Tell Us Dammit: Thoughts On Pre-Ordering?

I don't pre-order video games. I think it's a bit of a racket. Mostly I feel as though it's just pointless. Games are very. very rarely in short demand. Mostly you're providing early market research for publishers and retailers. That's it.

But more and more I seem to be seeing people defending the whole pre-order thing. What are you thoughts?

It's something I've noticed while writing stories up about the trouble both EB Games and JB Hi-Fi have been having fulfilling their online pre-orders.

My feeling is pretty simple: pre-ordering is fine. People have their reasons. They like the security, they like getting on-board the hype train for a specific game. They like to have things paid for in advance. That's totally fine.

I think my issues are with weird stuff like pre-order bonuses. Ridiculous exclusives designed to make specific retailers feel like they're getting a special unique deal. The idea that I can't get everything in a video game because one store has some stupid pre-order DLC code. That stuff irritates me. Because it's not consumer focused.

Death to pre-order pants. I guess that's what I'm trying to say.

Also situations where people pre-order games and can't get them on day one? That's not cool.

What are your thoughts?


    I tend to use it as a post release lay buy service.

    Also, if I order online I'm generally pre-ordering.

    Sometimes I do it for freebies or extras.

    I'm not against the act of pre-ordering itself, but not keen on some of the marketing bullshit being tried these days.

    Used to be, you were rewarded for preordering, now it feels like you're being punished for not.

      Exactly that. Day 1 preorder dlc feels more like. "You didnt preorder well you dont get the entire game".

      What I do want and enjoy are physical things give me an artbook and a plastic trinket. Don't hack off a piece of your game. I refuse to preorder or even purchase a game with day one dlc.

    I think the only things I've preordered over the last decade or so were either things that were actually going to be scarce/sold out (eg Majora n3DS) or things that had a trade bonus towards preorders at a time when I had stuff to offload. Otherwise I don't see the point, I'd much rather just wait til release day then go to the shop that has the cheapest price and get it there instead. I don't think I've ever missed out on getting anything that way, not even each new wave of amiibo when scarcity was still a thing for those (even if it did take a little hunting around at times).

    Defintely got no love for preorder DLC stuff. But that's probably more down to my collector side, and my general distaste for digital content that isn't affixed to the disc.

      My feelings precisely:

      1. Pre-order for physical goodies / limited run games = yes
      2. Pre-order for digital goodies = no

        Agreed, plus I have a knack of not knowing where I'll be on the day the game gets released, which means I might have to go out of my way to grab the game. I'd rather just walk into any store on the day and grab it (generally checking target/eb/jb prices to see who has it lower as well).

          Oh yeah, that was the worst. I preordered the Majora n3DS no a lunch break here at work, since I knew it would be sold out in a matter of hours. But then of course with Nintendo's revised release schedule, it was actually out on a Saturday instead of good old Thursday. Which meant I wouldn't be in the city, so it was a pain in the arse to trek all the way out here to get it on the day instead of just taking a short trip to my local store like I normally would have.

          Granted, the dude did tell me I could transfer my order to another store which turned out to be completely false, but hey.

            Yep, that old chestnut :)
            Had the exact same thing but at North Sydney, had to venture in.

            The only thing I would legitimately preorder is a major console like PS5, Xbox Two etc etc. Even handhelds I wouldn't bother.

    I don't preorder games as a general rule. I've never had any issues walking into a store on release day and buying a copy, no matter how hype the game is.

    The only time I make an exception is if there's a special collector's edition or something that's only available by preorder, but it's very very rare I actually want something like that.

    Preordering is something that gives me absolutely no value, so I don't do it. It's that simple.

    The times that the cult of the new manages to get their hands on me are getting rarer and rarer. Most of the time, I'm more than happy to wait for a game to show up in a Steam sale with a GOTY edition. A little patience and I'm paying less for more game.

    We'll ignore the copy of 7 Wonders: Duel that I picked up at PAX after a stall decided to break street date...

    I used to pre-order frequently because I buy a lot of niche games that would only get one or two copies in so it was the only way to guarantee I'd get one. That's less of a problem these days due to digital distribution and the fact that JB-HiFi is actually pretty good at getting enough copies in if I'm going for a physical copy. The only other reason I pre-order is if there's a Limited Collector's Edition I really, really want.

    I'm fine with not everything being consumer focused. I know a lot of people put a lot of stock into the need for companies to put consumers first but if I'm getting something I like (and that's on me to research and determine) then I don't care if the publishers feel the need to make some deals with distributors or what have you to get a little more cash.

    If other people are OK with taking the risk and maybe paying more to get something extra that's fine too. I'm pretty sure most pre-orders don't come with that much risk these days anyway (plenty of bugs, sure, but most games turn out pretty well despite that) and pre-order bonuses are usually pretty cosmetic or insubstantial.

    The only reason I pre-ordered Fallout 4 was because I wanted to pick it up in store and I had JB vouchers. And that was 3 days before release. I'm not a fan of pre-ordering WELL before release though, for the same reason I've stopped backing kickstarters. I'd prefer to save my money and buy it on release now, not hang on the promise of something coming in the future.

    Everything is released busted these days.... Anyone who pre-orders is a muppet.

    Pre-ordering, in this digitally-focussed age of game distribution, makes no sense whatsoever.
    Back before Steam and Origin, when retailers used to do it so that you could lock a copy that had limited stock, sure.
    Now, however, it's only to tempt people with pointless tat.

    Last edited 12/11/15 11:37 am

    I use it as a lay by type thing and i only ever do it for 1 game each year. I used to pre order dvds/blu rays but now i just wait til they release.

    I have no issues with it but i can see why some people do. For me it is just for ease for that 1 game.

    Last edited 12/11/15 11:40 am

    If its a cool physical collectors item, sure, its fine. If its some ingame bonus trash for a steaming pile of turd franchise, then no.

    Last edited 12/11/15 11:41 am

    Preordering is fine if you understand the risks your taking. It really annoys me when people preorder something then bitch and moan about every minute detail being different to what they would like.

    I havent pre ordered anything in ages (bar Fallout). I'm not fussed by any of the content that pre orders come with; and usually the copies on the shelves are the same copies with the same bonuses as when you pre order. I pre ordered Fallout 4 purely because of the price. It was too good to pass up; regardless of whether some people still swayed the game at that price on release day.

    Pre ordering is just a way to get people to interested in the game and have some sort of exclusivity built up. Means they get guaranteed sales before the thing releases. I get it, it makes sense I suppose. I dont mind if its pre order pants but when theres certain things you can never get or give you an advantage of some sort only by pre ordering I take that a bit negatively.

    Last edited 12/11/15 11:42 am

    I like to have the choice. I like to know if want a special edition that if I pre-order it I will get it.

    if you are pre-ordering collectors editions that have "stuff" in the box like statues or books or amiibos and so on then I see the point. If you are pre-ordering a bog standard copy of something like Carl on Duty Black Cops 3, a title there will likely be wall to wall displays of with BO3 wallpaper and door decals then no, you are only enabling a company to release broken games that are no longer reliant on a word of mouth recommendation system for quality because you have already committed to the purchase.

      'Carl on Duty Black Cops', ha!

    See, pre-ordering would've made slightly more sense to me before everything was purchasable and obtainable digitally, because stocks were limited in your brick and mortar store, so pre-ordering was a way of cementing your chance of both buying the game and playing it day 1. That being said, pre-ordering to me has always been a purchase of faith, faith that game will be great and worth the release date price and faith that the game won't be broken and unplayable for many day 1 (Hi Diablo 3).
    Sadly my faith in games being guaranteed good on release has been shattered for years so I always wait until I've seen it in action as version 1.0 first and see if there's problems and if the gameplay is actually fun for my interests and well optimised.

    It was 'macro' transactions aimed at 'whales' before those buzzwords were even thought up.

    To the uninitiated, the system looks like a way to ensure you get a copy in the earliest fashion.

    This country, economically and geographically, needs pre-orders. There's nothing wrong with them at this level. The local racket, as Mark aptly puts it, muddies the water.

    The stories about - Saints Row 4 was it? - crates of games ready to be distributed before the official release date before the classification issues were even sorted were a great example - you want to do business in my country than you deserve to treat me fairly, despite my country's laws and quirks.

    As previously alluded to, you end up jumping up so many hoops to ensure you can simply purchase a friggin' Zelda game. If we're going to be treated like a backwater by international publishers, then we of course take our business elsewhere.

    Then again, we've seen what the AAA games industry/business model has done to the state of the local industry, at all levels.

    Digital distribution has just about hit its ceiling locally. There's pushback at Valve/otther DDs locally, but at the same time 'rowdy' and 'renegade' 'rock star' devs openly tell us to circumvent our consumer laws to support their games.


    Games retail expands to super-markets like video has. Actual boxed software. Plentiful stocks available country-wide. Pricing doesn't need to be necessarily relaxed, but more control given to the POS operators.

    We're fed up with accounts and regionlised web-portals to buy games digitally, but to get around this LEGALLY we need to recognise the value of what games publishers are selling. Or has the iTunes store spoiled us?

    Kotaku told me never to get pre-orders and they had well rounded reasons behind it which I agreed to. So I didn't preorder Fallout 4. Now the price is $69 and I can't bring myself to spend that extra $10. The price for Fallout 4 will now always be capped at $59 or its too expensive. ::sigh::

    I hadn't preordered in a long time, but $59 for Fallout 4, already up to $69 and still $99 on the MS Store. Thats definitely something I can get behind. Forget bonus junk, give me a price that wont be better in the next 6 months and I'm there.

    For some games without mass market appeal you damn well better pre-order if you want a copy. Although more and more Digital is solving that problem. Fallout 4 Pipboy editions are the sort of thing that you Pre-order. All other editions will be on the shelf.

    I think I've matured enough that I'm sick of the statues and dust collectors that come out these days. The Pipboy which I didn't get being an obvious exception. I think I'm done with Pre-Ordering every game I want and only saving it for the rare exceptions of things I know will be scarce.

    I'll preorder the odd collector's edition, not often, but if you want the extras you'll never get them otherwise.

    But I'll also preorder any game I know I'm playing day one anyway if the price is right (digital distro only) - because despite what others have said, there generally are advantages to digital preorder. You'll normally be able to find a deep discount, that will end with release and beyond that there's the fact that the game can be preloading days before release which can have you playing straight away if the developers are kind enough to allow it. If I'm going to be playing from day one anyway, there's no reason not to take advantage.

    Last edited 12/11/15 12:30 pm

    I preordered Fallout 4 to save money.... and that's about it.

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