Pre-orders. What are your thoughts?

Pre-orders. Should you pre-order games/accessories or not? This is something I’ve read numerous other articles on, and finally I’m sharing my opinions on the subject.

I specifically remember reading numerous pieces over at Kotaku in which they preach their readers to stop pre-ordering videogames. I partially agree, but there’s some disagreement on the topic too.  Maybe it’s a smart business practice, or maybe it’s an unfair one, but some companies will create a limited number of copies of their games to release, sometimes followed by another wave, and occasionally it’s a single run.

How does pre-ordering help a gamer? Well, it does [usually] secure you a copy of the game on launch day, aside from the odd time that glitches occur or companies screw up (I’m looking at you, Best Buy.)  These days, in the digital age, it often allows gamers to pre-load the game by downloading the software days in advance so you can start playing right at launch. However, certain titles are prone to immediate server issues at launch so even this perk isn’t guaranteed.
So, why do companies push pre-orders? They say it helps to gauge customer interest in there games, and to ensure they have enough copies available at launch. But are those really the reasons behind it, and why would they push so aggressively just to help the consumers? Money.  Pre-orders bring in revenue, whether you pay the full deposit in advance, or just throw down a portion of the balance. This is money in the pocket of both the retailer and the company publishing the game. It helps their financial situation since its basically free money for a limited period of time as they’re never actually given you any product for your hard-earned cash.

Here’s a perk for the retailers that you may not even think about. Have you ever pre-ordered a title and then completely forgotten about it? Maybe it was canceled or maybe you found it cheaper elsewhere and pre-ordered it there, without getting back that $5 or however much you made your deposit for at the other location.  I spoke to a store manager at one of my local EB Games, and while they couldn’t disclose exact amounts, he said the store sees over $800 per year in pre-order deposits where the customer never actually picks up the game. He did say this number has decreased substantially in the past two years as employees now call customers in advance to remind them of a release if they’re in the pre-order system, but apparently some people just don’t care enough to go get their money back.

What determines if should pre-order a game or an accessory? Based on what we know at present time, various factors come into play. What comes with the game if you pre-order? Different retailers offer different perks whether it’s free DLC at launch or soon thereafter. Sometimes they offer a physical perk, maybe a figurine, or a special coin like Assassin’s Creed III had. Or maybe there’s no perk at all, but you know that a specific publisher only prints limited copies, and the price will jump up soon after launch due to the rarity of a title.
Let’s use the PlayStation VR as an example. Pre-orders for the starter bundle went live last week, and they were sold out in minutes across the world. Do you have a chance at obtaining one by just walking into a store when it launches this October? Yes… but it’s a very slim chance. Someone may have canceled a pre-order or maybe Sony will send a little extra stock – but there is no guarantee. In this case, I suggest you pre-order if you want it.

On the other side of the fence – let’s use Call of Duty as another example. Pre-order to ensure you get a copy of launch? Why? Games like COD, Battlefield, Far Cry, GTA V, etc… they’re so mass produced that you’ll be able to find a “Day One Edition” a year or two later with ease, and cheaper. These are the titles that you should not pre-order unless there’s a damn good reason to do so.

What qualifies as a good reason?  We’re back to what we talked about earlier. Money.  I pre-order almost every big title I want now, but only because Amazon offers a 30% discount during pre-orders made during E3. They don’t charge you until each specific item ships, they lock you in at the lowest price, and they save you money. I don’t care about trinkets, or DLC codes since you can obtain that stuff on eBay or elsewhere at a later date – but if they can save me a substantial amount of money, while not actually taking any of it up-front, then you’re damn right I’ll support pre-orders.

Are you for or against pre-orders? Or do you find you have mixed feelings like I do? Share your thoughts in the comments or tweet us at @Gamergeddon.


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