PewDiePie Made The Most Pointless Pre-Order Of All Time

PewDiePie Made The Most Pointless Pre-Order Of All Time

The editorial staff at Kotaku has repeatedly advised readers to not pre-order video games, and today we can reveal two more reasons not to pre-order: Radical life changes and transformations to the gaming industry. It’s possible that, when you pre-order the game you are excited about, you might be living in Sweden and the game might take a long time (many years) to come out. A half decade later, the game might still not be out. You, however, may have become successful and famous and have moved to England, while the pre-order cash you dropped will wallow at a GameStop that has since shut down.

In this scenario, you might be one Felix Kjellberg, AKA PewDiePie, who tells that story at the start of his YouTube playthrough of a demo version of the long-awaited PS4 game The Last Guardian.

“I pre-ordered this game back when I was still in Sweden about six years ago, and I want my 50 Swedish Crowns back, thank you very much,” he said playfully, while zooming in on a map of a shuttered GameStop in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The Last Guardian was announced at E3 in 2009. If PewDiePie pre-ordered it six years ago, that means he was putting money down for it in 2010, the year he started his current YouTube channel. His channel now boasts more than 48 million subscribers. Nearly five million people have watched his Last Guardian video, which was made by possible by Sony hooking him up with a demo copy of the game.

People’s lives change, and so does the way the gaming business works. A decade ago, it was uncommon to be able to download console games, making the need to pre-order more pressing. That began to change, thanks to Sony, in 2007, as the publisher tinkered with releasing new games for download day and date with a physical release. Soon enough, supply was no longer a problem and the need to pre-order to secure a copy plummeted.

In 2016, the game industry argument for pre-ordering games has become so weak that you have things like access to today’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare “beta” being offered as a pre-order incentive. The push for pre-orders is less and less about meeting fan demand but by identifying it, as the current publisher and retail model applies so much pressure for games to be immediate hits.

PewDiePie Made The Most Pointless Pre-Order Of All Time

There’s nothing wrong with putting money down for The Last Guardian, of course, though doing so in 2010 in any country was, in retrospect, premature. Pre-ordering the game now will send a message to Sony that at least one more person wants to buy the game. But supplies aren’t going to run out when it launches (finally!) on December 7, not online and probably not even at stores for those who still want physical copies.

Plus, circumstances in your life just might change enough to render the whole pre-order thing moot, maybe not for The Last Guardian but for some other game you’ll be excited about now but won’t be out for years. Congratulations in advance, as you head down your path to becoming a YouTube sensation in your own right. If you have a moment, share a tale or two with us about pre-orders that you’ve lost to the winds of time or vagaries of geography.


  • Your argument against preordering is just as weak. You’re right that he shouldn’t have preordered but only because there is no point preordering a game just because it was shown at E3. When a retailer announces a release date and the editions, then go ahead and preorder, makes no negative difference to the game industry like you guys bang on about. I preorder Collectors Editions and exclusive editions because they do sell out for some games. If you preorder the base game, big whoop.

    Plus, your preorder is just credit at the shop and can be transferred to any other purchase. You’re going to move? log in and check what preorders and just move the funds or get a refund. Really, this is so not an issue.

  • “The editorial staff at Kotaku has repeatedly advised readers to not pre-order video games”

    Yeah, never listened to your garbage before kotaku, not going to listen to it now. Usually this crap comes from Mark. Just going to go ahead and add this one to the list.

    If I want to preorder something, it’s my choice. Do it smart and it doesn’t even hurt (shit like EB Games preorder for a $10, price match on the day and return within 7 if its shit).

    Use your brains and you’ll go far. Listen to articles like this trying to force a habbit? Up to you…

  • Ugh, this again.
    I pre-ordered just about every game I’ve bought in the few two years and have no regrets. Bonuses, discounts, pay over time.
    I’ve also cancelled several a week before release because I was not confident in the outcome.

    This guy put his money down on something when it was barely more than a fart on a breeze, just like the Kickstarters Kotaku is always pointing people to, and he lost his money due to reasons outside of the developer’s control. It’s called risk, and he failed to mitigate it.
    A month, or arguably six, before release and I don’t see any issue.

    If you want to place any reason to games broken on release, it’s significantly more likely that it’s the “build now fix later” feasibility of patch downloads.
    Stop flogging the horse.

    • Wait, it’s lost? EB has me on file with all the stuff I have pre ordered, and most likely a record of past purchases. I’ve been on there since at least the GameCube era where I got mine at midnight (first preorder?, well come to the front of the line) but possibly before around the Conkers Bad Fur Day release. That’s way over 6 years.
      Surely they’d have something in place to not ‘archive’ data with non finalised transactions on it.

      • I would say so, though not much surprises me when it comes to chasing defunct businesses for money owed.
        Unless it’s you who is owing, then they are quite active…

        I asserted from the imagery that he was unable to get his transaction fulfilled or refunded due to the store closing, and being out of the country.

  • Kickstarter and crowd funding in general is not the same as a pre-order. If you back any project, what you are doing is paying to ensure that this thing gets made. Just about any game that is available for pre-order is already guaranteed to be made, having been backed by a publisher.

    If somehow the whole community was to stop pre-ordering games, you would find that the need for ‘build now fix later’ would disappear. Because then the publisher has an incentive to make sure that the product is complete on release, because they haven’t then already been reimbursed for their investment. That reimbursement will have to come from post release sales.

    Unless you’re buying Nintendo physical products there is actually absolutely no need to pre order anything at all in gaming.

    • Yes! Stop paying these corporations before the damn game is even released. Pre-ordering enables and encourages laziness on the part of developers/publishers. Why should they work hard to make sure things are legit at launch when they already have your money?

  • Yeah pre ordering isn’t that bad especially living in Australia where it’s harder to come by non-mainstream games.

    I recently picked up a pre ordered game and my copy was the only copy in store.
    So yes Kotaku i am going to continue pre ordering games that are worthy of it.

    • I always assumed they were moreso referring to pre-ordering digitally. Which pre-order bonuses aside there isn’t much point to when you can wait an extra hour to buy just in case the game is immediately identified as a giant turd sandwich.

      That being said I can’t talk, if I’m hyped for a game I’ll preorder it on pay day to avoid those end of pay cycle dilemmas.

  • There’s nothing wrong with preordering as long as you do it intelligently, as you should with any purchase, pre- or post-release. A lot of the reasons given against preordering are speculative or straight up bunk, and the rest apply equally to day one purchases. If you know you’re going to buy the game on day one anyway, there’s no reason not to preorder.

  • You’d be better advising people to never buy dlc. When developers can get away with splitting a whole game into pieces and then charging more for it, I think thats a bigger issue than pre-ordering….

      • Except when the game isn’t complete or they pull content out of the complete game so they can split it and get more $.

  • I never understood people who pre-order. You encourage companies to spend more on marketing rather than the actual game itself.

    Then again I don’t understand people who buy the garbage companies call “collector’s editions” either. Oh well.

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