The question above is one that many gamers have faced, or at least considered during their gaming life. Should you pre-order a game. There are pros and cons of both sides, and of course it comes down to your personal opinion, but hopefully reading this will give you a better understanding of both sides of the pre-order argument.
Now if you’re talking to a game developer, or game publisher, or anyone even slightly related to the production gaming, they would tell yes, yes you should. Why? Because pre-orders put money straight into the pockets of these people, without them even having finished the game yet. I know what you’re thinking. Why should they get money, when they haven’t done their job! Actually pre-ordering the game does show that you have faith in the developers to create a good game, and thus puts pressure on the developers to create something that matches your expectations. Furthermore, the developers can then put that money straight back into the game (or into downloadable content, DLC), depending on how early you have pre-ordered.
Ok, that sounds great, but there are negatives as well. If you automatically give money to the developer, there’s no guarantee it’ll change anything. It might even encourage the developer to cut content, or not try as hard, under the assumption people are already paying, so why try harder. Cut content has been a major issue in gaming lately, with entire sections of games being cut to be sold back to the consumer later in DLC form, but that’s a separate issue. Broken games have also been a problem. Remember the disaster that was the Arkham Knight PC release? If you don’t, essentially the PC version of Arkham Knight was so entirely broken, Rocksteady had to offer refunds. This isn’t necessarily down to pre orders, but at least those that didn’t preorder had the option of not buying the game later. Those that pre-paid did not.
At this point, it should be mentioned why pre-orders exist in the first place. Back, eons ago, developers could only produce a certain number of games to be put in shops. It was possible to reserve a copy, but shops would often run out, and so people would have to wait to play. Pre-orders eliminated that problem, because game producers could have a more accurate assessment of how many people want the game, and produce the disks accordingly. Furthermore, pre-ordered games could often be delivered straight to the individual, meaning people who did not have access to nearby game shops could still get their hands on a copy of the game. However, nowadays, game companies not only only create thousands of hard copies, but most games are online, ready for digital download. This means anyone with a reliable internet connection can get the game without even moving.
So pre-orders are now basically worthless. Or are they? Games will often give people ‘pre-order incentives’. These can come in the form of extra missions, equipment, early access to DLC, and so on. These incentives often aren’t as expansive as DLC packs, but are a nice bonus for any gamer. Digital pre-orders can have even more benefits, because they can allow the person to pre-download the game, so that as soon as the game is released, they can play it. Arguably this is trivial, but for some avid gamers, those few hours waiting for a download to finish are seriously frustrating.
The number of pre-orders has actually increased, by about 24%, which you might consider strange knowing that there isn’t really a need for them. However, it’s ingrained in many people’s heads that it is something they need to do, or hype for a game reaches such as level, that people can’t help themselves. Ultimately, the decision comes down to whether you feel a game is worth your money, before you’ve even properly seen it.