Five Video Games I Can't Believe You Can Pre-Order

Once upon a time I felt as though pre-ordering a video game was a helpful consumer service but nowadays? With a handful of exceptions pre-ordering video games is all about serving your corporate overlords by informing retailers and publishers of demand and the impact of marketing campaigns. Well, there's that and there's the whole getting hype thing.

Don't get me wrong — I don't think pre-ordering video games is necessarily a bad thing. I've done it plenty of times. I pre-ordered Metal Gear Solid IV, I pre-ordered Halo 2. There's something a little satisfying about knowing that a video game you are anticipating has been bought and paid for. It's sort of like 'aaaaaaaaaah'. It's like ticking boxes. Sometimes it feels good to just scratch things off a list.



It's gone too far. The scary thing about pre-ordering video games is that consumers have very few rights when it comes to getting money back when it all goes arse up. If a retailer goes belly up, you're at the bottom of the list when it comes to creditors. Pre-ordering is definitely a thing you want to do selectively.

Particularly when the chances of games actually selling out in stores is slim. Most of the time games sell out because they are not traditional blockbusters and retail has underestimated demand. Luigi's Mansion 2 is a good example. That game was tough to find. Grand Theft Auto V? Sure it sold out day one, but that's the exception and Rockstar was quick to get units in store.

It's crazy. And the thing that irritates me most is stores taking pre-orders for games that barely exist or — worse — haven't even been announced yet!

With that said. Here are the five games I actually can't believe you can pre-order.

Halo Xbox One Working Title (Xbox One)

Okay, here's an idea. If a game doesn't have a proper, official name yet. Maybe you shouldn't be offering it up for pre-orders. It's called Halo Xbox One Working Title on the EB Games website for God's sake!

All we've seen of Halo 5, or Halo: [INSERT SUB-TITLE HERE] is a CGI trailer. That's it. Master Chief wearing a rag to cover his helmeted, robotic face from the desert winds for some reason.

This game exists. Barely. It just about exists. Of course a new Halo is being worked on, of course it will be released at some point. But we have no idea what that game looks like. We know literally nothing about it!


Uncharted (PS4)

A picture of ye olde maps moving around, all animated and shit. A mention of Nathan Drake's name. A moody voiceover. Mystery. Intrigue.

50 seconds of nothing. Guys — IT'S NOTHING.

Pre-order NAOW!

Devil's Third (360)

Recent news informs us this game is still being worked on. Despite absolutely nothing being shown since goddamn years ago. Literally years ago.

Does this game still exist? Does anyone have any idea what it looks like at this stage, what it plays like? I faintly remember Tomonobu Itagaki going on about military powers and whatnot when I interviewed him YEARS AGO about this game, but I still know next to nothing about this game.

Are people really pre-ordering this? Apparently it's 80% complete. But man, there is just no information about the kind of shape this game will take at all.

Pre-order plz.

Mirror's Edge 2 (Xbox One/PS4/PC)

I almost forgive this one. The original was a cult game. The sequel is highly anticipated. It's a game we didn't really expect to get. For those reasons I can sort of understand why people might want to pre-order this and, hence, why some retailers are accepting pre-orders for it.

But no. The key word here is almost. Who knows if this game will even get finished. Who knows when we'll even get our first glimpse of gameplay? Seriously. At the moment this game is just an idea. It's an idea based on our collective love for an under-appreciated video game. Mirror's Edge 2 as we hope it will eventually become does not even exist yet.

It's just an idea.


The Legend Of Zelda (Wii U)

This one is easily the worst. Easily.

As far as we're concerned this video game literally does not exist. There has been no announcement. No game footage. No real discussion of the game. Nothing. NADA.

Of course we all know that a Zelda is coming on the Wii U. But come on! Pre-ordering? Now?




What are your thoughts on pre-ordering? Anyone pre-ordered the above games? Feel free to defend yourself below!


    How are EB even still in business?

      By taking preorder money for games that don't exist.

        It's all about the cash flow. $10 on a pre-order is $10 they now have.

        It's apparently how some major laptop manufacturers make money (the major ones that build to order at least). They sell you a laptop, you pay immediately, they deliver in 2 weeks, but they don't pay their supplier for 60 days. They then proceed to invest the money you've paid before using it to settle supplier costs. They have to do this because the consumer grade laptops typically are sold at a loss to keep the prices down.

          I heard banks do that too. When you transfer money (mainly via EFT) and it takes a few days (3-5) it's the bank using your money on the stock exchange to try and make more money for them, then they transfer it to its destination account. Pretty sneaky. Apparently St George do it a lot, but other banks probably do it as well.

            Must be the smaller ones. I've always had transfers clear overnight.

              Larger banks are probably using high frequency trading systems, so they only need one night to turn a profit off your transfer. There's no technical reason why your transactions can't clear within a minute, unless there's serious network issues.

              I know St George does it, but not sure about others.

            that's how places like ING earn their money - the money you use is reinvested in the stock market

            I know every EFT I've done between St George and the Commonwealth Bank, in either direction, has shown up in the destination account on the morning of the next business day.

            Cheque clearances used to be notorious for the delay in clearing, but most people use EFT/BPay/credit cards these days. I think it's been three or four years since I last wrote a cheque.

            This is true. I used to work for a large money gathering security company that did this everyday.

            Regarding all the people saying "I get overnight transfers", I'm betting those are actually just IOUs between the banks- the big banks trust each other enough to accept that money is coming, but the "real" money doesn't clear for a little while. The whole finance industry is based on pretend money (which is the reason for the whole global recession thing, too many people were playing with too much pretend money and it didn't actually appear).

            I'm not a finance-talking-guy so that's just a guess though.

            Last edited 06/01/14 9:37 pm

      Are you high? Eb's market share is usually above 60-80 percent on most titles and consoles, sometimes falling below 40 percent depending on the time of year, and it's only getting bigger.

        You really think that JB, Target, Kmart, Big W, Dick Smith and others only represent 20%? I ask you good sir, who in fact is high?

      pre-owned games and consoles. They give you maybe $5 for a game that they'll then slap a $80 price tag on and put back up on the shelf.

      Was in there yesterday. A kid about 17 years old was trading in an Xbox 360 with a stack of 20-ish games. I could tell you how much he was offered for those items, but the entire internet would sigh in anguish and we'd be without cat videos and Brazilian porn for weeks. Alas, I must endure this horrific knowledge alone for the sake of everybody.

    The pre-orders are extra useless when you consider that all of these games will be day on digital on their respective platforms (once we know they actually exist of course), which removes the presumed launch scarcity which is what the whole "pre-order" system is meant to save you from.

      As long as retail prices remain cheaper than digital prices, there's always a benefit of buying from a store, and preordering to ensure you get it day one remains a useful option.

        Buy from places like gamersgate that don't slap an aussie/non US tax on them.

      I'm with videk.
      It's only been with recent sales that some games on Steam have fallen below what I can purchase it for at EB or JB.
      Then there is the cost & time of downloading a multiple GB game vs installing off a BD or DVD

      I'd also add "Day One" can sometimes be US time for electronic downloads, by which time, some retailers may have "forgotten" about an embargo, and shipped early.

      Not everyone has a spare 35gb+, also some people want to play the game the day it comes out. Good luck with that with anything but super fast internet.

        Pretty much any game worth its salt on steam will have a preload of a few days before its actuall release so your whole point of good luck playing a game on its release day with anyhting but superfast internet is moot

    Are The Last Guardian preorders still a thing?

      Heh. I was expecting that to be on the list, and also Half Life 3.

    anyone else notice the theme of all the links?? they're all EB Games... its an absolute joke how they do this sort of thing, best thing people can do is NOT pre-order any of them and see if they get the message to stop taking the piss

    The only games I preorder now are ones that are launching on Steam the next day and I want to pre-load them.

    That's it. Even then, that's not an amazingly compelling reason.

    Haha yeah pretty much if it gets an official announcement that it's in development, you can preorder it. You can also preorder last guardian and kingdom hearts 3...

    Finally played Mirrors Edge. Hated it. I don't see what better graphics will do to help a sequel - some major game mechanic changes are going to have to happen.

      Early in the game, there's an emphasis on just running away from combat. As the game goes on, combat becomes harder to avoid. Really, the only way to avoid it is to know where you're going.

      If they worked on that, on keeping combat as a punishment while having level design that made it possible for people to avoid it, I think ME2 will become a pretty good game. If there is more emphasis on combat than the first, then I'm going to be very disappointed.

      Mirror's Edge also had one of the best first person perspectives of any recent game. You weren't just a camera with a gun taking up part of your FOV. Hell, your focus changed when climbing over the edge of a wall. That was a really neat touch.

        God, I loved Mirror's Edge. I think it's time for a replay.

          Yep, loved it. Loved the art style, big brother storyline (the concept of secure information being transmitted via pen and paper in a future where digital communications are impossible to secure suddenly seems obvious thanks to recent revelations, but at launch it was still a fringe conspiracy theory), loved the characters, only complaint was that it was too short and maybe a few more free running techniques would have made players feel a bit more like those YouTube Parkour superstars we all want to emulate!

          Last edited 06/01/14 12:06 pm

    I know JB are taking preorders for FFXV, Kingdom Hearts 3 and Super Smash Bros Wii U/3DS. Which is pretty lol.

    Last edited 06/01/14 11:44 am

      At least Super Smash Bros has a 2014 release date. The other two, god knows when we'll ever get them.

    At least they are, for now, resisting the urge to allow pre-orders for DLC season passes. That decision really must have caused some headscratching up at EB HQ.

    I really need to get the $10 back I had down on Halo for PS2 at EB Belconnen.

    Preordering is such a goddamn cop out. To ensure you get a game on release, you have to give EB a portion of the amount needed to buy said game (usually at their inflated prices) which then will proceed to sit in a bank account somewhere making them interest.

    Worst part is in most cases regarding new release games, EB will only get in around enough to cover the preorders and maybe one or two extras just so they can say, "well you should have pre-ordered" when you go in on launch day hoping to buy it. Sadly due to the whole issue with the PS4 launch and preorders literally wiping out all units across practically every retailer, EB will have reason to spruik the 'benefits' of preordering for ages to come.

    Doesn't pre-order AAA games from EB, pledges to games on Kickstarter. (Or Steam Early Access)

      There is a fundamental difference between these two. One was at least in the beginning a method for ensuring you could get the game at launch that was already in production(though it's now just been converted to a method of boosting retailer revenue though preorder bonus items), the other is putting money towards something that without said money probably would not exist.

      Steam Early Access gets you something. Kickstarter and 'preorder' gets you nothing, until it is delivered.

      Most AAA games aren't available for Early Access.

      And there's an awful lot of Early Access titles that, frankly, aren't very good. Of the several Early Access titles I've bought, I've found at least half to be unplayable, with no clear sign that they would *ever* become playable.

      Really, what it comes down to is: Don't preorder. You don't know what you'll be getting; you will probably be able to buy it more cheaply if you wait; and if the game sucks, you have the option to spend your money on something else.

      The only rational reason to preorder is if there's a limited-quantity special edition. (For example, the Collectors Edition for Tales of Xillia sold out on preorder several months before the game was released.)

    and after Halo 4, who would pre-order the next Halo? lol

    As for Mirror's Edge 2, I'm actually worried about what they're going to do with it. I know it's easy to rip on EA but if Mirror's Edge 2: Modern Warfare comes out I honestly wouldn't be surprised. With microtransactions. Always online servers...

    I remember back when GAME was still a thing I had 10 bucks on Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. I lost that 10 bucks when they closed down, which wasn't too bad. Especially compared to people who had pre-ordered and paid in full for Diablo 3. All that money just "didn't exist" anymore. Now-a-days I only pre-order games to fully show my support or get a limited edition that will most likely have extra copies a couple of weeks after release.

    Currently have Dark Souls 2 and Castlevania 2 pre-ordered.

      EA doesn't control DICE in the way you think they do. This is their baby. They've wanted to make a sequel all this time, but have been too busy putting out Battlefield releases (which are very manpower intensive to create).

      Understanding that relationship is key to understanding that it would always get made, and it will be a faithful sequel. The most likely problems are that it might get rushed, or not contain a large amount of content ... and both of those are unlikely.

    You guys realize pre-ordering is a choice, not a necessity? You won't die if you don't do it. In saying that though, I do find these Old Man Serrels rants quite amusing. I picture him as the neighborhood grump that all the kids are scared of. His front yard is a ball and toy graveyard because, the neighbor kids are deathly afraid to press the buzzer on the gate, let alone climb the 3 meter high iron bar monstrosity for the sake of a tennis ball or frisbee.

      Depends on if you want special editions or not. I wanted the GTAV Collectors on day one (I get all R* collectors edition games, massive fanboy) and the only way I could get it (day one) was my local EB where they were only getting 4 copies (of the collectors) for each system. $170 and 10 months later I have it. Got suckered by the Bioshock Infinite spec edition though.

    It's obvious Kotaku and EB have some sort of deal here. Continuously they are linking people to EB Games to spend their money. As for preordering, it makes it easier to buy games on release for customers because they have paid a deposit, obviously the stock is allocated for them and sometimes they get extras. If you're going to buy the game anyway why wouldn't you preorder but I don't like it when retailers like EB and obviously now their left hand that wipes Kotaku enforce it on the customers to preorder like propaganda. No doubt EB would be struggling and obviously follow whatever trends they can to stay alive. As for buying digitally, who wants to wait all that time to download something on launch? Why wouldn't you want a retail copy you can trade in or sell at a later date for some extra money? Digital is great and I love it but seriously why are people such trolls on here lol, I read kotaku on a daily basis and refuse to become a part of this disgusting community which makes me despise parts of something I love.

    Retailer wise - JB HIFI take care of me, their staff know 500% more than EB staff, their trade in values are better, their prices are better, if they can't help out on a price of a game which is rare they help me out on another product which EB certainly don't have.

    Everytime I go to EB I get ignored, they don't ask any common interest questions, they struggle to find what stock they actually have because its a mess, they ask for disc warranties that they can't fix (seems kinda like fraud?) and its never a pleasant experience. I work retail as well so I treat people in retail how I would want to be treated which is with respect and casual.

    Man, this is all beyond the point I was making haha. Anyway, don't scream at us to preorder junk that isn't probably gonna come out for like a year and direct customers to EB games of all places, poor form Kotaku

      Hey Bro I think you got a bit excited there. Maybe you should have read it a bit more he WAS saying that its stupid that retailers expect you to preorder a game based off a petty trailer video haha. Other from that, you nailed it on the head. EB Games can EADC

    In the wise words of Cartman

    I get that some of these do kind of sound ridiculous, but there is sometimes a point to preordering. I work for EB and the main reason people want to preorder is to get the big collector's editions. Aside from a select few exceptions that haven't sold particularly well/we've gotten thousands of copies of (erm, ACIV Buccaneer), collector's editions tend to sell out before release day- sometimes, even days or weeks after being announced. Stock isn't decided by us, it's decided by the publishers. We're allocated a certain amount of each edition and once it's gone, it's gone. That's it. Fact is, if you want to pick up a collector's on day one, the only way to do that is to preorder. And that's a pretty general thing, not just at EB.

    It's not for everyone, and it sure as shit isn't a perfect system, but the fact remains: if you don't like it, don't do it. Whinging won't solve a thing.

    JB are taking pre-orders for Star Wars Battlefront. Which is nice, but this year I'm not buying any games on launch let alone pre-ordering them.

      Ill never be preordering another EA title again. Not after the clusterf#ck BF4. I hope they dont screw up battlefront!

    Well... it makes sense to pre-order that Collector's Edition because most of the time they REALLY do sell out. Or to pre-order an niche title like Bravery Default, because when it comes to JRPGs in Australia, a lot of stores don't bring much stock in (3 copies per store). Yet, Bravery Default was sold on out in most stores from pre-orders ALONE! THAT TELLS YOU SOMETHING RIGHT?!

    Apart from Pokemon, LoZ, FF (Dragon Quest too?) and maybe the Tales series . Stores don't tend to overstock on JRPGs. (Pokemon still sold out, but they had WAY more than 3 copies per store).

    Last edited 06/01/14 2:17 pm

    Meh. I used to work at EB and we're told to ask every single customer three things in every transaction; pre orders, eb world and game guarantee. Probably 20% in my experience would agree to either one or two of the three. What ever did happen to just choosing not to? If their incessant questions get super-annoying, don't shop there or let them know. The worst thing they do is sell you second hand games as new. Because it helps their kpi performance, they'll quite often switch the game you asked for to a second hand version without telling you. I've had former co-workers do it to me from the store i used to work at, it's ridiculous and totally encouraged by the managers.

    Bravery Default? Some JRPG fan right there :)

      Haven't gotten around to playing it since I'm only allowed 1 game every 3 months. (Unless I secretly buy it and hide it somewhere, did you know you can still buy Valkyrie Chronicles BRAND NEW in the Melbourne Jb-Hi-Fi?) There was the Steam Sale, you get the idea. I would have gotten *check game list of 20 JRPGs* Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale during Steam Sale too if I was allowed to buy as many games as I wanted. (I would have only brought 2 games during the sale lol) Recettear was cheap enough anyway that I could get that at any time. (It was too good to pass up on Borderlands 2 GotY with the DLC added after for under $60.

    Remember at E3 when Sakurai casually mentioned he'd make a smash bros game for wii u and 3ds, and the next day there was pre--orders? that was nuts.

    My biggest hate is all the different versions of the same game! EB are horrible at slapping an "eb exclusive" eddition in your face, effectivly denying you any price matching.

      Nothing like a $2 piece of plastic and a Printer Quality A4 poster of a screen shot to make a game EB exclusive and immune from price Matching.

    The only reasons I preorder/prepurchase stuff is if I get a bargain (preorder discount plus GMG 25% off coupon is a hell of an incentive) or if its something I'll definitely get and I have the money spare so I might as well pay for it now so I can't forget to save the cash when it comes out

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