It is time that we come to a realisation, a fraud that we have been sold in the past five years that really needs to stop. Pre-ordering a game is rarely good for the customer, it burns when it’s on a game that fails to meet expectations and the tide needs to shift back our way.
I’ll start this off with a personal story that doesn’t affect every customer but shows the ineptitude of the companies we give our money to. I pre-ordered a copy of Fallout 4 two weeks before release from the UK retailer GAME, I had planned to do earlier than this but it was supposed to be a birthday present from my brother, as we always exchange games.
Release day came, I had even gone to store with friends who decided to buy it at midnight and I lived in the knowledge I would get it the next day. Except I didn’t. Or the next day. Or the following day after that. This also was not a copy with a Pip Boy, which had so much trouble during their release, but it got to almost a week when I decided to take my business elsewhere.
It has never come, I have had a refund and they’ve admitted it probably has been lost in the post. However, it never made it anywhere near me as it never made it to the local sorting office.
So we’ll put that as a marker for the contempt the sellers have for us. Add to that the added DLC packs or skins or exclusive content if pre-ordered to incentivise us, depriving later comers of content or even giving others a significant advantage.
Look at Star Wars: Battlefront, a game that allowed you access to the best gun in the game from the off if you bought a certain edition on pre-order. For everyone else, it’s the last gun you unlock and you get wrecked by everyone who paid for the privilege.
Then lets look at the developers, that have sold you bas, broken and even unplayable games in recent years. Assassins Creed Unity is a shining example, where it was poor on consoles and PC, with those on the latter having issues over a month down the line.
Batman: Arkham Knight on the PC was virtually unplayable, with the bat cape not working and other game-breaking issues. Things like that are simply not acceptable and when people have paid money on the table early to make sure they get their experience as soon as possible.
I think we need to have a shift in thinking. We need to cool on the hype train a little, something I myself have caught myself riding on in the past and develop more patience before laying down our money for a product.
Wait for a few non-spoiler reviews from several outlets we trust, give it a week to see if any significant issues arise and then put down our hard-earned cash. Even better, don’t give in to the ridiculous prices, that are on the consoles themselves as retailers still dictate that they can’t charge lower, and wait for sales.
Hell, wait a month. Fallout 4 is £30 on Amazon right now and that has gone down £15 in just over a month.
When the culture ends, the hope will be that retailers don’t have the power to offer extra content and that could come in the existing product for everyone. Maybe then, they may struggle to buy the copies they hope to sell, which will finally drive video games solely online for most customers at a much more competive prices.
Maybe then developers will wait a little longer before release, making sure it damn well works before shelling out their stuff because they want our money now. It might be a pipe dream, but let us save our wallets and sanity by making slightly more informed decisions.
Oh you can pre-order XCOM 2 right now? Damn, here we go again.