Who doesn’t enjoy a nice video game? From fun couch co-op titles to hair-tearingly difficult games like Dark Souls, video games are a fun way to blow off some steam. I personally am a huge fan of video games and lately I have been noticing that pre-orders are becoming more and more prominent. For those of you who don’t know what pre-ordering is, it’s when you buy a game BEFORE it comes out. Most of the time, the creators will give people who pre-order a little something extra for doing that. This seems like a good thing, right? Well I am going to try my best to answer that for you all, so bear with me as we dive into pre-orders.
Those of you who pre-ordered some certain recent games such as Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Aliens: Colonial Marines will know all too well why you should not pre-order. Pre-order’s are, at least in theory, good! However, the way that they are being executed is awful. With a pre-order you are paying for a game that has not been finished… why would you do that? One game that sparked a lot of controversy was actually one that did very well and is a really solid title. Shadows of Mordor, a fantastic game, did not allow reviews to go out until a week before release. The biggest issue is that they also did not allow people who weren’t associated with large publications such as IGN and Gamespot to even receive a review copy.
This kind of thing happened with another game that was on the other end of the spectrum: Assassin’s Creed: Unity. This game was terrible and unfinished. Many reviewer’s from big companies gave this game A LOT of undeserved praise. This was going to “revolutionize” the series, and people were genuinely excited. However, when it was released to other reviewers, who were not paid to review it, it was not received well at all. The game had a massive amount of pre-orders that went mostly to waste. Totalbiscuit and the Escapist (a popular review site) both gave it very disappointed reviews.
This is one of this biggest issues with pre-orders: you don’t know what you’re buying because it isn’t finished! A demo may be fun and all, but when the whole thing comes out, the ideas seen in the demo could have been scrapped or the game is rushed and ends up incomplete. Even when people do pre-order a game, the bonus is usually something that looks cool on paper but ends up being nothing short of a money sink. Why do they keep over-charging for something that may just end up being a waste of money? Because people keep buying these things. Pre-orders are a gamble and with flashy trailers, extra stuff, and maybe a shiny metal box, they become legitimately appealing.
I will admit to pre-ordering some games myself, but quickly changing my mind because of a terrible sense of buyer’s remorse. Some of my biggest issues with pre-ordering is that half of the time you cannot return the product, especially with PC games if you purchase through Steam. Steam will most of the time not put the money back in your account, but will instead refund it to your “Steam Wallet,” which means the money will stay in the Steam market place. So what do I want you to take away from this? Please, stop pre-ordering. I understand the appeal and the cool shiny extras that come with it but I am so tired of hearing of people who essentially lost $60-$120 because of it. In fact the biggest issue I have for myself is that the game Dragon Age Inquisition gave pre-orderers a digital deluxe edition, which is still available more than six months later.
I’m telling this to you as a friend: be careful with your money and make conscious decisions when you buy anything, especially if you’re pre-ordering it.