The Do's and Dont's of Preorders

The Do's and Dont's of Preorders
 
 

Good afternoon, NZGamer. It's time we had a talk.

You'll hear a lot about what is “ruining the games industry,” and how preordering is the biggest one. Social media and forums are full of comments about how “the industry sees preorders as guaranteed sales,” or how “they just don’t put as much effort in as they used to” and, of course, “they’re just making worse games”. I see this all the time, from pretty much every outlet, and there's something important to note from this diatribe.

It's bullshit.

Well, mostly. See, there are good reasons to preorder, and good reasons not to. These are the Three Don’ts and Two Dos of Preorders

Don't - Preorder for exclusive digital content

Hi there, Deus Ex. And Tomb Raider, Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, and the myriad other franchises hopping on this bandwagon. Who loves preordering these games for 30 minutes of extra content, or 3 bonus missions? Nobody, that’s who. Nobody likes this.

If the extra half hour of content isn't good enough to be in the main release of the product, it's not good enough to preorder for. Extra DLC like this, technically available at launch, is effectively holding the players to ransom. It’s sneaky and conniving, cutting pieces out of a game, and and we shouldn't fall for it. This is the aspect of preorder culture that's damaging the industry. Sure, some developers say they go gold months before launch; these snippets of content are done in the interim, instead of just sitting on their butts not doing anything for a few weeks.

Far be it from me to say that those devs could be focusing on QA or full DLC; you just need to look at the example CD Projekt Red set with The Witcher 3 to see that. Even if you’re making bite-sized add-ons while waiting for release, you don’t need to hold it to ransom.

On the other hand...

Do - Preorder for exclusive physical content

Look, I love Collector's Editions. I really do. And if you do too, there's no harm in preordering to get an awesome statue or model or whatever. The difference here is that you're buying something to complement a game, not something that probably should've been there by right.

My current gaming room has merch from so many games. I like stuff. That badass Witcher statue, a cool deck of Dishonored Tarot cards, a replica PipBoy; these were worth a preorder to me. I won't order EVERY Collector's, sure, but the ones I deem worth it I'm all over.

As a side note here, guys, don't get a Collector's Edition because you think it'll increase in value. This happens so rarely that unless you're a genius or insanely lucky, you'll just end up with a room of sealed boxes and wasted cash. Display those statues, wear the shirts and props, put up the posters. Enjoy what you’ve bought, ya know?

Don't - Preorder a standard edition

I have never understood why people do this. Oh no, but it might sell out! Look, it won't sell out. Games never sell out, because it's literally impossible in this day and age for them to sell out. Can't get a physical copy? There's a digital copy. Download it! It’s probably cheaper that way anyway.

There are some exceptions to this, like if you have a really subpar internet connection or whatever, but generally, ordering the base edition of a game is just lunacy. It's not killing the entire industry, no, but it's not smart, and it does affect marketing and quality assurance. If you're so desperate for a physical copy at release, it's obviously a game you care about; splurge and get a Collector's Edition. Go on, treat yo' self.

Do - Preorder to support a developer

It can be argued that this isn’t really preordering, but let’s say it is. I'll be fair, only some of us do this. This is more of a Kickstarter thing because, considering games like Wasteland 3 and the like, they'd struggle to be made otherwise.

Yes, it's a risk; I've been burned by Kickstarter more than once. But when they come through, and you get to play a great game that literally wouldn't have been made without support of people like you? That’s cool. Plus you usually get a pretty sweet deal, support indie developers, and basically get to be awesome; those warm fuzzies mask the sting of any losses. I recommend it.

Don't - Preorder an new IP unless you're 18 million percent sure

I contradict myself a lot, but let me remind you that I preordered Haze. HAZE. And Naughty Bear. And, to my eternal shame, I did that for digital exclusives. I regret these mistakes deeply, and I write all of this to spare you my pain. If you're not sure about a game, wait for a review. Here at NZGamer we usually have a review up within a day or two of release / embargo, and you can wait that long. Believe me, it's worth it.

Not to say you can NEVER preorder a new IP. I got Dishonored at release, partially for sweet Tarot cards, and mostly because the trailer and setting looked amazing. I wasn't wrong. I also have a neat little Altair statue from the first Assassin's Creed, because again that looked badass. No regrets. Use your best judgement, really, is what I'm saying.


 

I'm not telling you how to live your lives. I'm just saying that, among all the voices screaming at us not to preorder, there are some valid reasons to do so. It's up to you to decide, and not just listen to whatever certain people tell you.

Except me. You should definitely listen to me.




 

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Comments Comments (32)

 
Posted by Coddfish
On Thursday 3 Nov 2016 3:12 PM
12
Do - pre-order a game when scarcity is an actual real concern, like Nintendo games in New Zealand, where it's not unusual for a store to get a single-digit number of copies and then never get another shipment.
 
 
 
Posted by cortez72
On Thursday 3 Nov 2016 3:17 PM
4
I totally agree. I learnt my lesson from No Man's Sky... then I went and ordered the WWE 2k17 for the Goldberg exclusive. But I was aware of my contradiction in position immediately. It's so hard to get gamers to jump on board a movement. We all probably agree with the points in your article Brian, but it's like herding cats, we nod in agreement but then don't act on it. Just like I did above. I couldn't even agree with myself.
 
 
 
Posted by Xaphriel
On Thursday 3 Nov 2016 3:41 PM
4
3 November 2016, 03:12 PM Reply to Coddfish
Do - pre-order a game when scarcity is an actual real concern, like Nintendo games in New Zealand, where it's not unusual for a store to get a single-digit number of copies and then never get another shipment.
If you really want a physical copy, absolutely. But, I mean, the e-Shop is there too in case of emergency. It's not like the old days, where people literally won't be able to play it.
 
 
 
Posted by Syn-Ryn
On Thursday 3 Nov 2016 3:44 PM
3
Does cheap physical tat really justify a preorder?
 
 
 
Posted by Gadgetgamers
On Thursday 3 Nov 2016 4:01 PM
1
I always preorder now and have been doing this for a while now, even if I get a standard version which is rare, I still get the last discount should the price drop.
 
 
 
Posted by Xaphriel
On Thursday 3 Nov 2016 4:05 PM
1
3 November 2016, 03:44 PM Reply to Syn-Ryn
Does cheap physical tat really justify a preorder?
I'd say it depends on how much you want it.
 
 
 
Posted by toner
On Thursday 3 Nov 2016 4:17 PM
1
I pre-order standard editions, but I leave it until the last day before it's out to pre-order. Yes, digital is easier, but it's still more expensive - Infinite Warfare on XB1 is 20% dearer than a physical copy at JB Hi-Fi.
 
 
 
Posted by ThatUndeadLegacy
On Thursday 3 Nov 2016 4:35 PM
-1
f**k i really wish i pre ordered witcher 3, i didn't know it would be such an amazeballs game.
 
 
 
Posted by ThatUndeadLegacy
On Thursday 3 Nov 2016 4:35 PM
-11
3 November 2016, 04:17 PM Reply to toner
I pre-order standard editions, but I leave it until the last day before it's out to pre-order. Yes, digital is easier, but it's still more expensive - Infinite Warfare on XB1 is 20% dearer than a physical copy at JB Hi-Fi.
and on pc it's 20% cheaper than jb hi fi lol.
 
This comment has been down-voted by the community.  
 
Posted by predatorhunter
On Thursday 3 Nov 2016 4:39 PM
3
Not preorders that are ruining the game industry. It's the microtransactions that are the real issue. They are fine in f2p games but really shouldn't be in AAA titles.
 
 
 
Posted by ThatUndeadLegacy
On Thursday 3 Nov 2016 4:43 PM
-7
3 November 2016, 04:17 PM Reply to toner
I pre-order standard editions, but I leave it until the last day before it's out to pre-order. Yes, digital is easier, but it's still more expensive - Infinite Warfare on XB1 is 20% dearer than a physical copy at JB Hi-Fi.
Strange even on jb hi fi the price is cheaper for pc, yay for not paying membership fees!
XBX CALL OF DUTY INFINITE WARFARE
$96.00 Pre-order now
PS4 CALL OF DUTY INFINITE WARFARE
$96.00 Pre-order now
PC CALL OF DUTY INFINITE WARFARE
PRICE $86.00

Green man Gaming
Price, 82.19
 
This comment has been down-voted by the community.  
 
Posted by NZBuc
On Thursday 3 Nov 2016 4:51 PM
-
NBA 2k17 pre-prder - gave you three days early access to the game (no matter what edition - unlike Horizon 3 and Gear 4 which were only for Ultimate editions)
 
 
 
Posted by drunk_monk
On Thursday 3 Nov 2016 5:27 PM
1
Spelling mistake: "Preoreder".

I agree with this piece. Preorders aren't killing the *insert whatever here*, but for most physical games except for rare Japanese games there is no good reason to preorder.

Make publishers earn your money before you offer it up. Show you the product and how great it is before you throw em a hundred bucks, and not just marketing BS as it may or may not represent the game in the end.
 
 
 
Posted by SpawnSeekSlay
On Thursday 3 Nov 2016 5:29 PM
3
Ive got burnt on a few games so havent preordered in years (Witcher 3 being the only exception).
Ive got such a backlog that I resist the urge to preorder or by day 1, and just buy it done the line when its 75% off or goes to a GOTY edition.
Only time I preorder now is if I trust the Dev, or its a sequel im super hyped for ala Red Dead Redemption 2 .. or Borderlands 3.
 
 
 
Posted by jtbthatsme
On Thursday 3 Nov 2016 7:11 PM
1
I think most gamers have been burnt on a pre-order (Duke Nukem Forever anyone) it shouldn't put you off doing again. Most my games these days are digital I have a few on pre-order right & two just released from pre-order.

Totally agree on the physical pre-order point. If that physical bonus looks / sounds or just outright is awesome then pre-order away.
 
 
 
Posted by BigC
On Thursday 3 Nov 2016 9:31 PM
1
'Can't get a physical copy? There's a digital copy. Download it! It’s probably cheaper that way anyway.'

Obviously not a Playstation person...
 
 
 
Posted by AdamC
On Friday 4 Nov 2016 12:48 AM
1
I hate how SE Is handeling there pre-orders on FFXV..... I dont even know where to order from, If I do.
 
 
 
Posted by polarbear
On Friday 4 Nov 2016 3:42 AM
-
I never pre-order, I get it whens its out. Causes me no issues, usually got a review by then that I can at least somewhat base my decision on.

I really don't understand the utility in the concept. Even here, to support your dev? The investments already been made by the devs etc, and if I buy it without pre-ordering, makes zero difference
 
 
 
Posted by polarbear
On Friday 4 Nov 2016 3:44 AM
-
4 November 2016, 03:42 AM Reply to polarbear
I never pre-order, I get it whens its out. Causes me no issues, usually got a review by then that I can at least somewhat base my decision on.

I really don't understand the utility in the concept. Even here, to support your dev? The investments already been made by the devs etc, and if I buy it without pre-ordering, makes zero difference
Because I can't edit: I can see it from an indie-ish perspective, but for larger games not really.
 
 
 
Posted by ThatUndeadLegacy
On Friday 4 Nov 2016 4:53 AM
-5
3 November 2016, 04:43 PM Reply to ThatUndeadLegacy
Strange even on jb hi fi the price is cheaper for pc, yay for not paying membership fees!
XBX CALL OF DUTY INFINITE WARFARE
$96.00 Pre-order now
PS4 CALL OF DUTY INFINITE WARFARE
$96.00 Pre-order now
PC CALL OF DUTY INFINITE WARFARE
PRICE $86.00

Green man Gaming
Price, 82.19
why do people dislike without telling me why, as it's not obvious to me, are they just angry i laughed at them for paying membership fees? yes it's stupid, dislike because pc is actually cheaper? hmm
 
This comment has been down-voted by the community.  
 
Posted by MadDudeHorse
On Friday 4 Nov 2016 8:37 AM
13
4 November 2016, 04:53 AM Reply to ThatUndeadLegacy
why do people dislike without telling me why, as it's not obvious to me, are they just angry i laughed at them for paying membership fees? yes it's stupid, dislike because pc is actually cheaper? hmm
I can't speak for everyone who downvoted you but I can explain why I did. This is an article about preordering games, not about which is cheaper between Consoles or PC.
Someone raised the point that digital can end up more expensive than the likes of JbHiFi so it may be worth pre-ordering to ensure availability at the price they want on the platform they want. Your response to this is saying that PC is cheaper, how is that constructive? Some people don't own a fancy gaming PC, or play with their friend base on a chosen console, or just enjoy sitting on a couch to play, or any number of other reasons that they own a console instead of a gaming PC. Whatever reason they have, telling them that PC games are cheaper doesn't constructively contribute to a discussion of whether or not to pre=order.
You then decide to add an inflammatory comment about how console players pay a membership fee to run the multiplayer infrastructure on their system. A fact we all already know about and again does not constructively contribute to the conversation.
Hopefully this provides some feedback as to why you might be getting voted down.
 
 
 
Posted by Nick2016NZ
On Friday 4 Nov 2016 9:10 AM
1
No Man's Sky put me off preordering anything ever again. At least it's got that going for it.
 
 
 
Posted by Ryzlin
On Friday 4 Nov 2016 9:48 AM
2
Depending on where you preorder too you can wait a few days and get a refund if the game turns out horrible, or reviews say don't bother.

Personally I preorder for physical things or for a game I know I will play on day one. I've pre ordered standard games because it allows me to pay them off slowly, something that is important when youbearn minimum wage.
 
 
 
Posted by Ryzlin
On Friday 4 Nov 2016 9:49 AM
-
Also, sports games, do preorder the ultimate edition when for $20 more you get $30+ worth of online points.
 
 
 
Posted by ThatUndeadLegacy
On Friday 4 Nov 2016 4:23 PM
-7
4 November 2016, 08:37 AM Reply to MadDudeHorse
I can't speak for everyone who downvoted you but I can explain why I did. This is an article about preordering games, not about which is cheaper between Consoles or PC.
Someone raised the point that digital can end up more expensive than the likes of JbHiFi so it may be worth pre-ordering to ensure availability at the price they want on the platform they want. Your response to this is saying that PC is cheaper, how is that constructive? Some people don't own a fancy gaming PC, or play with their friend base on a chosen console, or just enjoy sitting on a couch to play, or any number of other reasons that they own a console instead of a gaming PC. Whatever reason they have, telling them that PC games are cheaper doesn't constructively contribute to a discussion of whether or not to pre=order.
You then decide to add an inflammatory comment about how console players pay a membership fee to run the multiplayer infrastructure on their system. A fact we all already know about and again does not constructively contribute to the conversation.
Hopefully this provides some feedback as to why you might be getting voted down.
Well thank you, but you don't need a high end pc and im reminding people they have other options, only because i dislike people have to pay for services that they don't need to pay for, and a bit sad they pay membership fees and then get screwed over by their console company, *sony* is a great example.
 
This comment has been down-voted by the community.  
 
Posted by ThatUndeadLegacy
On Friday 4 Nov 2016 4:24 PM
1
4 November 2016, 09:49 AM Reply to Ryzlin
Also, sports games, do preorder the ultimate edition when for $20 more you get $30+ worth of online points.
Dont sports games end support after the next one comes out?
 
 
 
Posted by Wertbag
On Friday 4 Nov 2016 5:18 PM
2
Due to bugs in new releases usually people who play on day 1 get a worse experience than those who wait even a couple of weeks. Assassin's Creed Unity was a great example where day 1 thousands couldn't even install the game, but those who waited got the fully patched game and had a much better experience.
Then you get games where you know there is a ton of DLC already in the works, like Total War - Warhammer with the DLC list out well in advance. I know there will be a game of the year/collectors edition released in a years time that bundles all of the patches and DLC together. Just makes me happy to wait to play the game in its final finished form.
I would never pre-order ever. Plenty of choices of things to play, no need to rush.
 
 
 
Posted by arkwright
On Friday 4 Nov 2016 8:32 PM
-
Good topic. I have too many games in the backlog to be pre-ordering anything. I prefer to buy a game after seeing the reviews, letting the major patches get done etc. and then purchasing a mostly finished product. Of course Steam sales are another matter entirely. Of course I have been burned in the past with pre-ordering (DNF indeed, where hopes were crushed to dust). Each to his own at the end of the day but that's human nature for ya.
 
 
 
Posted by SinuousPanic
On Monday 7 Nov 2016 1:13 PM
2
4 November 2016, 04:24 PM Reply to ThatUndeadLegacy
Dont sports games end support after the next one comes out?
Or in EA's case, 6 months after release. I (along with millions of others) still can't play FIFA 16 online, the matchmaking algorithm was bugged from day 1. Although I'm sure we all know this is one of EA's biggest faults in general, they make really good games that don't work properly and never fix them.
 
 
 
Posted by SinuousPanic
On Monday 7 Nov 2016 1:26 PM
1
I've preordered a couple of times to support a developer. 7 Days to Die from The Fun Pimps is one I follow very closely and is the reason I still look at early access on Steam. Amazing game with some great potential, even though it's still at least a year away from the full release.

I feel somewhat let down by Ark though (Xbox version, not sure if it happened the same way on PC). Great game concept, was really awesome at first, we had a private server going for a couple of months while tinkering with settings until ready to make it public. Things were looking all rosey, then they released DLC before the game was finished. Said DLC had things in it we were promised in the final product. I may start playing it again once the game has been given a full release, but I refuse to pay for DLC which includes things I was under the impression I had already paid for. That's almost as bad as pay to win, almost.
 
 
 
Posted by maxnaughty
On Friday 11 Nov 2016 1:10 PM
-
I definitely pre-order to get the collectors edition and physical loot as I'm an avid game collector!
 
 
 
Posted by dylnut
On Saturday 12 Nov 2016 3:04 PM
-
I generally pre-order because I don't earn enough money to buy the game straight up, so I'm guilty of pre-ordering standard copies, but only for that reason.