Friday, July 10, 2015

Yes. We Really Should Stop Pre-Ordering Video Games

Luke Plunkett is really trying to push gamers to stop pre-ordering video games. His latest Kotaku article is making the rounds again, this time on TechSpot. The list of articles regarding the movement to stop pre-orders is adding up.

If you want the summary of the arguments, here's the list:

1: Don't pre-order.
2: More games are being released today, then even 3 years ago, that have DLC content. You no longer get a completed game. You have to buy the rest of it months after release.
3: The bonuses are superficial. In-game content can typically be purchased later, and most of the time they're not worth it. The physical items are cheaply produced. (The last good item I received were the book stands from Little Big Planet 2. Those suckers are sturdy!)
4: The only games worth pre-ordering are imports (where the company can only make a certain number at a time due to budget constraints. This does not include Call of Duty, a game that will always be available).
5: Pre-orders are a guaranteed sale. Less then 10% of people don't pick up their pre-orders. (That's a GameStop stat.)
6: Bugs, bugs, and more bugs. Because publishers know you're getting the game, they can work out the bugs later. This rule is in conjunction with #2.

And yes, I am on this bandwagon. The last game I pre-ordered, which I regret, was the FF14 expansion pack. The only reason was because I knew I would forget about the game on release date, and then have to do the arduous task of checking with local Best Buy stores to see if they had a copy for PC. I regret the purchase because Amazon didn't ship out the game until 4 days after the release date. I'm pretty sure that defeated the purpose of ordering it with shipping at release, but maybe it's just me. The in-game items have no merit. They really don't. It's a circlet and an earring to commemorate FF4's anti-hero, Cecil. They are level 1 and have no stats. They just look pretty. Pay $30 more and you can get a griffon mount. Yeah. Okay. I won't sign up for that, but good try.

The culture of video games and how we consume them is changing. At the same time, customers are not idiots. We want products that work, and when we pre-order it, you better darn well believe that we want a full game in our hands. Case in point, Batman: Arkham Knight for the PC. It was pulled within days after release from Steam for being so buggy, it was virtually unplayable. Other retailers followed suit. In the case of Steam with their new refund rules, people were able to get full refunds on their purchases that they wouldn't have been able to receive in stores.

Customers were delivered a broken product, and not even a few weeks into the game's existence there is DLC on the way.

As a gamer, I understand that you want to add more content after a game is done. Maybe you get a new story idea, or want people to experience the game from the perspective of a different character. But there's no reason to deliver us broken products. And we're not all gullible enough to fall for pre-orders bonuses for pants.

For the number of people who commented on the articles mentioned earlier who said they will still pre-order, there are just as many who have been slighted one too many times and now opt to wait.

Getting Dragon Age: Inquisition 5 months after release was one of my better decisions. There's still a headless man in the soldier's training area, but no crashes to desktop that plagued the game early on.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for pointing out the "limited quantity" bit, as I feel like it's something a lot of anti-preorder folks overlook. For example. I wouldn't have been able to get The Wild Cards Edition of Persona Q had I not preordered, or able to pick up some other niche games, like Demon Gaze or Danganrompa. Nice write-up!


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