Avoid the frustration: Stop preordering video games

By Jos · 42 replies
Jul 10, 2015
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  1. There once was a time, 10-15 years ago, when the concept of pre-ordering made sense. Every video game on the market was pressed onto a disc, and those discs had to be manufactured, shipped and sold in a store. Often, due to demand, popular games would sell out, leading to frustrated customers.

    Soon enough, though, companies like Gamestop and Amazon figured out that if you could pay for a game before it shipped, then you could avoid missing out. Publishers would have a better idea of how many boxes they’d need to ship, and customers could guarantee they’d get hold of the latest game as soon as it was released, avoiding the heartache of a sold-out sign.

    It was a good arrangement! At least for a time. It didn’t take long for publishers and retailers to realise, though, that once a customer put their money down for a game that wasn’t finished, that customer was on the hook.

    Read the complete article.

  2. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    TL;DR: Don't pre-order video games.

    Davis's rules for pre-ordering video games, probably more useful than a Kotaku article:

    1. Don't.
    2. The more concrete a game's advertising, the safer a pre-order is.
    3. The more conceptual a game's advertising, the more likely you are to be hoodwinked.
    4. If they don't show you every part of the game you have questions about, refer to (1).
    SuperVeloce, Auth3ntic0 and tomkaten like this.
  3. noel24

    noel24 TS Evangelist Posts: 356   +203

    Pointless article. Wise people not pre-order, at least not from likes of Ubi, EA, Rockstar. People who got no brains will not listen and preorder anyway, if they have cash. Because they can, and they believe they will be treated specially. I don't know, should ask some psychiatrist. Anyway, I know many people can feel disapointed with Witcher 3, but of all preorder bombs, it doesn't deserve a illustration in the article. Put some EA image there. Or GTA5's, that beautifully crafted empty world is a biggest disappointment for me in a long time. Would make good example of advertising triumph over script writing. 52 million copies of overhyped boredom.
    darkzelda likes this.
  4. WangDangDoodle

    WangDangDoodle TS Addict Posts: 199   +71

    Yeah, I learned my lesson after pre-ordering the collector's edition of SWTOR. Never again! I don't care how enticing the bonus DLC is! When I was a kid, I'd be counting the days waiting for this and that game release, but I'm a grownup now and I've developed impulse control. :p
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  5. JetFixxxer

    JetFixxxer TS Enthusiast Posts: 43   +7

    I pre-order games if the price is right. Dark Knight I pre-ordered from one of these sites that sells just CDkeys, but it was under 30.00. Same with Battlefield Hardline pre-ordered from MicroCenter for 29.99.. I can handle a game sucking for 30.00 vs. 60.00. In general I don't pre-order games.

    I'm also older and been playing video games for a very long time. Cut my teeth on pong! So I don't have the OMG a new game is coming out any more. I still haven't finished a lot of games because I lose interest in them quicker. The last game I finished has been the last Batman or Wolfenstien:New Order which ever was released after the other. I still haven't finish, Far Cry 4, The Evil Within, Dying Light, Dead Space 3, Crysis 3, and Middle Earth just to name a few.

    EDIT: No the last game I finished was South Park: Stick of Truth.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  6. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,335   +843

    Better just leave it at 1.
  7. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    My list is meant to be helpful to even the insane gamer, who consistently pre-orders hype expecting not to be disappointed.
    cwobara123 likes this.
  8. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,005   +656

    Opportunity for Metacritic or IGN to expand ratings to include 'pre-order overpromise'.
    BlueDrake and Arris like this.
  9. SirGCal

    SirGCal TS Maniac Posts: 365   +136

    There is no help or sanity for this individual.

    Personally, if the game is from Ubi, EA, etc. I turn the other way anymore. Sick of bad games and at best, poor console ports. The Indie game industry is where innovation seems to be in both game-play and idealism. IMHO

    But even still, I don't pre-order ever anymore. EVER. I usually even wait for games to be bundled. I have over 550 games in my Steam library which most were bundles. When one or two games in the bundle are WORTH the $2-10, the rest, good or bad are icing. And ironically, many of them tend to be very enjoyable.
  10. Peter Farkas

    Peter Farkas TS Addict Posts: 272   +88

    The same applies for many other things such as new OS versions as well. Whenever I was an early adopter, either for game or OS, I had a very bad experience most of the times.
    I think it depends on the developer company. EA, Ubisoft screw up big time but I didn't have bad experience with Blizzard so far.
  11. Xabi Granja

    Xabi Granja TS Member

    Spot on. I stopped preordering years ago. Once I see the game and opinions/reviews on it, that's when I pull the trigger. I find preordering absolutely *****ic. Do you buy a car just because the salesperson tells you "This car will be amazeballs! Trust me!". No. You try the thing and then decide. If I'm redoing, say, my bathroom it's stupid to pay everything up-front. I'll pay half beforehand and the other half as they're finishing it, to keep them on the hook to do a good job. Otherwise, they'd have no motivation to do it well as they already have your money. It's the same with all things in life, including videogames.
    Darth Shiv likes this.
  12. gingerbill

    gingerbill TS Addict Posts: 233   +59

    Rome total war 2 was the last game I pre-ordered for a long time , that taught me a lesson. It's very rare I pre-order now , though I did with the last of us for PS4 and will pre-order xcom 2.
  13. Alpha Gamer

    Alpha Gamer TS Evangelist Posts: 354   +116

    Discussing how stupid pre-order is beating a dead horse, I don't even know why we're still on it. On the other hand, something that makes me uncomfortable is professional reviews not being 100% honest. Back in 2011, nobody mentioned how clunky and unresponsive the controls in Witcher 2 were. In 2012, the obscenely easy difficulty in Reckoning: Kingdoms of Amalur was totally ignored. Right now, Witcher 3 is a mess: lv 24 quests for lv 12 rewards. I wonder why nobody talks about these things in their so called "professional reviews" when in the forums that's all you see after the game is released.
    gingerbill likes this.
  14. I pre order only for the sake of collectors editions, because thats the only time you can buy those.
  15. How about don't pre-order from large gaming companies because they are the greedy ones pushing out garbage more often than not and are now pushing micro-transactions to milk even more money from gamers with DLCs that should have been in the game in the first place.

    Only pre-order from small gaming companies making games for the love of gaming and doing so out of the grip of gaming corporations. Support smaller companies and indies by pre-ordering to help fund their games and take BACK the gaming industry from the corporations poisoning it.
  16. fps4ever

    fps4ever TS Addict Posts: 102   +74

    If game selling portals/sites are willing to refund now I say go for it. Pre-order all you like until publishers wake up and release better quality games. If not I whole heartily agree with this article.
  17. fps4ever

    fps4ever TS Addict Posts: 102   +74

    No it's not. You can probably get them cheaper on eBay after the game has been out for a while. If you read the article the author addresses that issue quite well.
  18. enemys

    enemys TS Addict Posts: 122   +110

    Hurr durr preordering is bad, Collector's Editions are ****, blah bah I am frustrated and put my whining on a big tech site
    Why did someone let this "article" be published on TechSpot? While it does say some things right, it is quite unpleasant to read.

    I understand the disappointment that often comes with preorders, but putting a picture from Witcher 3 together with a "stop buying promises" is pretty stupid, since this game is just brilliant and the whole hype about it was justified with gameplays, early impressions, CDPR politics and quality of previous games from the series. Batman: AK or AC: Unity would both be far better choices.

    " Why have demos more or less ceased to exist? Preorders are why." - yeah, sure, the facts that game engines nowadays are huge, complicated pieces of software and separating the demo part from the whole game isn't something that can be done in an hour have nothing to do with that. Demo versions stil exist, but they are far less common. Seems like the market verified them rather negatively. The possibility of checking tons of reviews and scores in like ten seconds also contributed to that. It's not just about pre-orders (though they do play a part), they are just one part of the picture.

    "Want to know why exclusive missions and items are withheld from everyone’s game and are instead sprinkled across various competing retailers? Preorders are why."
    Nope, it's the DLCs.

    "Want to know why it’s now accepted that you can sometimes pay more for a multiplayer game and start with a competitive advantage? Preorders are why."
    Nope, it's the DLCs and pay-to-win practices.

    Last but not least: what is wrong with Collector's Editions? I've bought about a dozen of them and most of them were pretty amazing. Art-books, card games, complete editions of prequels, figurines, busts, medallions, rings, awesome boxes, soundtracks, making-of videos, digital add-ons... Small, stupid DLCs are the least important part.

    I wouldn't say "stop pre-ordering games", I am more like "think carefully and pre-order rarely". I've preordered like 20 games in my life and I remember just one small disappointment: Thief (which was quite good, but far worse than I hoped). But since I had only paid like 30 bucks for it, I wasn't really upset after finishing it.
    ArdvarkMaster likes this.
  19. Badelhas

    Badelhas TS Booster Posts: 74   +26

    I tottaly agree with this article. Very well put.
  20. SupportThe2ND

    SupportThe2ND TS Rookie

    I've only in my entire video game life pre-ordered one game due to the hype and that was Destiny. Needless to say that it was the last one I ever will do so with. Waste of my money and almost out and out lies by Bungie and Activision before release. I normally NEVER preorder anything due to the fact that I have a GameFly account and that allows not only to play before buying but then gives a substantial discount when you buy.
    gingerbill likes this.
  21. collinge71

    collinge71 TS Rookie

    Im with you. To call people stupid and crazy for pre-order is nonsense. I preo-ordered batman for the XBox One. Have 0 problems with it. Now I could have just picked it up the day it released but why not pay the same price and get a little more content.
  22. Choaf

    Choaf TS Rookie

    Shouldnt the real answer be Pre-order everything and dont pick up on release date then read the reviews and then change your mind and move your money to another title.This way the Producers can't depend on the system anymore and maybe put a hurt on many developers. I for one would actually rather have less companies putting out quality games then more companies that crap in a box and give you a warranty.
  23. fps4ever

    fps4ever TS Addict Posts: 102   +74

    I think the article was geared more towards pc game pre-ordering. Console games should generally be more stable at launch, not allows but that is the general rule of thumb.
  24. Sniped_Ash

    Sniped_Ash TS Maniac Posts: 253   +108

    Witcher 3 actually is a good example because there were some nasty bugs at launch and performance issues especially on consoles. The movement, combat, and inventory systems also have their issues that could be incredibly frustrating too. The fact that they're doing everything they can to fix that stuff (next week's patch looks to be the big one) totally validates the argument for waiting instead of preordering.

    The difference though is that CD Projekt Red really do seem committed to changing things based on feedback as soon as possible and without those issues Witcher 3 is not just game of the year material, but in the running for greatest of all time.
  25. I only pre-order COD games months in advance. The COD developers are very consistent and for the most part I enjoy each one. Some more than others but I always finish the single player campaign and play the multiplayer.

    Other games I sometimes pre-order maybe a week before release so I can pre-load the game on Steam.

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