Monday, January 06, 2014

You Can Pre-Order Lots of Games!

Um, Kotaku, there are a lot of things that are out, or have been available, for pre-order for years before release. It's not a new thing. You just happened to catch on to some of the more obvious titles that don't exist yet.

Having worked at GameStop for years, I have seen pre-orders come and go. Even Halo 3 you could pre-order at some store locations the day after Halo 2 was released. No seriously. You could. A game that we knew was coming, but wasn't announced yet and wasn't even in development, you could pre-order. The Last Guardian is another fantastic example; announced in 2009 GameStop stores and the website started accepting pre-orders for the product. And then the game was delayed. And delayed some more. Now we're not even sure if they are going to release it at all since we're looking at a 4 year gap from when it was brought to the public forum. But if you have pre-ordered it at a store or online, your order is still there. For a game that may cease to exist.

Pre-orders exist for several reasons: it gives gamers a chance to reserve a title with a guarantee that they will have a copy on release day. Sometimes, such as with Call of Duty or GTA, it's for the claim to fame that you got the item on Day 0. Other times, it's to ensure that you actually get a copy of a game that may not be as well received, an import, or low production rates. Ace Attorney comes to mind, a franchise that is still popular today but very difficult to find copies of (so few of us are willing to part with them).

A good rule of thumb is to not get caught up in all of the hype. For those gamers who want the pre-order bonuses on the big name titles, you can still get them sometimes a week, heck even a month, after the game's release. I picked up GTAV 2 months after it was released and still received the pre-order bonus item for the PS3. Now for games that include a Beta or a limited time key offer, then of course having Day 0 access is the best way to go. Or if it's a smaller, lesser known title with few printed copies. It also doesn't hurt to ask the clerk behind the counter "hey, do you happen to have any more of the pre-order bonus items for this game?" Sometimes, they do! But don't be an ass about it if they don't. Some stores are sent more cards/boxes then others based on prior supply and demand.

Be selective about what you pre-order. You don't HAVE to pre-order CoD this year. Stores are going to have plenty of copies available. Focus on the games that will be low stock or imports. And if you think a gaming store is going out of business soon, you are entitled to a refund on whatever payments you made towards reservations. But do it before they head out the door, else you're going to be placed at the bottom of the list by the collection agents. Sorry.

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