A year ago or so there were tons of articles floating around the web telling people to not pre-order video games. And some compelling reasons to stop the pre-orders were given such as unknown quality of the finished game and publisher greed. I think they jumped the gun, and here’s why.
Demos are back!
Game demos went away for a while because publishers and retailers loved pre-orders. Publishers didn’t want bad reviews stopping you from giving them money and retailers wanted to know how many units they needed for launch day. Everything was going great until game quality started to drop and sales started to drop.
According to Statista, revenue from video game sales fell from 9.9 billion in 2009 to 5.2 billion in 2015. That big dip in sales must have lit a fire underneath the publishers because game demos started showing back up in the form of open betas.
During an open beta, players are usually able to comment about what they like, don’t like, and report bugs. These open betas serve two purposes. First, they get the public talking about the game. Second, they allow the publishers and developers to find out what’s wrong with their game and also document bugs free of charge.
For the most part, open betas serve their purpose. Titanfall 2 recently went through an open beta or "tech test" and players were not happy with the changes to the Titan meter. No longer would pilots acquire a small amount of Titan meter every few seconds. Respawn Entertainment listened to the complaints and announced they fixed the Titan meter for launch.
And sometimes open betas are worthless because the publishers and developers don’t listen to the public. Take Tom Clancy’s The Division for example. A hugely anticipated game ended up receiving mediocre reviews because Ubisoft didn’t take the responses they received seriously until after launch. What could have been a superb game from the start is going to take a while to reach greatness.
Tons of money can be saved
I am a big supporter of Amazon for a few reasons. First, I use their affiliate program on this site to help fuel my pop addiction. Second, I live in one of the twenty-two states where sales tax isn’t added to my bill. Third, signing up for Amazon Prime is worth every penny for gamers and here’s why.
Amazon has a deal for Amazon Prime members who want to pre-order physical copies of new and upcoming games. You get any pre-order or new release (ordered within two weeks of launch) for 20% off. With Amazon’s deal, you don’t even need to pre-order your game. Wait for some reviews to come out and get your order in before the two weeks after launch deadline. Plus free and fast shipping. And possibly no sales tax! Who can pass up saving money for more games?
Retailers still need to predict order size
Imagine you have been saving your money to buy Horizon: Zero Dawn when it comes out in February of next year. The big day has arrived and you plan to pick up your copy from the store after work. You go to a Best Buy store first and they’re sold out. Surely GameStop will have some left. Nope! Not even Target or Walmart have copies. It’s completely sold out!
If everyone stopped pre-ordering games, the retailers would have no idea how many copies they need for launch day. The popularity of digital purchases are starting to eradicate this argument, but there are still people that like to purchase physical copies of their games in case these digital media retailers decide to close up shop. If you are one of those people, I encourage you to pre-order. By doing so, you’re helping the retailer prepare for the launch day demands and you’re also guaranteeing you get your new game. It’s a win-win.
Trust your tastes, not reviews
I have gone to numerous movies after looking at mediocre reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and have thoroughly enjoyed myself. Why? Because everyone has different tastes. I might gravitate to movies that have a certain actor or actress that I like. Or my love for raunchy humor might be different than the stuck-up critics. We are all unique butterflies.
A better strategy is to look at ratings from players just like you. A quick look at Polygon’s review of Dishonored 2 and you will only see their score of the game at the bottom and no one else’s. Jump over to IGN and below their rating you will see the community rating. I use this strategy for all of my media (movies, games, books) purchasing.
Gamers usually are not persuaded by mediocre reviews. They want the newest game. It’s ok, we all do it. I saw the mediocre reviews for Duke Nukem Forever role in and I still bought the steamy turd anyway. Tom Clancy’s The Division was buggy and poorly reviewed, but that didn’t stop it from breaking sales records worldwide. So if you are just going to go ahead and buy the game anyway, void of reviews, you might as well save money doing it.
Leave a comment below telling me about your experience with pre-orders.