If you were to cast a meager pebble at the video game industry, it wouldn’t be hard to hit something that is wrong with it currently, from DLC that rips-off the player to games that are sold incomplete making it so the consumer is constantly getting the short end of the stick. Over the last few years, gaming pre-orders have become a mockery for the industry as what was once the celebration of the over-excited consumer ensuring their copy of a new game once released has now become nothing more than a commercial gain for big publishers.
In light of E3 2015 kicking off in just a few days, it seems that now is the perfect time to talk about pre-ordering opportunities, that will surely be talked about amongst the fans of the most anticipated title releases along with limited addition box sets. Pre-orders reared into the industry over a decade ago and quickly became a massive hit with gamers as their purpose was used as a means for gamers to reserve a copy of a popular game before it was released to ensure that they would receive a copy before the game sold out. This was a great fan service that was usually only implemented for big title releases of games that had a severe risk of being sold out, but over the last couple of years, publishers started to develop a way to use this service against the consumer’s wallet.
Games have progressed a lot further than a couple of years ago and they are in such a large demand that copies of games are produced and manufactured so much that there are more than enough copies to go around so that if the consumer walked into a store two days after a new Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty was released, there would still be plenty of copies of it on the stores shelves making the reason to pre-order a game irrelevant. Even with the insurance of being able to get a copy of an anticipated game release, consumers are still encouraged to pre-order games through trailers, even though there is no real reason to.
This is because there is something more sinister going on with pre-orders than gamers could have ever thought to notice. The real reason pre-ordering a game is so important to publishers is that they want the consumers to be caught on their hook of buying a game early and receiving shiny plastic objects like limited edition box sets, or an exclusive pre-order in-game-bonus such as outfits, skins, or in the case of Mad Max, an exclusive car in return even that you wouldn’t even notice was missing. This is all so the companies can get their hands on the rest of your money come launch time before any reviewer is given the opportunity to play the game and properly warn you away from a potential depraved game purchase.
Lately, there has been a lack of game demos for download on our systems as there used to be and many demos now have a set number of playthroughs before they can no longer be played. This is because of pre-orders; if the consumer has the chance to demo the game and decide it’s not what was promised or that it just doesn’t interest them, publishers lose out on the demoer’s purchase. In their place we have been given the chance to pre-order a game and receive “exclusive” coveted content in return.
There is only one thing gamers can do in retaliation and sadly that option is to completely stop pre-ordering games all together. There isn’t really a risk games of selling out at launch anymore and even if you can’t buy it on day one, its better that you wait for reviews and see if the purchase of the game is even worth your money in the first place. With all the hype of E3 it can be hard to resist the overwhelming urge to ensure a copy of a game, but to ensure your money has been invested in the right product, try to hold off the craving to pre-order no matter the shiny deal companies dangle in front of you until an official review from your respected source has been released.