Now that the E3 month is over and the hype and excitement has subsided, let’s talk about gaming preorders. This year’s conferences has seen only a few call to action when it came to preordering games. The ones that came to mind are South Park: the Fractured but Whole and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. And even then, it wasn’t really thrown in your face, but rather more of a “hey, you could get a previous game for free if you preordered”.
But although the call to action wasn’t there, preorder bonuses and collector’s editions are still available for many of the games that were shown at E3. Persona 5 has the Take Your Heart edition which includes a Morgana plushie, a school bag and some other stuff. Final Fantasy XV’s collector’s edition has Kingsglaive, some DLC, an action figure and artbook among other things. Gears of War 4 also has one with a JD Fenix figure. Point is preordering is still a thing, and so are collector’s editions. Though thankfully preorder exclusive content seems to have been toned down. (Except, you know, that ENTIRE game that’s exclusive to Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare preorders)
So the question still stands. Should you preorder games?
Wisdom would probably tell you that you shouldn’t do it. All the trailers and marketing hype could be misleading. The final product could be a flaming pile of poo and all they’ll be showing you are the cool flames and you won’t know it. Or the product could be just a buggy mess which can’t even be fixed due to some huge errors in the framework that it was built upon. Even supposedly well reputed studios have been known to release faulty games like Rocksteady with Arkham Knight on PC. Admittedly the fault could be blamed on the publisher and the porting studio, but still, you won’t have known that beforehand.
By waiting for reviews, you’ll be able to save yourself some heartache. Preorder used to be a thing because people worried about not getting a copy of the game. Now that there’s high speed Internet and day one digitals, there’s no need to worry about missing out on games due to stock limitations.
Oh and season passes? That’s like giving some people money for an IOU note that doesn’t state how much they owe you. Unless a publisher has divulged the full details of what the season pass contents (which in many case, they don’t), season passes aren’t really worth the risk, unless you know you’ll be to buying those content regardless of their quality. Probably one of the best use of season passes are in episodic games like Telltale’s the Walking Dead and Dontnod’s Life is Strange.
So why do people still preorder games?
They just can’t wait. They want to play the game as soon as possible. And if they have shitty Internet, like me, games are going to take an eternity to download. So the fastest way is to preorder the game. And believe it or not, there are still people who want a hardcopy of their game. Either as a collection or so they can sell it later to gain back some money.
Or they could be huge fans of the game and want to throw money at the developers for some sweet memorabilia. Whether it be a statue or an art book, the soundtrack or in game content, there are just some things that they can’t say no to. The pip boy from the Fallout 4 Collector’s Edition was one of these. Sure the quality of most of these collectible items aren’t always great, but they’re limited, which is their entire appeal. I wonder if the collector’s editions of sequels in a popular franchise has much better sales. Would love to see some data on that.
Ultimately, preordering is your decision. While conventional wisdom would dictate that you don’t to avoid wasting your money on some bad games, but there are just times when it’s too irresistible to refuse. And when that happens, go for it. (Be smart about it though. Track records is a good way to go. Knowing when review embargoes lift is also good.) Personally, I’ve preordered the Take Your Heart edition of Persona 5 and I’m looking forward to it come Feb 14th next year.