As any gamer would know, pre-ordering a video game is a guaranteed way to make sure that you get it. This is also a good method to make sure that you get it slightly earlier than most other people would. Pre-ordering in recent times though has problems that many see as an issue. Let’s go over some of the benefits and flaws of preordering video games.
THE START OF PRE-ORDERING
To understand the current state of video games preordering, we need to understand how it started. Before video games, people would pre-order movies, books, magazines, or even appliances. However, it was called “holding an item” or “mail in items.” In the mailbox, people would get certain magazines for certain products. Such as, Toys R Us would give out books of toys before Christmas. You would see what was coming up, and parents could send money in the mail to guarantee the purchase. Video games were soon included in these magazines, like Toys R Us, and you could do the same with them.
As time passed, people began to use the universal term pre-ordering for holding items. In the early 2000s games were mainly sold on shelves. This was a problem for some stores or companies. The reason being it was hard to forecast sales before and after the game came out. GameStop and Amazon helped forecasts who would buy games. Video game companies began to see the money in pre-ordering. So they started to add pre-order bonuses to pull in sales for their games. There are a variety of things you can get from a pre-order bonus or incentive. Pre-ordering a game also made it more expensive, with an up charge of up to $10. The reason for the additional cost is because game companies wanted to give an incentive to the store to push their title. The extra money you paid for the game would go straight to the retailer, which is the incentive.
Pre-ordering has become a common sight in ads and in stores. It’s obvious that game companies push pre-orders so much in ads is to make sure people buy their game. But now there can be different types of pre-ordering because a game can have different pre-order bonuses. We will go over this in more detail later, but it can be a problem for casual customers. Pre-ordering can be complex and companies target hardcore gamers for most pre-ordering. Even though you can do research on your own, it feels like you should not have to just for buying one game.
WHAT CAN BE IN A PRE-ORDER
There is a list of things that you can get from pre-ordering a game. Some are good and some are bad, however, this can depend on what the customer wants. One thing you could get in a pre-order bonus is extra digital skins for characters or items. This is one of the less intrusive pre-order bonuses since it just changes the look of something. The one thing you can’t do with a digital skin is receive an advantage from it. Companies could give out skins and then you can only get it from the pre-order. In fact, a more insidious company could say you only get the skins in the pre-order. Then release it later in the games life-span to make more money. A recent example would be Borderlands 3 with a lot of skin bonuses when it was pre-ordered. Skins on items in-game can show off how much you love the game. This means more if the game is multiplayer, where many will see your pre-ordered gear.
Another pre-order bonus is giving the buyer other physical items along with the game. These actual items could be anything, but one thing is constant it has something to do with the game. An example is a shooter game. It could have a bullet USB device or a gun keychain. Companies also can make choices for pre-order bonuses. This includes the choices for how much money you want to spend on extra items. Spending more money means you gain additional items. This can be confusing for buyers because some companies have so many supplementary pre-order bonuses. Of course, this is a case for every pre-order bonus these days. One game with a physical pre-order bonus was Sekiro Shadows Die Twice. It came with an art book, coins found in the game, a statue of Sekiro, and other things. Having something physical can give a gamer a sense of pride. Whenever they want, they can pick it up and look at it. Companies know this and can use that to make sure you pre-order the game. Still, just like with digital skins it will not give you an edge in the game. It’s just a cool thing to have in your home.
One kind of pre-order bonuses that some companies use is giving customers digital items. The digital goods can be for single or multiplayer games. This is in the form of different skins for in-game items or characters. In fact, you can get brand-new in-game things that others may not even get. Companies do want more pre-orders, and having the option to have extra in-game items is a popular one. This could be seen as only for true fans but some see it as predatory. When companies push pre-orders just for digital items only it does make gamers concerned. Some could see extra goods as Pay To Win. Since those extra digital items could be items that could give you an early edge in Multiplayer, which is Pay To Win. When it comes to physical items, it has value outside the game but that extra digital item does not. Still, it depends on the game or company and how long the gamer will use that game. An example of digital items given to players is Destiny. They would give digital items to players if they pre-ordered a DLC pack like the Forsaken King.
IT’S UP TO YOU
When it comes down to pre-ordering it really is up to the individual buyer. I don’t think it’s up to others to tell you what you should buy or don’t buy. The situation is sad that customers will buy anything no matter what it is. To pre-order without doing due research and will just believe what companies tell them to buy. Gamers today have all the info, videos, and reviews to see if a game is worth buying, before or after it comes out. All of us need to make sure we are getting a good product, which is the game. The extra items or content from pre-ordering is just that… extra. There will be customers that will always pre-order. There are those that will never pre-order also, however, I think most fall in the middle.