No Pre-Orders

In annoyances, Uncategorized, Video Games on August 19, 2019 at 12:02 AM


With the rise of the digital marketplace, and the internet, there is no reason to pre-order anything digital anymore, least of all video games. Twenty years ago, when games only released on physical media such as disks, and cartridges, there was a need to pre-order a game from your local store. Now however, with the rise of digital marketplaces like The X-Box Marketplace, Steam, and The Playstation Network you will be guaranteed to be able to get a copy of the latest and greatest video game, and do not have to drop a percentage of the game’s final price as a “deposit” to ensure that places like GameStop have a copy for you the day the title is released. No longer do we need to stand in lines outside of video game stores until midnight a la Black Friday just to ensure that we are the first person on our respective blocks to have the newest games. With the various digital marketplaces that have sprung up over the last ten years, we can still buy the game the day it comes out. The need to pre-order video games is farther diminished with more and more video game publishers including a special edition for the digital editions of their games, as well.

There is an even farther diminishing need to go out and stand in lines that stretch to the parking lots, thanks to the rise of digital marketplaces. They have the digital versions of the special editions as well, and it’s more convienent for the consumer to set their systems to download the titles while they do something else, like sleep. Many gamers feel the need to have the newest game the day it comes out, and the trouble with that is disappointment.

Overall disappointment is another reason that you should not pre-order video games, too. Games that promise the universe, only to deliver a city instead, such as “No Man’s Sky” did when it promised everything including being able to hop to your friend’s galaxies, and having interstellar dog fights, only managed to produce a boring, lackluster final product. Sure, it has been patched to include most, if not all of the advertised content, it was still viewed as too little, too late by the gaming community. Far too often are video game titles over hyped by marketing, or development, and that leads to the end consumer’s lust for the game, and that makes them want to be the first one on their block to have that title. And that is what the video game manufacturers, the publishers, and the developers all want. They want you to feel as though this game is the most important thing in your life so that you will spend the sixty dollars or more to purchase it on launch day. They all want you to tell your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and the chaps online about how great the graphics looked from the trailer, and how great the sound was, and the story idea is the best thing to hit screens in the history of televisions. But more than that, they need you to do it. They need you to tell anyone, and everyone about Call of Duty, and God of War, and the like because they want you to get your friend who hasn’t seen the trailer yet to go watch the trailer. He’ll see that you are excited for this game, and go watch the trailer, if not for any other reason, then to see what makes it so exciting. Then, after seeing the trailer for himself, he’ll be excited, and tell his friends, and so on, and so on, making them all want to go buy the title and play it first. To increase this desire to pre-order, and be first on the block to have the game, are the pre-order bonuses that publishers often throw in.

These pre-order bonuses are often little trinkets, or something from the game that was taken and made into the marketing tool of the game, and packaged with certain copies of the game to increase desire and sales. Rarely, and pre-order bonuses and “Collectors Editions” worth the added price, but in the case of The Witcher 3, Their collectors edition was worth the extra price, as it included a full art book, a Witcher’s Medallion similar to Geralt’s, but it also had trading cards, a map of the in-game world, and a bust of Geralt fighting a Gryphon, as seen in the video game. Some games, like Call of Duty, for instance will toss in something that is related to the game, like when they had a working set of night vision goggles included with one of their titles’ special editions. That’s not all the pre-order bonuses that are thrown in, however. There are also pre-order bonuses that are offered by certain stores, too. These pre-order bonuses are the worst because they are not only designed to make you desire the game even more, but now you have to enter a non-video game store such as Best Buy, or Target to get the game because of their pre-order bonus, and while at Target or Best Buy, you will see something else that you need and want to go buy it, thus making you a return customer to Target, or so the execs hope. Best Buy offers certain pre-order bonuses that are exclusive to them, making it so the consumer, who already has a desire to play the game, now has to go into Best Buy to get the game because it comes with an exclusive pre-order bonus from Best buy that he will not be able to use unless he goes to Best Buy to pre-order a physical copy of the game. Far too often the pre-order bonus character, skin, weapon, or whatever it is will just end up on sale to the general public in a month anyhow, thereby negating the need to pre-order a game in the first place.

Every WWE 2K game that has come out in the last few years has had a pre-order gimmick to it, such as Pre-ordering one year’s copy got you Goldberg to use in-game. Sadly, he went on sale to the public, including those that bought the game used, for around two dollars. I had no need to pre-order any of the WWE titles because of this; I’d just wait a month or two, and buy the bonus gimmick for a couple of dollars.

There is also the financial aspect to consider when pre-ordering a video game. Do you really want to spend about twenty dollars to set a deposit on a video game that has not even come out, and you are going solely from what the makers, or publishers are saying about the game? They aren’t goinng to say that the game is terrible, that would mean no one gets paid but everyone gets fired, and that isn’t going to help the people who make the game. They say things like the game will have the ability to let you and your friends play in the same galaxy, or the same match, because they want you to get your friends excited about it, and help the developers make their money on the game. Companies use the pre-order sales numbers to taut their successes to the investors, so they are going to tell you that the game will let you do whatever you want to make you excited and get you to pre-order the game. As mentioned earlier, No Man’s Sky promised so much, and delivered so little, leaving many feeling like they where ripped off, but they aren’t the only ones. Games like Duke Nukem Forever, which was stuck in development hell for fifteen years, despite pre-orders, and it as a horrible game when it came out. Developers promise that you can do do this, and do that in a game because that is going to get you excited about the game, and thus make you feel as though you have to have it on day one. Not every game fails to deliver on it’s promises, mind you, and some developers actually do try to include what they want in the games, but far too often we have games like Fallout ‘76, and No Man’s Sky, and Sea of Thieves that all promise the world, yet fail to deliver even a small city.

That is why you shouldn’t pre-order a game based on what the makers, or marketers tell you the game will have. A good rule of thumb, as agreed upon by the gaming community that doesn’t pre-order, wait a week after launch, and check for reviews, not only from critics, but fans, as well. Wait for those who did pre-order the game to give their opinions on the games, and whether or not it delivers a single promise, or if the developers have to release an update patch.

That is another reason one should not pre-order games: missing content. Far too often games are hyped as having certain content, like Call of Duty with their paint shop content, but it is not available when the game releases, and has to be patched in later. What did I just pay for then? I pre-ordered the latest Call of Duty title because the marketing got me hooked on the Paint Shop, and it’s not ready on launch day? That is unforgivable to many in the gaming community, yet it is tolerated by so many others. Pre-orders used to have a place in the gaming world, but outside of the gimmicks offered, and the places who are offering exclusives to their pre-orders, there is no need for them anymore. Sure, there is still the market that plays on physical media, but there is not any other reason to pre order a game in this day and age. The only ones who benefit from a pre-order are the publishers, and the makers of the game. The fans don’t benefit if the game that was touted as “game of the year” turns out to be a dud. They don’t benefit from having to drive back to the store to return a copy of the game. Plus, with the rise in digital market places, there is no need to worry about owning a copy of the game, unless it is sold as a “limited edition” because there will always be copies of the game available; it’s a digital file, after all. Once video game manufactures moved the emphasis from physical content like cartridges, and the internet gave birth to the digital marketplace, Pre-orders and their bonuses have no place in today’s world.

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