The Pre-Order Thread

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Hi Everyone. I wanted to talk about this because I read another thread where someone expressed disdain for pre-order culture. A lot of people got on his case.

Thing is, I agreed with him. So I wanted to start this thread by expressing the reasons why I think pre-orders are bull (Of course the purpose of me posting this is to have a dialogue. If I wanted to merely be safe with my merry opinion, I would have kept silent).

Anyway, full disclosure, I did pre-ordered one game... ever. It was "The Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth". I did it for two reasons. First, I was super excited for it!! :LOL: Second, I got a 10% discount for pre-ordering because I owned the original. (As you might be able to guess, I am fine with pre-orders if there is a tangible reward such as a discount.)

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But why would I be against them? There are two reasons:
1) Pre-orders are meant for anticipated shortages.
2) Pre-ordering allows a company to make a profit before a game's quality can be assessed.

The first reason: Pre-ordering, historically, was meant as a measure for customers to get a hold of a product that would be, for whatever reason, in short supply on launch day. It would allow a paying customer to get their product on launch day and keep good faith with the company.

As you might expect, this practice does not make a lick of sense when your product can be infinitely reproducible on every machine which can use it. That is pretty much a video game. In the age of digital distribution this has become even more true. Pre-ordering in such a climate is absurd.

But wait! If you were guaranteed a good product anyway, why not get the shopping out of the way now? No harm no foul right? Well...

The second reason: You are not guaranteed to get a good product! And this need not mean the video game is objectively bad... like Ride To Hell: Retribution... it might not even be something you like. Sequels can be off-putting to certain fans.

What pre-ordering is, essentially, is a commitment of faith. Without any reviews, gameplays, or friends you can try a game out with, you are running blind. You don't normally have these things when a game is not launched.

At this point, someone might be tempted to throw out a "caveat emtor" (or however you spell that:confused:). But the problem with that philosophy is it does not work anymore... at least reliably.

One only needs to look at games like Aliens: Colonial Marines, or Killzone 2, to see high-profile examples of blatant lying to the customer in trailers and "gameplays". Modern ads are rife with mocked-up gameplays (Battlefront 3 at E3 anyone?), and lets not start about the notorious greenlight and early access systems on Steam.

So in conclusion... it is a digital product that will not run out... you can wait till launch day! (y) There are no downsides to that... and plenty of downsides to pre-ordering.

That's my two cents. Appreciate comments/feedback/(polite)criticism.
 

SpotEnemyBoats

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That same guy here, I doubt most people here will take your points seriously because fan boys can't handle legitimate criticism. Despite the fact you raised several fantastic points against pre-ordering video games. I'd be glad to be proven wrong on the former, though.

Here's a few excellent videos on why people shouldn't preorder games, regardless of the hype:





EDIT: removed hotpocketeer things, they do it for free.
 
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Adabiviak

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Don't base a game purchase on reviews/media/hype because they're often misleading and you're not guaranteed to get a good product: good advice regardless of whether or not you buy a game pre- or post-release. I would consider myself lucky in that the half dozen or so games that I've pre-ordered have all turned out to be wonderful.
 

Pikminiman

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I mean... I pre-ordered a Steam Controller, but that's mostly because of the immense trust I have in Valve. In general, I tend not to pre-order, but when a company has reached a certain level of trustworthiness in my eyes, and I have concrete reasons to believe the finished product will be worth it, then I don't see an issue. Unfortunately for the publishers, those conditions are very seldom met, in my opinion.

Beyond that, though, my reason for not pre-ordering nowadays has less to do with lying publishers and more to do with the fact that I will be able to get the same product (often even a more complete version of that product, i.e. GOTY editions and so forth) for cheaper if I wait a few months.
 
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As an indie game developer I want to note that the primary functions of preorders and early access are:
1) To fund development process by money of people who are actually passionate about the game and care about it (publishers aren't the case for that).
2) To simply offset piracy damage. Most of the time the game will be on torrents in the first week after release, so preorders are providing some kind of incentive for early adopters to make sale as soon as possible. Because the majority of those sales will probably be lost once the game hits the torrents.
 
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Thanks for the comments everyone. I have a few thoughts on some things which have been said:

Hype: For me there is a difference between good advertising and hype. Though of course... it is hard to tell which is which. Usually, if there are hands-on demos or gameplays available that can be a good indication of the game's status. Should recent "downgrade" controversies matter in this? I don't know.

Trust in company: Yeah the reputation of the dev is important (in my example, The Binding of Isaac Rebirth, Edmin Mcmillen and Nicalis(indie company) both had a great track record of stellar indie games, so that was also an incentive). However, I personally would still shy away from pre-orders even if the dev has a good reputation because there is always a chance that they mess up. I suppose it depends on the product type too, if there is a publisher, if there has been hype, etc. Whatevs.

Funding Development: I have bought a few Early Access games after I saw that the dev was actually consistently updating the game. That is important. It is also important that the game already be in a playable and enjoyable state.
I do not know the details of pre-launch development or funding, however, so I tend to not say much about that, less I say something false. You probably know more than I do, Vincent.

Piracy: It is my impression that someone who would be willing to pirate a game at all, would wait till launch. Again, I don't claim to be an expert.
 

Eejit

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I don't see any reason why I shouldn't pre-order.

I've been happy with all of the handful of games I bought that way. I trust my own judgement. Why should it matter to me that others get burned by pre-buying Generic AAA HypeMachine XIV?

But fanboys of some unspecified whatever don't handle criticism about this topic or whatever half-baked idea entered the mind of our lowest common denominator through osmosis.
 

SpotEnemyBoats

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I pre-ordered the WItcher 3, but I don't regret it one instance. I knew what I was getting. I love TW and I wanted to support CDPR after all the bullshit they were getting. I turned out to be right when game turned out to be one of the best RPG's ever made.

Buying early accesss trash and AAA games, however... I feel sorry for those that did.
 
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Krynn72

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The only real reason pre-ordering is bad is that it encourages companies to make "pre-order bonuses". Typically its shit that would normally have been included in the game, but the retailers cut deals with publishers to cut some content and only offer it back if you buy from that specific retailer. When multiple retailers do it, you simple dont get content you otherwise would have. You could argue that they made the content specifically for that instance, but you would either be delusional or a lying sack of shit.

On the other hand, that content is shit anyways, and its typically only done for games that are shit.

The argument that it promotes bad games or unfinished games is a bad one. If some chump is hyped up enough about a game, but can't pre-order it, then he's going to just buy it day one. Suckers will be suckers, ain't shit anyone can do about that.
 

SpotEnemyBoats

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Unfortunately us are just a minority, and the casual gamer will keep preordering [insert generic asscreed/uncharted clone here] and the big name publishers absolutely love it. We atleast have to inform others to stop from buying shit AAA garbage because its reached the point where its spiraling out of control.
 
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The argument that it promotes bad games or unfinished games is a bad one. If some chump is hyped up enough about a game, but can't pre-order it, then he's going to just buy it day one. Suckers will be suckers, ain't shit anyone can do about that.
Hm, true. I suppose the worry is for informed customers, who can at least decide to wait anyway.

My reasons above may be more to encourage people to be patient for the sake of staying informed... but of course for people who simply won't be patient or informed, my argument is kinda pointless. So yeah.
 

Stigmata

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The argument that it promotes bad games or unfinished games is a bad one. If some chump is hyped up enough about a game, but can't pre-order it, then he's going to just buy it day one. Suckers will be suckers, ain't shit anyone can do about that.
It sort of indirectly does, since preorder numbers can be used as a selling point to drive additional pre-release hype. "Most pre-ordered game for Platform / in Time Period" and whatnot, which can lead to higher sales, and sales are the indicators of what devs/publishers can get away with in terms of quality. But you're right that it doesn't promote bad games in and of itself. Bad games will be marketed regardless of the existence of preorders.
 
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Here is an excellent article recently written about the subject:

http://kotaku.com/stop-preordering-video-games-1713802537

From the article:
"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 (and lost profits for businesses).

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 actually need to ship, and customers could guarantee they’d get hold of the latest game as soon as it was released, avoiding the small but genuine heartache of a sold-out sign.

It was a good arrangement! At least, it was 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."
 
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