As the release schedule begins to heat up, there is a question you may be asking yourself. Should you pre-order the game your gamer is excited about?
Pre-orders are interesting creatures. In the past, they were all about supply and demand. The only way to get a copy of a game was to physically go to the store and pick one off the shelf. If they were out, you were out of luck. Pre-ordering guaranteed you were able to play the hottest game when it was released.
However, that is not really the case any more. For one thing, publishers do a much better job of making sure there are enough copies in stores. I have not seen a major launch where you could not walk into a store like Best Buy or Wal-Mart and pick the game up on release day in a long time. Plus, with sites like Amazon and the ability to buy games digitally you do not have to worry about getting a copy of a game.
So why would anyone pre-order a game? There are a couple reasons.
- Pre-Order Bonuses – Most pre-orders come with some kind of bonus content. This can range from extra weapons and armor to early access to multiplayer content to free copies of other games. For example, Bioshock Infinite’s pre-order bonuses included in-game content and a copy of XCOM.
- Being part of the conversation- The other big benefit that may be important to your gamer is being part of the conversation about a big game when it is the hottest. The video game industry is fast paced. There are hundreds of game released every year. It can feel like you are falling behind if you are not playing the latest and greatest. You are assured you can be part of the current conversation when you pre-order.
That being said, there are a couple reasons why you want to be wary of pre-orders..
- The game could be broken – There have been several examples of this over the last year. SimCity was one of the biggest culprits. If you look at the review from Polygon, you will see they initially gave it a score of 9.5 out of 10. That is a great score! But then it had some major issues where a lot of player could not even play the game. Polygon revised the score down to 8 and the again down to 4. That is a broken game. People who were excited to play the game they pre-ordered could not. It was extremely frustrating.
- The game might not live up to the hype – Remember Me was an anticipated game last year. It had quite a bit of buzz. But then it did not live up to the hype. The PS3 version is sitting at a 72 on Metacritic right now. Not the worst but not great. It might be something your gamer will still enjoy but probably not something worth the full $60 price. Waiting allows you to get this game much cheaper.
So, should you pre-order that game your gamer wants? As a general rule, I would say no. There are exceptions but for the most part the risk is not worth the reward. Waiting a few days to read reviews and make sure the game is good is definitely worth it. If it is good, you can get it and your gamer will not have lost much time. If it is not, you will have saved yourself some money and possibly some frustration.