but necessary for “special editions” or limited runs. Do you want that shiny, PS1 version of the PS4? You should not expect there to be 50 of them on the shelf outside of preorders. There might be five, ten. And in a busy area, you can kiss it goodbye. Or be willing to spend three times its retail value on eBay. Or consoles with limited runs like the NES Classic. How much are those going for on eBay now? A ludicrous figure, that’s what. So when you have the money, you put some down, and when it goes live, you have it. No struggling or praying that it will be available a day after launch. You have yours guaranteed. Hell, you can even preorder digital games on Steam and stuff now. But I believe you have to front the whole cost up front and that’s not so great for me. Not to mention that while it does suck that some content only comes with a pre-order, it is, generally speaking, decent content. That’s not always the case, but you know.. people are assholes. So with that in mind, Pre-orders are not such a bad thing. I don’t really do it all that often anymore, but I would be remiss if I didn’t eventually offer some positives, instead of simply ranting about something in the corporate swamp, the wasteland that is video game stores these days.

Which side of the fence are you on?

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  • Dale A Ginger-Riquelme

    At this point I will only preorder games from companies with a proven track record. CD Projekt Red and Creative Assembly. Total War Warhammer and The Witcher 3 were both good enough their immediate next title would be eligible for preorder, outside of that nope. Got burned with No Man’s Sky, and that was the last straw.

    And I do recognize that stores will only stock X so many physical games, but digital distribution is a very different beast than when you worked games retail, now if you have a specific need for a physical copy on day one, sure go ahead, but that is a minority of gamers compared to how they are pushed by developers.

    If people could return physical copies of inferior games then there would be no issue with preorders, but with the buyer beware culture we have with video games and other anti consumer practices like that….yeah, personally I cant support preorders in the current state of the industry. Gating content behind preorders is disgusting.