Stop Preordering Video Games

Stop Preordering Video Games

It seems like everywhere you look, a new video game is broken. Your time and your money deserve better.

So stop preordering video games.

This isn't the first time I've said this. It won't be the last. More than anything else — the advertising, the budgets, the DLC — it's the culture surrounding preorders that is most responsible for the trail of broken and unfinished games that clutter the sales charts, and for the anger and angst that follow in its wake.

There once was a time, 10-15 years ago, when the concept of pre-ordering made sense. Every video game on the market was pressed onto a disc, and those discs had to be manufactured, shipped and sold in a store. Often, due to demand, popular games would sell out, leading to frustrated customers (and lost profits for businesses).

Soon enough, though, companies like Gamestop and Amazon figured out that if you could pay for a game before it shipped, then you could avoid missing out. Publishers would have a better idea of how many boxes they'd actually need to ship, and customers could guarantee they'd get hold of the latest game as soon as it was released, avoiding the small but genuine heartache of a sold-out sign.

It was a good arrangement! At least, it was for a time. It didn't take long for publishers and retailers to realise, though, that once a customer put their money down for a game that wasn't finished, that customer was on the hook.

Usually, preordering the game only costs a percentage of the final price. You pay a small sum up front, and the full price when you pick up the game. You may think that by putting $US10 (or more!) down on a game you're interested in, you're reserving yourself a copy. Maybe getting some sweet Collector's Edition swag. But in the eyes of publishers, you're a guaranteed sale, regardless of what kind of state the game actually ships in once it's deemed finished.

This is a serious problem. There once was a time when, even moreso than advertising, video game reviews and word of mouth played the most important part in determining the success of a new game. A commercial can tell you anything, but if someone you know or at least trust has played a game you're interested in and has an opinion on it, that information is far more useful.

"This game is awesome!" is what an advertisement will tell you. "This game is kinda OK but also broken in parts and runs badly!" is what a friend or a review might say. One of those things is a lot more useful than the other.

If you're in the business of making or selling video games, opinions can be bad for business. Same goes for facts, like the fact that a game doesn't run well on PC, or the fact that the credits roll after just a few boring hours. Preordering removes both of those things from the equation. By getting your commitment to purchase a game in advance, when all you've got to go on is a marketing campaign, you're signalling that you're totally cool spending $US40-$US60 on a game simply on the strength of how it's been marketed.

"This game is awesome!" is what an advertisement will tell you. "This game is kinda OK but also broken in parts and runs badly!" is what a friend or a review might say.

Time was, you could download a demo of a game and try it out at home. Why have demos more or less ceased to exist? Preorders are why. Want to know why exclusive missions and items are withheld from everyone's game and are instead sprinkled across various competing retailers? Preorders are why. Want to know why it's now accepted that you can sometimes pay more for a multiplayer game and start with a competitive advantage? Preorders are why.

Last fall's Assassin's Creed Unity launched with noticeable technical issues on consoles and PC. What incentive does Ubisoft have to improve the next game in the series if people are already preordering it? What incentive does Microsoft have for learning from its disastrous Halo: The Master Chief Collection if tons of fans have gone ahead and put down money for Halo 5? Little to none.

Warner Bros.'s move to take Arkham Knight off Steam is almost unprecedented, and I'm guessing there's a reason for that: Steam's new refund policy. As Arkham Knight's PC version fell on its face, Steam users were for the first time exercising their rights en masse to get their money back. Publishers have been taking abuse and criticism for years and simply rolling with it. They will promise fixes and sometimes they will deliver; sometimes they won't. While I don't know how many people actually got Steam refunds for Arkham Knight, I'd guess that Warner was taking enough of a financial hit that they pulled the game — again, almost unprecedented for a AAA game like this one — and promised to come back when it was fixed.

It's 2015. Most games are available digitally. As for retail, there are vastly improved metrics for determining the popularity of a game at the time of release, so your chances of missing out on a copy at launch are slim. And even if you do miss out, it's not the end of the world: take the day or two that you're on the sideline to see if the game you thought looked cool in a trailer actually looks cool on YouTube or Twitch. See if your friend who bought it says it's fun; see what your favourite video game website thinks of it.

In terms of exclusive pre-order "goodies"... snap out of it. The stuff you're getting with "Collector's Editions" is not for collectors. It's junk. It's mostly just cheap figures and statues, useless trinkets, over-sized boxes and half-assed art books. If you really want to be a superfan and own some cool stuff associated with your favourite game, take the money you save by not buying a $US100-200 Collector's Edition and go buy an actual art book, or hit up etsy and get a fan-made blaster pistol to mount on your wall. In terms of bonus skins and weapons... no matter how much you want that golden shotgun or Adam West Batman skin, consider letting it go. Even if the exclusive digital stuff is genuinely cool, like a free mission or an interesting set of in-game abilities, it's still inextricably tied to a practice designed to get as much of your money up front as possible.

There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. Lovers of obscure imported video games often need to preorder because that's the only way publishers like XSEED can get copies into stores. And while brand new games are an unknown quantity, stuff like Legacy of the Void's prologue missions — a mini-campaign available which preorder customers will get before anyone else — seems a pretty good deal. But stuff like this is the exception, not the rule.

I'm not saying stop being interested in video games. Not even upcoming ones (though it's almost always more fun to talk about games that already exist). We all love games; games are rad. People get excited about Fallout 4, about Persona 5, about Halo 5, and about whatever else. That's all cool. I'm not even suggesting that through some amazing feat of internet-enabled activism, we'll be able to collectively send publishers a message and get them to stop pushing preorders. That's never going to happen.

But when it comes down to it, preorders suck. They're a shitty practice, and they exist not to serve you, but to serve the people who sell video games. Participating in a shitty practice helps propagate that shitty practice. So stop participating.


    To be fair, preordering isn't the issue. Publishers and developers should make sure their game actually works before the game is released. A completely lack of quality control is the issue here. These problems could have been addressed months ago if RockSteady / WB weren't so terrible at their jobs.

      It's not a far leap to see pre-orders as an excuse for lax quality control. They've got your money before you have any idea about the quality of the product, so why care about the quality of the product?

        If you preorder from say EB or JB, you only put $10 or so down, they don't have your money at all. Only time they have your money is you preorder from digital then you have to put it all down.

          How many people cancel preorders? I don't have the numbers but I'd be willing to bet that it's a very small amount.

          You've committed to purchasing the game. As far as the publisher is concerned, that's a sale, even if they've only got $10 of it so far.

          Edit: This point is also addressed in the article:
          Usually, preordering the game only costs a percentage of the final price. You pay a small sum up front, and the full price when you pick up the game. You may think that by putting $US10 (or more!) down on a game you’re interested in, you’re reserving yourself a copy... But in the eyes of publishers, you’re a guaranteed sale, regardless of what kind of state the game actually ships in once it’s deemed finished.

          Last edited 26/06/15 11:23 am

            In my experience I cancel preorders all the time, as I pick them up a day or two late to see how they're received.

            But that's just me, and for the shop, specially EB it's not a commitment to purchasing.

              What's the point of preordering in the first place then?

              If you (or anyone else) feel like cancelling the collectors edition of fallout 4 with the pip boy that is exclusive to EB and sold out already. Please let me know.

              Why do you preorder if you're going to wait a day or two to see how the games are received? why would you preorder in the first place?
              Just trying to be difficult?

              Last edited 27/06/15 4:36 am

                To make sure you get the special/limited/collectors edition.

          Mightyape don't take any deposit, they only charge your card when the game is ready to ship. You can cancel at anytime too.

          Completely reasonable and lengthy article met with immediate and misguided attempts at denial. *sigh*

            I don't see any denial, just people disagreeing with the article's message. I don't think we're that far into our grim dystopian future that we're obliged to agree with everything published on the interwebs.

          EB bases their buying from the distributor on preorder numbers. So the distributor gets that money when the order comes in.

            So? Return the game if it doesn't work. Whilst maybe EB pays the distributor before hand, they're not paying with your money. Okay maybe the $10 preorder, which you can totally get back if you want.

              They're buying based on preorders. More preorders means more money for the distributors. The system is for them. Not for the customer.

          Yeah but in that scenario, EB have bought a number of copies based on expectations & preorders so now it's their problem. The publisher still has their money...

        I think like with anything pre-orders are just once piece of a giant puzzle resulting in games coming out broken. It could be management under pressure from someone to release on the release date and they make a decision to release and damage control.

        It could be something that just wasnt catered to in dev and qa which just happened to rear its head. External resources could have misrepresented the state of game (Batman for instance, the external PC resources could have said yup its all good, but in reality there were some configurations which certainly werent)

        I think if you consider the amount of negative PR a broken, misrepresented product can do, nobody is going to be making a concious decision to be "We already have there money from pre orders! Haha who cares if it doesnt work lolololol"

        People can still get refunds... and the negative PR as I said is very damaging. So pre-orders being the be all and end all; highly unlikely. But the article still rings true in the fact you probably shouldnt pre order games at the moment because of the ongoing trend of broken products...just wait for some reviews and word of mouth experience before deciding to buy it.

          I don't think that preorders are the be all and end all of this problem. But they're the part of the problem that we can address.

            Preorders typically only make up 30-40% of week one sales, 10-15% of month one sales (based on analysis of AAA Steam sales in 2014, and comments by Gamestop EVP Mike Mauler). The idea that publishers would deliberately release broken games to prioritise the first 15% over the much higher income-per-period of normal sales is conspiratorial fantasy.

            The reality is that preordering really doesn't make much difference at all to publisher plans. If a game is broken at launch, the overwhelming odds are that it was going to be that way whether people preordered or not. The advice against preordering is meant to be personal, to save you money if the game turns out to get bad launch reviews, and in that respect it's solid advice. Adding on the whole 'the industry makes broken games because you preorder' is the equivalent of 'Jesus cries because you touch yourself at night', a fiction attached to try to scare people who otherwise didn't care.

            I hypothesise that the biggest factor is internet access for day 1 patches.

      I think pre-ordering is part of the issue. It puts pressure on a developer to release an unfinished game. I think a lot of publishers would rather ship a 90% ready game then delay because interest in the game will be lost and so will profit. Broken games are pissing gamers off, but gamers are still buying games from these publishers anyway, so why would anything change?

        But even if people hadn't preordered the game, it would still have been released on the same day and probably still be as broken as it is. The blame isn't on the consumer for trying to secure their product, it's on the devs for not doing their job properly.

        And really, let's be honest, the cycle of "broken now, patch it later" game development has been around for years. Since WiFi and home broadband became an acceptable expense. Patches and hot fixes can be sent out immediately which means lazy development.

          I think pre-orders are still a factor in this.
          I don't have any numbers or facts, but I imagine they look at statistics of:
          pre-orders cancelled due to broken release
          pre-orders cancelled due to delayed release

          I'm guessing they find more people cancel when it's delayed, so they focus on getting it out on time.

          But yes, the way technology has evolved, making a day 1 3GB patch not so bad compared to 10 years ago, would also be a major factor here too.

          I don't think this issue will ever go away either...

        The other side of this problem is the internet itself. when games came on CD or cartridge, there was little option to actually patch the game, so most were done to a perceived level of quality that devs are no longer held to.

      I don't Pre-order for this very reason. Pre-ordering itself is a great idea, especially at local stores, it allows people to plan for games, because lets face it they are expensive. Even on PC (my platform) it allows you to preload the game in most cases, making it ready to go on the day.

      The problem is, as you said... Developers/Publishers have no idea what quality control is. They delegated the job of optimizing the PC version (a feat in itself due to the diversity of hardware) to a company that has a background in mobile apps and last gen console, who boasts only a team of 12 and only was given (apparently) two weeks.

      Developers constantly release incentives for us to Pre-Order. When in reality its not needed, we want the game! We are not unreasonable, full optimization is impossible before release, even after in some cases. Get the game too us that runs smooth in most cases/situations, a dip every so often or a particular area that is somewhat more taxing is fine, on the extreme even a setting might require high instead of ultra while waiting for a patch, but this?... It's a joke.

      As for putting pressure on developers, that is utter bullshit sorry. They already announce games 2 or 3 years ahead of release in some cases, for the love of god instead of saying it will release in early 20XX say late 20XX, give yourself some breathing room and if its finished before that date then tell us the good news. Imagine they told us batman was late 2015 when it all started... now imagine they released it in August fully working instead of December. Not only did we get a early release but it runs smoothly! No damage whatsoever... Now look at it the other way, they tell us its mid 2015, great we have to wait a little less overall. But the release is rushed = Pissed gamers.. They delay it a month then another month = pissed gamers. Its a no-brainer for me.

      Last edited 26/06/15 12:11 pm

      Companies are just pushing the boundaries bit by bit making it worse for gamers with on disc DLC, exclusive content, misleading trailers, DRM and now broken games. And for each problem the best way to fight it is with our wallets (by keeping it closed).

      But no one listens.

      People still keep throwing money at these exploitative practices. It will only get worse if they can just keep getting away with it. Not pre-ordering probably puts the LEAST strain on your willpower to not spend.

      Just. Fkin. Wait.

      Last edited 28/06/15 2:16 am

    @Luke Plunkett

    But... but... fallout 4 pip boy edition.

      Ahah. You are the comment that he so "eloquently" quoted on the main Kotaku.

      Pretty much.
      I haven't pre-ordered anything for years (including Fallout: NV) but a Pip boy for REAL? Cmon. No contest.

      I also have some faith that Fallout 4 will be ok, and only improve after launch. I'm talking about mods, fan patches etc. here. F3 and FNV had amazing support through the mod tools, and the fans are fanatical.

      What if the Pip Boy is rubbish? Well I'll sell it and make my own :

    Fallout 4 pip boy edition sold out. Don't pre order you say?

      I'm pretty sure they'll make it available again to the rest of the fanboys and all those pre-orders don't stop them (or even discourage them) from putting out whatever they want now and if there is an issue just patching it after and saying "We're totally sorry guys, our bad".

        Nope. They already made a little more and all gone. The only way you can pick one up now is wait for cancellations or ebay it.

        To be perfectly honest, just preorder the collectors and not standard game. Standard will be available forever and no point preordering it. That would solve the problem mentioned in the article.

        Usually, preordering the game only costs a percentage of the final price. You pay a small sum up front, and the full price when you pick up the game. You may think that by putting $US10 (or more!) down on a game you’re interested in, you’re reserving yourself a copy... But in the eyes of publishers, you’re a guaranteed sale, regardless of what kind of state the game actually ships in once it’s deemed finished.

        Also, it's just a piece of plastic to wrap around an iPhone. I'll be shocked if it's actually decent quality.

          Oh look, it's Mr. Killington over here. First name Buzz.

            Just a realist who has come to many of the same conclusions as the author of the article. I love games just as much when I purchase them on sale a couple of days (or years!) after release at a department store, without any of the stuff that will ultimately just clutter up the spare room.

          Quiet, dangit, I'm going to love it and cherish it forever and wear it to work and everything!

            I want to use it as an excuse for a Fallout cosplay at Supanova, as I cannot make things myself. But alas, I expected it would last as long as most other "limited edition" items have been lately. I was very wrong.

    But, there's still a chance I might miss the collectors edition ):

    Although that was cancelled for Batman. But I couldn't be stuffed fixing it so I just went with it.

    But I did cancel by collectors edition for Ninja Gaiden 3 after hearing how bad the game was. Not just in terms of a broken engine but how the entire concept for the game was dead. Still picked it up a few months later for chump change.

    I don't get this article at all. Most people I know who pre-order only do for games they're absolutely sure they want to get, with the bonuses being tossed in being more like icing on the cake than the reason they decide to pre-order.

    No review or post release nonsense is going to change whether people wanted to buy a game they were willing to pay upfront cash for. Let's take Batman, even the Kotaku review until yesterday read like it was a game worth buying (now it has a disclaimer for the PC version as the reviewer played it on PS4).

    However PC gamers across the glove voiced their issues about the game and developer pulled it from the store. Now assuming people who pre-ordered are likely the same people who would've purchased at launch (if the option to pre-order was removed) none of this would have been averted. A demo would have had you playing a small stable section of the game where this issue would have likely not come to light as well.

    At the end of the day I see the value behind having the option to pre-order, I also see how developers abuse the system to get people to pre-order. However if you want a game badly enough to lock in a copy for yourself before release you accept the risks associated with that.

    If you want to punish publishers and developers who release broken games you're probably going to have a better impact on their bottom line if you just boycott or be extremely cautious around their games. E.g. I've learnt to be careful around Bungie, EA and Ubisoft releases and never pre-order their games anymore. However I'm glad I pre-ordered the Witcher 3 and Infamous Second Son and Wolfenstein. Like every conceivable issue out there pre-orders have their benefits and their disadvantages and it usually comes down to how people use/abuse the service.

    tl;dr - Pre-order a game if you trust the publisher/developer (aka CDPR), wait a month after release if you don't.

      The cult of the new is a problem in games. If you look at games media and the discussions on various sites, you could easily think that the most important time for a game is right before it comes out.

      Must have now! Don't wait! Buy!


      Yes, there are people who are going to rush out and buy something no matter what. That doesn't mean that their reasoning for doing so is sound, nor does it mean that we should do the same.

      Why give publishers the chance to burn you? Why rush in when you can wait and make an informed decision? An informed consumer has power. They can act. They can boycott. An uninformed consumer has no power. By preordering, you are deciding to be an uninformed consumer.

      Preorders make sense when scarcity is an issue. That is rarely the case.

        To be fair trjn I don't believe your argument captures the majority of any consumer base because let's face it at the end of the day an uninformed consumer is the perfect consumer from a corporate perspective. Hell I don't believe the concept of making informed decisions even captures the majority of the human race. Your average person on the street is likely uninformed/doesn't care to be informed on a number of things they would be making decisions on. Is it fair? Is it how it should be? No. But it is how it is.

        With regards to pre-orders while I personally never buy CE's (except for Second Son cos I liked the beanie) I see why people would want to reserve them. Why remove the option to pre-order something the consumer wants and instead make the queue up outside the store in hopes they might get the CE goodies on release? Once again I believe the people who buy pre-orders are the same consumers who are likely to buy the game on release, pre-orders just allow them the luxury of reserving that copy when they have the free time to get into the store and lock it in.

        Case in point the Fallout 4 Pip-boy edition. While I didn't get one myself I believe they're already sold out, and I'll probable pre-order the normal version of the game because I trust Bethesda and I'd like to confirm their game sale to me for their balance sheet before it's released. Why exactly is that a bad thing?

        I think utilizing pre-orders is a choice made at the consumer level and I for one would be quite pissed off if I wasn't given the option to decide if I wanted to take advantage of the ability to pre-order. It also provides developers some financial security and yes like you say some abuse this security. So do what everyone should be doing in a capitalist democracy. Vote with your $$$, as opposed to looking at taking away freedoms other gamers enjoy.

        P.S. I'm sure most people don't use pre-orders like this but I actually use them to manage my gaming budget for every year. I put aside all my expected expenses following every E3 and lock in my must buys through pre-orders and then put aside an emergency fund for any games that surprise me. It gives me the ability to pre-pay my upcoming expenses and manage my finances on either a quarterly, 6 monthly or FY basis.

        Edit: Someone mentioned this further down and I think it bears some connection to your comment of an informed consumer base. E3; previews of games, betas, early access all serve the underlying purpose of creating an uninformed consumer base because at the end of the day (especially recently) they are very rarely representative of the final product that ends up getting shipped.

        Last edited 26/06/15 11:52 am

          You're right, an uninformed consumer is a perfect consumer from a corporate perspective. But we have the ability not to be one. We have the ability to wait and make informed decisions that are in our best interest, instead of making uninformed decisions that benefit the publishers.

          I'm not saying that we should take away people's option to preorder, I'm saying that we should exercise the option not to do it. We see very little benefit from it.

          I manage my gaming budget in a much simpler way: I wait. I don't remember the last game that I bought on release. A great game is still great several months later when it's on sale for a fraction of the price.

          Look at Fallout 4. Preordering that has come up a lot in these comments (including your own). Bethesda has a terrible history when it comes to game launches. Absolutely terrible. It's well known that they make fantastic games that come out with a plethora of bugs that get fixed over several months. Yet people are going to preorder it anyway. They're going to buy it day one and then complain about the bugs that should be expected at this point. Why support that? Why risk the frustration?

          We're the enthusiasts. We're the people that know certain publishers have a history of certain practices. If anyone has the capacity to make informed decisions, it should be us. Why waste that opportunity?

          EDIT: Regarding your edit, you're aware that you just said that you base your purchase decisions off of E3 and then say that the endless marketing machine helps create an uninformed consumer base?

          Last edited 26/06/15 12:05 pm

            I don't think I've ever played a Bethesda game that hasn't been buggy (even 6 months after release) but I'm happy for that to be the case because they deliver on everything else that matters. I've also never played a Bethesda game that hasn't given me a minimum of 100 hours of game time. I'm willing to make uninformed financial decisions for certain publishers/developers that I trust if it provides them with some financial security (lets face it the games industry is hardly the paragon of financial security). If they abuse that trust they won't get it back any time soon, e.g. BioWare.

            Yeah I got burnt on DA:I with my pre-order but not many companies do what they used to do with their games so I was willing to take the risk of an uninformed decision. Even informed the majority consensus was DA:I was an amazing game however I absolutely detested it. *shrug* So yeah I might get burnt sometimes but in the long run I know the developer that abuses my trust is the one that loses. EA have probably lost hundreds of dollars from me over the years as I boycott 80-90% of their games. Ubisoft are well on their way there with Bungie shortly behind. Maybe they got my money once or twice but they lose me the next 5-6 times. I can live with that balance of risk to reward.

            Edit: Missed your edit; I'm willing to make certain decisions off what I see in E3 and marketing materials and other's I put on my wait and see list. What I was trying to say is the only way to be a truly "informed consumer" is to boycott all forms of marketing and preview materials and only take a look at a game after it's been released. Not exactly possible in this day and age or realistict? E.g. Battlefront was a must buy for me, after seeing the gameplay and how.. unimpressive/vanilla it seemed at E3 it's gone on my wait and see list.

            Last edited 26/06/15 12:19 pm

              You don't have to boycott marketing, just don't buy into it. Once a game is out in the wild, it's very easy to form an opinion on it. A little patience pays off tremendously.

                I've always believed exposure to anything even if you choose to "not buy into it" will still result in formulating an impression within your mind. Hence I think it's fairly impossible to go into a game purchase being completely "informed", you are bound to have certain expectations even post release. Expectations that reviews and articles will sometimes reinforce and sometimes degrade but sooner or later will get wrong. Case in point DA:I all the reviews and articles I read reinforced my expectations for the game but when I played it I regretted pre-ordering it.

                And as I stated previously it's not about patience for me. It comes down to a) convenience b) supporting a dev/publisher I like c) having the freedom to use it if I want. So far I haven't been burned often enough to think pre-orders are inherently bad. And I don't see enough worthwhile information post-launch to ever make me rethink pre-ordering a game. I had reservations about Batman so I didn't pre-order, I had expectations for DA:I so I did. However none of the information that's come to light since both these games launched would have impacted to my decision to pre-order at all.

                To summarize as I see it, gaming preference is incredibly subjective and while it seems more rational to wait post-release for information, you can never really be certain if it will justify your payment of the game. Sure it might tilt your odds here and there but for me it doesn't do enough to justify losing any of the points I stated above for why I utilize pre-orders. If it does for you then you don't get enough value from pre-ordering. *shrug* to each their own at the end of the day.

    Also, you might say, order Batman from ozgameshop for $69. Because it's the cheapest price around.

    Then you watch all the major shops drop their prices to $69. So you could have paid the same amount and gotten your game on day 1, instead of having to wait 10 days for it to come by mail.

      Does that include postage?

        Yah. Actually $64 cos i had a voucher for them. But the waiting is painful :(

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        And BigW

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    I'll still preorder of there is a nice looking collectors edition I want. The Pip Boy edition of Fallout 4 will most likely be terrible lightweight cheap plastic but I still want it. The Bloodborne Nightmare edition's book tin is real nice and the quill pen is pretty neat. Destiny's Ghost was surprisingly high quality (even though I gave it away due to not liking the game). I regret cancelling The Witcher 3 collectors as it turned out to be great.

    That said, if I don't want the collectors I won't preorder and bonus missions, skins and such hold no interest for me. Rare I even bother with any DLC for a game and never purchased a season pass.

    Last edited 26/06/15 11:30 am

    I can't help it when Oz Gameshop and Greenman Gaming sell it at the prices that American's pay for full price ;-;

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      Not really.If you are on the platform of the exclusive content, you win compare to the other platform. You both paid the same amount of money and you get more stuff.

      It's like I could go coles and buy 1 banana and free apple and you go to woolies and got 1 banana only. I get an extra apple but you don't therefore I win and at the same time, more people buy banana from coles made coles earn more money as well.

      Win-win for the company + consumer on that platform.

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          But the thing is, there are no such case that the same game have different exclusive content on both console. Only one will get exclusive content which is the company that paid money to the publisher.

          If you are talking about preorder bonus from different retailers, that is a different story. I hate those piece of shit different retailer bullcrap.

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              Screw those stupid editions. You know what is more annoying? For some bizarre reason, the highest tier edition does not have the DLC from the lower tier editions. You spend $200-300 expecting it to have all the tiny little dlc codes but nope, you gotta buy the $120 and $180 ones to get everything.

        For that to be equivalent, you'd need to factor in an upfront $400 customer card.

    I've rarely had issues with preordered games but that's just me. But NOTHING will stop me Metal Gear Solid V. A bloody tornado, glitches and broken questlines wouldn't stop me neither would busted servers. I need that game like air.

    Well this is the supposed to be the year of no preordering.

    I knew the Fallout Pipboy edition would break a few oaths lol

    I feel like I'm doing preordering wrong, because of the very few preorders I've placed, they're all for the base game because I want it ASAP at the cheapest price I can get at the time (ozgameshop). I don't normally preorder either, but in this case I only did because I was really hyped for the actual game.


    Sorry but if game devs/publishers were less complacent about their products and put more effort into the final product, gave it that little more testing time and made sure to have valid support for the user, there wouldn't be as much of a problem. Maybe stop announcing dates when the game is in fucking pre-pre-pre-pre alpha? Oh hang on, I forgot, this is Kotaku... Thought I was reading a Serrels article for a minute.

    Preordering for me is like laybuying with way longer terms. I've always got that 7 day return loaded up just in case (*COUGH *UBISOFT* COUGHT*).

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        Well, that's another interesting thing.
        A retailer like EB has a no questions asked return policy for 7 days on console games because they can resell that item. PC games with Steam keys are strictly no returns.
        So when people have been rightfully getting refunds on Batman PC this week, that stock is effectively destroyed, and they then have to incur the cost of a hefty administration process to send it back to the distributor for refund / replacement. This would not be a normal, efficient minimal cost process for them.
        Retailers like EB would be very pissed off at this Batman issue.

        If EB sells defective hardware, which is later returned, they send it back to the manufacturer for a refund themselves. It seems fairly simple to me.

        You preorder a game, it releases and it's buggy or the content is just return it then. Obviously this isn't great for the retailer, but it keeps the consumer happy, which would likely make the customer happy to come back to the retailer at a later date.

      So we shouldn't pursue methods that would make devs/publishers less complacent and instead blame Kotaku for reporting on games?

    It’d be nice if game reviewers would stop giving a free pass to developers who tie game content to pre-orders, because it really is a ridiculous and exploitative system that often ends with customers getting screwed.

    I’ve suggested it before, but Kotaku could start adding an ‘Exploitometer’ to their reviews making it clear that a title is going to nickle-and-dime you if you just pay RRP.

    Games like Forza 5 had their entire game system built around f*cking people over. Multiple types of pre-order bonuses, the time required to unlock vehicles in-game was unbalanced by microtransactions, cars were intentionally removed from free-run mode to create a paywall…. The whole thing was terribly exploitative and while most reviewers noted it, not many put it front and centre when it came time to hand out a review score or summarize the game.

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      As much as I enjoy the Forza series, their approach to DLC and pre-order bonuses really out me off. I remember buying some Forza DLC and discovering that one of the cars was millions of dollars of in-game money (like weeks of work to earn millions). WTF?

    The first and only game I preordered was The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, so I could get my gold Wiimote.

    I regret nothing!

    I certainly don't plan on preordering anything in the future, though.

      I did that one too, My first Game preorder Was also A Zelda game - Wind Waker for the Gamecube as i wanted the OoT/master Quest Disc

      Last edited 26/06/15 1:02 pm

    I love Destiny (yes, I know) and pre-ordered the first Season Pass based on the Tumbler Sparrow bonus and things like the Necrochasm and Radiant Dance Machines looked awesome. How wrong I was - they are all very ordinary items in game. Now they are pulling even more shit with The Taken King expansion. I've learnt my lesson.

    Game "journalists" should also stop "previewing" games, it's all part of the same system.

      I wanted to make this point in my comment; I'm glad someone else did. Previews are part of the same vicious cycle of hyping consumers up before a game is released. If this writer really is against pre-orders he should also be against previews and creating expectations for a game before seeing it in it's finished state.

        Previewing is not wrong BUT paid to hide issues is the worst. Look at Batman, I'm sure they previewed the game on PC build as well and I am sure there knew of problem but they just kept their mouth shut about it. Now that is a fucking problem.

          More likely the developer presented an alpha or beta version of the PC build with only stable sections of the game being shown off (i.e. to closed off or cordoned sections of the game). Previews allow gamers to see a game out of context; part of the story is still misinformation because a single sentence can mean very different things depending on the context its used in. Just like a game can be very different based on the context the snippet they show off to journalists in previews can be seen in.

          I don't believe the case of bribing journalists to write good reviews is rampant in the industry; at best it's a one-off practice. That said I've also reached a point where I put more stock in meta-critic audience scores and only read reviews for the enjoyment for appreciating an author's writing.

            I expect they developed and tested on one form of graphics card that just happened to not be in the range of affected products, completely unaware of potential issues that would cause.

        That's a bit much.

          Just like saying no more pre-orders is a bit much?

          Personally I'm for previews and marketing crap and pre-orders but I think if you're to take a stance against one of them you should against all. Especially if the underlying argument for standing against pre-orders is to get the developer to release a quality product that will be held up to scrutiny in reviews.

        Along a similar line as previews I think having a review embargo is also a very dodgy practice. IMO it is pretty much there because they are worried it will review bad and don't want people to find out before it is actually released.

    I'll try... but ... you know ... pre-order pants!

      I think the real message here is to just give up pants.

    Nope, sorry. Luke is talking shit once again.

    Pre-ordering is not the reason for games being put out as "broken", the current digital age is. Given that content patches or fixes can be applied at anytime for a game, developers just need to deliver a product that is finished, bug testing can be fixed later. Games are usually shipped out to printers weeks before release day to be mass produced for sale, so sometimes there will still be bugs in the code, hence the "day 1 patch" that we've all come to know and "love".

    However, the points about Preorder content is pretty spot on. But that's more because consumers have allowed this part of the business model to thrive to the point where it's become a viable model for companies to use to get extra cash out of you. Just look at Batman: Arkham Knight.

    I bought the Special Edition from EB Games which had 5 DLC packs! 5 packs! Harley Quinn Story, Red Hood Story, Prototype Batmobile, 1st Appearance Batman Skin & Scarecrow mission pack! Not to mention there was a New 52 Skin pack available for free on the PSN Store, and the game gave me a Batman Anime Skin for logging into WB Play in the game. So that's 7 pieces of DLC "bonus" content on day 1! You know what all this was called in the 80's, 90's and early 00's? UNLOCKABLE CONTENT!! You used to play the game to unlock all this stuff; now you have to preorder the right edition with the right console with the right retailer and then register with the publisher to get the same shit!

      I agree the ability to patch content post release has seen Quality Control slack off horribly in the past 5 years and is more responsible for things like Arkham City than pre-orders could be.

      Having said that - I've never pre-ordered for several reasons, mostly I'm lazy, I don't want statues and pre-ordering seems to lock you into a price up to $40 over the odds. Anyone looked at the upcoming releases section of an EB catalogue $100 and $110 prices are the standard - no thanks!

    Fallout 4 is the only game now that I'll be pre-ordering (already have in fact). Warner Bros were the last straw in burning me out on pre-orders with the Batmobile edition. I have plenty of games to worry about playing without trying to keep track of everything that's coming up. Plus shelf space is limited for collectors editions.

    How many instances are there of "exclusive preorder content" NOT being released later down the track as DLC or a GOTY edition? I might be really naive, but usually if you just wait you'll get the content anyway.

    So what you're saying is stop supporting Kickstarter projects and Early Access since they are pre-ordering a game and committing money to an unfinished product?

      Nooooooo, Kickstarters aren't pre-orders! They're donations with a potential reward IF the thing succeeds.

        Which has even less consumer protection than a preorder. At least you can refund a preorder or cancel it any time prior to release. Surely if the theory here is that giving developers money before the product is finished leads to bad/unfinished products (not that I believe this is true, but it seems to be the gist of the article), Kickstarter and Early Access are much worse examples than preordering is.

          Absolutely agree. Which is why I don't do them unless it's effectively a charitable donation with benefits.

          (However, 'worse' is relative. Severe? Risky? Maybe. But many/most kickstarters scrouging for cash don't have multi-million dollar marketing machines reaching - and negatively affecting - millions of gamers. And we sure as fuck hear about it when a Kickstarter has that reach and fails.)

          Last edited 26/06/15 7:23 pm

    Here here.

    Pre orders have always been a scam.
    Stop pre ordering and publishers are going to have to make sure the game is of quality when its released. Cant believe people think its OK to pre pay for a game, only to receive it broken. That's unfair trade in Australia.

    Its the silliest way to do business, especially for the consumer. Trade is the exchange for goods or services of an agreed value.
    But in this case, the consumer gives the seller money on the basis of hype or promotion of product that does not yet exist. The seller promises that the product will be A,B and C. The consumer receives the product and it only A and B.

    Who got ripped?

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