The pattern is apparent now. A game is announced, a good looking trailer is shown, and we get told what we get for pre-ordering it. But pre-orders actually have huge influence and has altered the course of the gaming industry and marketing.
And we need to calm it down.
The first 2 weeks of any media release is the most important. Your pre-order is a factor of that. You help games look impressive to investors. Game companies know this and bank on it. When you make a pre-order it is a mental contract. You will likely get the game, provided you have no monetary issues. It’s why some people will still fight that a terrible game is some how good, they have mentally decided it was beforehand.
As the consumer they can’t be wrong, because they are never wrong.
The pre-order push comes from the before mentioned media release window, a way to grab few extra bucks with collectors editions, and to combat used game sales. It is because of that need to fight and earn, that games get rushed out and are garbled messes or just pure dlc machines.
Leave out a pivotal feature like story mode or an actual finished plot and it can just be DLC later. Offer entire catalogs of DLC before a game is launched and you can just drop it in later.
Convince people that pre ordering is needed so that you can get the artic lost jungle camp gun bipod because it’s allure will draw some consumers in.
And due to the consumers poor response we get goofs like the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided which more or less attempted to crowd source preorders. It offered better rewards for preorders based on how many people preordered. A game being by Square Enix, a large scale studio had the gall to say they needed more of their consumers help to add more content for preorders…
The Batman Arkham series while to me a enjoyable series more or less, all released as messes across platforms. Most of the games unplayable on the PC, with the developer just quitting given support to the platform. But all the games made sure to inform you how they were hard at work on preorder bonuses during the development process. The last game to come out; Arkham Knight, offered the ability to buy the $40 season pass before the game even came out because you needed it.
Red Dead Redemption got some hate for splitting up its MANY preorder bonuses across the many retailers that sold the game at launch. All bonuses available later as DLC purchases.
Like most preorder bonuses.
So should you stop pre-ordering? If you have faith in a project no. There are some games that look great and I think if you give to a crowd funding project for indie games and you are promised a copy of what it is you help produce, more power to you!
But just because you see something with an amazing trailer, don’t preorder it just yet. You can still get the game, get any game you want! But remember that 2 week media release period. You don’t need the slightly red and green car to make the game fun. The game should be fun on its own merit. Not cause you dropped money on it early.