Don't. Preorder. Video. Games.


    @Letrico (couldn't reply to earlier comment... boo!)

    That is why refund exist in pre order. Sure they take the money up front, but at the same time you are in control of your money. If the gameplay they present to you was disappointing, just cancel it and get your money back. Sure you might miss out maybe .10 cents of interest over the course of one year. But I doubt anyone would put $60-70 waiting for interest in bank.

    But where is the benefit for the consumer? Sure, for me as an individual I don't miss out on too much interest, but with lots of preorders the interest starts to add up for the publisher.

    My gripe is... instead of the money (regardless of the amount) sitting in my bank account, working for me, it's sitting in the publishers account, working for them. Sure, I can take the money back when I want, but between the payment and the cancellation, the publisher benefits and I don't.

      You are right, in terms of interests over the course of time, it will definitely benefit the publisher only. But how else would a publisher earn money to sustain their business?

      Business and consumer are completely different, a business must find way to get money to sustain their operation. Consumer just pays and wait for the item to be delivered. Comparing the risks involved, consumer have no risk except if the game is broken on release, which as a consumer you are protected to such event and could get a refund. Businesses have no protection, once you take your money away, sure they get to keep the interest, but it is still a massive loss.

      It would be unfair to treat publisher the same as consumer. If no one pre-order games anymore, I doubt the whole gaming industry could stay alive.

        A couple of things.

        1. Pre-orders are a relatively recent phenomenon, and the games industry got by just fine before they existed. I think this is the crux of alot of peoples' dislike of preorders - they are inherently just a way to charge consumers for a game 6 months before the game actually comes out, which never used to be a thing.

        2. I get that it benefits the publisher / retailer / whatever to get preorders... but where is the benefit for the consumer? You are asking me to essentially pay up front for something you won't give me for another 6 months. This isn't a Kickstarter, where if you don't get my funds then the game won't happen.

        3. Businesses have no protection, once you take your money away, sure they get to keep the interest, but it is still a massive loss.

        Hardly. Particularly for digital downloads, with in-game-only preorder content (like DE:MD). There is literally no loss to the company if you cancel the pre-order. They simply don't have to give it to you, and still get to keep whatever interest they earned on your money in the meantime.

        Look, here's what I think this whole debate boils down to. Pre-orders used to have a place in the game retailing space - retailers needed to know how much stock to order, we got some neat physical benefits to go with it no harm no foul. However, now that we have transitioned to digital games, which are downloaded, and come with digital-only preorder bonuses... it's an antiquated concept that it being milked by retailers and publishers to get some cash up front for little to no benefit to the consumer.

        And yes, you can cancel your pre-order at any time... but what's the point of doing it in the first place?

          As you said, pre-order bonus and the likes are quite new in the market. The reason why it come into existence is because of the reason you mentioned in (2). They do notice that there is no incentive in pre-ordering thus trying to give benefit/bonus to people that pre-order with those bonuses.

          For (3) they do have losses, the lost a sale. To you it might feel like it's just a CD-Key, so no loss if they did not give it to you since they can give someone else and there is infinite number of cd-key they can generate for digital sales. Yes you are right that it is just a cd-key but each copy sold is the money they earn to recoup from the development of the game. It is almost free to generate the cd-key but these keys have value. Each copy is some developer's salary and the amount of copies sold will determine if the company can continue operate or cutting staff.

          In the end it is just whether you want to put the money up front for some bonus from the publisher or wait until it goes on sale. I would try to support publishers that deserve support. It is not like games are not affordable. One less coffee for week and you could pre-order a physical copy.

          If no one is willing to pay and wait for the game to go on sale, which company will continue developing games?

            The big problem is games-as-a-business and not games-as-art. Hell, Squenix investors have been very vocal about asking how they can get more return on their investment earlier in the development cycle, because the concept of spending three years sinking money into something that won't earn money until it ships is a super unattractive concept for investors.

            The flip to that is they're asking customers to pay for something that isn't finished and no-one actually knows if it's any good. They're not buying the game, they're buying brand and marketing and hope and dreams and other fluffy unreal things, which are a lot easier to sell without necessarily actually delivering.

            If I have to choose between what's a bad deal for customers and what's a bad deal for investors, I choose what's better for customers.

            Pre-orders, by and large, don't get cancelled (with notable exceptions like the xbone, which was likely solely responsible for Microsoft's massive backflip on the online-only anti-trading DRM). It's too much effort. So any money Publishers can get from the pre-order crowd is pretty much money in the bank.

            I'm strongly opposed to this. I want publishers to be selling games, not dreams. I want their sales to be based on the strength of the developers, not the strength of their marketing team. Because the end-result of rewarding marketing over development is that they pay more attention to marketing over development. Which is exactly what HAS happened in the last 5-10 years and it's bad.

            We've gone from pre-release trailers having 'This is in-development footage, not indicative of the final product' disclaimers not being a plea not to judge the game unfairly harshly because it's not finished, but as a side-mouthed warning that the final game actually won't and can't ever look as good as what they're showing now. This is NOT an improved state of affairs.

            Edit: And to answer your question: PEOPLE WHO LOVE GAMES will continue developing games, which is as it should be. Developers will always be making great games because it's what they love. And when they make a shit-tonne of money from doing what they love, business will come sniffing around their heels again because they are pathologically incapable of leaving large quantities of money in the hands of creators. And we will come full circle. Do not try to play off the idea of publishers needing to be exploitative or manipulative to make money as being good for gaming. It is not. It is good for publishers. The games will still get made.

            Last edited 01/09/15 3:33 pm

            You seem to have missed my point. We are talking about the difference between pre-ordering and buying the game on release. Both of these give the same amount of revenue to the publisher, just at different points in time. Yes, sales determine the games success, but not pre-orders vs. post-launch orders.

            We aren't talking about people not buying the game at all... just not pre-ordering it. This would be a pretty crappy gaming site if the journos were saying not to buy video games. However, preordering has become a cash-generation strategy. Throw in a bunch of cheap-to-develop extras, get people forking out the cash 6 months early, and rake in those sweet, sweet interest payments. It's all about moving the revenue stream to pre-launch. Why wait for launch when we can make money now?

            Don't get me wrong... I am happy to back indie studios who want to crowdfund their games (which is effectively pre-ordering, no?). These guys need your support to make the game. Ubisoft? Not so much.

    So what should I do if I want the collectors edition? I want that steel book cover and figure but don't want to support the pre-order orientated industry.

      Well then you're screwed!

      I remember when we could all have our cake and eat it too! I mean sure pre-ordering was kinda good in the early 90s when gaming was just too niche and short supply runs were common.

      Then games got popular. Early 2000s if you wanted that special edition? Well everybody's buying games now, plenty of copies and if we're fresh out, look at these reasonably priced second-hand ones!

      Then games got reeaaaally popular. Now people pay anything to get their hands on the extremely rare editions, never discounted, scalpers charge that special extra. Pre-order is the best way! The only way....

    My general opinion on pre-orders is that if a pre-order comes with something that you feel is worth whatever the additional cost is then you should pre-order it. If not, don't pre-order it and pay a reasonable price for the game instead.

    Pre-orders don't have to be some evil marketing trick. You DO have the self control to NOT pre-order games. Sometimes the little extras that are included in pre-orders are things like a soundtrack or a figurine, and those can be nice for collectors. I'm sure all the people that ordered the Fallout 4 collector's edition will be happy with their Pip-Boys, and those are something that wouldn't otherwise be available for purchase. Is it bad that people had the option to order them? And most importantly, did it hurt the people who didn't order them but still want to play Fallout 4? No, it didn't. If there is some in-game bonus for pre-orders then it's usually either some little unnecessary cosmetic thing, or a 15 minute side-quest that will either be out as DLC for a dollar or two sooner or later or you can watch someone else play it on YouTube and get essentially the same experience for nothing.

    If you don't pre-order a game you can still buy and play the damn game when it comes out. Until developers start expecting you to pre-order games to get a necessary component for the game to be completed you just need to decide for yourself if it's worth your money before you know exactly what you're paying for. Simple as that.

    Feral; even less chance of me ever buying this now.

    My first and last pre order was Aliens Colonial Marines. I don't need an article to remind me to not make the same dick move ever again.
    Fuck preorder. For ever.


    I freaking hate preorders and I have to really resist punching my friend when he tells me to preorder that game I've been looking forward to. The only game I'm preordering is Rock Band 4, so that the devs know that there is still a demand for the plastic rock genre.

    Don't. Tell. Me. What. To. Do.
    You're. Not. My. Real. Dad.

    Jokes aside. I only preorder special editions that have artbooks, soundtracks or amiibos. These are usually limited so preorder is kind of necessary. This bullshit Deus Ex is pulling. I care not for.

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