October 14, 2010
Pre-Orders…. a bad idea?
In recent years there has been a major push by publishers, encouraging you to pre-order your games before they are released in stores or online. Is pre-ordering a game really necessary and can it be harmful to you as the consumer? The most common arguments for pre-ordering a title are a.) You don’t ahve to wait in line or the game or even risk not being able to get it on day one of release b.) You will be given a couple special in game items such as extra weapons, pets, or maybe even a map c.) A discounted rate on the game if you purchase the title early.
Having said this let’s take a look at some of the reasoning for preordering starting with getting your title on day one. Halo3 for example, was released at midnight at a local Best Buy here in Lincoln, NE, people were lined up outside the store for the game. The following day I went to pick up a copy of the title half expecting it to be sold out… much to my surprise their was stand after stand stocked full of Halo 3 copies. While this may not be true at EVERY best buy across the country I tend to think that it’s a fairly common trend anymore for major releases for retailers to order large amounts of stock so they don’t miss out on any sales. Publishers also give you extra in game items such as a pet, extra maps, early beta access to upcoming title or even special weapons. I have found in most cases the extra in game items you are given tend to be worthless and don’t get used at all during the course of the game. There are some cases where you might actually get a discount if you pre-order. You don’t generally see this for console titles but you tend to see it more for digitally distributed games.
The biggest problem with pre-ordering however isn’t with the items listed above. The biggest problem is… What if the game sucks? We have all done it at some point… we have been following a game that we have been excited about for months and then when it finally is available for pre-order you pounce on it. The time for release comes and you go to read the reviews for the game and it is a complete let down, glitch graphics, sub par game play and has absolutely no redeeming qualities about it. You get home with the game hoping that all of it is lies and you install it to find out the reviews were wrong… the game is actually far worse then they said it was. Within a month the game is in the $5 bargain bin and you had just one month earlier paid $60 for it. You try to play through it but you just can’t and you reluctantly remove it from your PC, Xbox or PS3 and put it on the shelf to never touch it again. There are several games that have followed this exact trend: Medal of Honor, Space Siege, Goldeneye: Nightfire, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty and the list goes on. Does this mean pre-ordering is bad? No. But it is something to consider before you go blindly buying something before you know if it’s any good or not.