Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Guys! I Found a List of the Worse Reasons to Pre-Order!

I was going to save this for the weekly link round-up, but this article is so bad that I need to share it. I'm even willing to give a direct link to it for the hits, as a thank you to the writer for creating such a crappy piece of "news."

Flickering Myth, a movie, TV, and comic book review website, came up with a list of 5 reasons on why you should pre-order video games. Given how vocal I, and others in the community, have been regarding the outdated, and flawed pre-order system, you're probably wondering why I clicked on the article at all.

Curiosity got the better of me.

Boy, does this list blow. I don't think I've ever seen such a slap-dash attempt at creating content turn out so bad. And I'm usually pretty good about bsing material at the last minute if I'm in a pinch. But that...thing, because it doesn't deserve to be called an article, is the reason why people can't take video game discussions seriously.

First I want to point out that while the merits are few, there are some benefits to pre-ordering video games. When it comes to overseas or region-exclusive games that are likely to be produced in limited quantity for North America, pre-ordering is a sure-fire way to ensue that you receive the product. I look to games like Ace Attorney as an example. I remember when this was first released, and if you didn't pre-order it, good luck finding a copy. I was incredibly fortunate that I stumbled upon this at a Fry's Electronics, and the rest of the series through Amazon, but trying to locate the game was near impossible for the longest time. The game had a limited release, and so did the follow-ups. They have a following in Japan, and there are die-hard fans in the West, but not to the level that Capcom can successfully fulfill a wide-scale release.

Pre-orders are great in those situations, as it is a guaranteed copy of something we may rarely, if ever, see in our neck of the world.

But the reasons Flickering Myth gives to pre-order a game are dumb. I'm not going to sugar coat it.

While it's nice to think that your pre-order is the sole purpose for a game's release (which is reason #1 on Flickering Myth), it's not. There are a number of factors that go into determining whether a game ships to retailers, and pre-orders are not one of them. Games like Silent Hills and Titan come to mind as prime examples on how pre-orders have no influence on if a game is released. Both were highly anticipated, from developers Konami and Blizzard, respectively. With Silent Hills there were a lot of issues with management taking over the creative direction, the outing of Kojima, and a general breakdown of the project. Pre-orders had been going on for months by that time, but that didn't stop the game from getting the boot.

With Titan, the "not public" MMO from Blizzard, it became a 7 year project that was scrapped in 2014. The team went back at step one. For them it wasn't about turning out another MMO in the vein of World of Warcraft. They wanted to do something different and no longer found the game fun during development. This was a game that had been known for years, and even without a release date or price point, a lot of retailers were taking pre-orders as early as 2010. Given the million plus fan-base of WoW, this is the type of pre-order that easily could garner 250k reservations within the blink of an eye. But a pre-order would not save Titan. When the developers chose to scrap the project and start all over, that was their downfall.

Reason #2 on the not-so-wonderful list is that you join a community.

Um...I'm pretty sure we were already apart of the gaming community. How does pre-ordering help? You can still speculate about game content, box design, and reviews without having to pre-order the product. You are not going to be locked out of forums for not having a pre-order. And if you do, that website sucks and you should go to another gaming forum that respects your wallet.

The third reason is my favorite for being so laughably obtuse: you can be a hero around your friends! Yes! If you pre-order a video game you will be the envy, the glory, the God among your peers. Because you have spent money on that pre-order.

Let's be honest here. If that's the only reason your friends hang out with you is because you pre-order video games, you need to re-evaluate your life. That is probably one of the worse reasons to pre-order I have ever heard. The premise of this "point" is that your friends will want to hang out with you more for being the first to get said video game. Instead of buying their own, they'll be couch surfing with you. And that's how you make more friends because you're the cool kid on the block!

Look. This isn't the early 1990's. Gaming is easily accessible and cheaper, if you don't buy the triple A title's. The need to be the first to get the product will always be there. But if you don't get it, so what? You have mobile games, free Flash games, all of this content that bumming off a friend is not at the fore-front of your mind.

Reason 4 is almost as bad as number 3. Free swag!

To Flickering Myth I'd like to point out that it's not really "free" since you still have to pay for the game. Many of these "freebe" items only come with the purchase and can not be handed out until you plop down all of the cash at the release date. A number of these items are in-game content that can only be accessible if you play the game. They are notorious for being flashy looking items that hold no substance. To this day I can't think of a single pre-order item that was of worth. You could argue the Pitboy for Falllout 4 but that was not a "free" bonus. You had to pay for a different, and very expensive, version of the game. Those XP grinding sessions on the latest Call of Duty or extra RP in Grand Theft Auto Online, well you can still get those sporadically throughout the year even if you never pre-ordered the game. GTA had one for Thanksgiving weekend. There's no benefit in the "swag."

The final reason is what made me head desk and pray to whatever deity that would listen that the future of game discussions do not go down this path: the excitement of pre-ordering! Because there's a thrill to counting down the days until a game's release, waiting on the postman/woman to deliver your game, or to go to midnight releases at your local game store. It's so much fun waiting! And waiting. And waiting some more. Because waiting!

Did you know that for the vast majority of games you can walk into any retailer with the product and pick it up on the release date without pre-ordering it? Gasp! Who would have thought that some businesses like to stock up to cover demand! It's a revelation!

I don't think I have ever seen a worse list of reasons to pre-order, or just a terrible list overall, in my life. This tops the Geek.com 11 point lists from their serial lister K. Thor Jensen.

Stay classy internet.


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