Open For Debate: Pre-Orders

Hey it’s me again, captain of the Chrono High debate team bringing you another dead horse to argue over. So as the title states i’m here to debate pre-ordering games. With the E3 hype train going full speed down the tracks and off a cliff, companies are inevitably do all they can to butter us into pre-ordering their unfinished games.

So here’s my argument: pre-orders are a bad thing

Now some people i know would ask me: “How can pre-orders be a bad thing when you can get cool pre-order bonuses?” And to them i say “Deus Ex Augment our pre-order sales” Now for those of you who don’t know, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided had a pre-order campaign in which the pre-order bonus you would receive was based on a tiered system, the more pre-orders the game got the higher tier your pre-order bonus was.This was a shit marketing tactic to boost pre-order sales that blew up in Square Enix’s face. Or i could go on about developers holding entire characters and factions hostage behind pre-orders unless you want to shill some extra cash later (I’m looking at you Borderlands 2) or pre-order weapons like the battlefront blaster being better than just about every weapon in the game! But that’s not my only gripe against pre-orders. You are literally buying a game before it has a chance to be properly reviewed or updated. May i refer people to the first Watchdogs? You know the one that had a graphical downgrade without telling anyone before release? Or how about Batman: Arkham Knight? The game that was bugged and unplayable upon release? Or my personal favorite No Mans Sky? The game that literally lied to everyone about what it was even after release! So what I’m trying to say is pre-orders are a shit trick to get your money before you even know if the game is broken or not. If anyone disagrees feel free to give your opinion on the matter i look forward to seeing what you have to say.


Guess i’ll finally chip in Mr. Revengeance character.

I think it’s fair to say that people who pre-order like crazy have more money than brains and so don’t realize how bad what they are doing is for everybody in various ways. For example, as you said, not only is the game not out and we most likely have very limited information both on content and quality but companies like Square Enix will get cocky and do more and more because they see people as willing to lap it up. Now we have games with content cut out for before as well as after and game publishers who will rush out a game even if it’s a broken mess.

Also, i doubt anyone will disagree on this thing here considering this is a community site for deals on indie games but we’ll see.

And i don’t really mind pre-ordering just as i don’t mind backing projects on crowdfunding sites as long as you’re aware of the risks and aren’t gonna act surprised if you don’t get everything you hoped for but a lot of people pay first and ask questions later so that’s why we are where we are.

1 Like

Well it was either this or debating E3, I thought this might at least have a few more differing opinions. Most pre-orders are done by CoD dude-bros and console fans that don’t see much of the indie scene. For example Halo 2 got platinum status before it was even released, fortunately it turned out to be a good game but i can only imagine the uproar if it wasn’t.


You move one meter on the internet and you’ll find out about PCMR’s opinion on Pre-ordering.

Not that it’s a bad thing, I think it’s a great idea on informing consumers why they’re doing something bad, but what I don’t like is when people try to hassle you even after you’ve said " I know it’s bad, but I’m going to do it anyways ". almost every single game I buy is after it receives its second price drop, I mean I’m more then happy to play games way after other people considering the only thing I have to avoid is spoilers.

But the thing is everything is circumstantial, on one hand yes I’m buying games 3 months after everyone else with the benefit of reviews and information that no one had at the time, but I also pre-order games from time to time, reasons: Pre-orders here cost 10$ less then on release, this means it’s being applied to sequels i’m extremely hyped and eager for and would be buying week 1 anyway, if saving 10$ ends up landing me in the fire then so be it, but it’s never happened before. There’s also the fact that some games DO run out locally here and that means if my friends I are buying a game solely for the co-op/multiplayer we’re going to pre-order so we don’t have to worry about our group missing out because someone couldn’t find any stock, I can also list some pretty obvious ones that others use and don’t need explaining like exclusive figures for people who love the franchise, books/comics for lovers of the lore (that would normally run then like 50$) and… well… you get the point. Exclusive items for lovers of the game.

But my biggest reason for me to maybe get people to change their adverse state on pre-ordering is:

I don’t want to change peoples opinion and I really don’t care how people think about others spending their money.


Preordering is an understandable system, a bit of developer peace of mind for minor benefits to the customer… at least, that’s what digital distribution has made it become. By encouraging preorders, you reduce the chance of customers waiting for launch day just to go “hey, that other game looks cool… hm, maybe I’ll wait on UltraHype ZombieShooter Theft Auto 5 Remastered until it drops in price.” (true story) Can you imagine downloading 50GB of crap on a 1MB/s connection, on launch day? That’s why Preloading is an awesome feature, and consoles will even let you play a small sample of the game after it downloads maybe 40% in core files.

That said, like any practice, it can be easily abused. People don’t talk much about the Bioshock Infinite preorder, where depending on how many people bought in, the tiers of rewards would become greater, eventually giving all preorder-ers a free copy of XCOM Enemy Unknown along with the X-COM anthology and Bioshock 1 (if I remember correctly). I actually told my friend to buy Bioshock Infinite instead of XCOM just because of this deal, as he was already planning to buy the latter. I liked the core concept of that Augment-your-Preorder campaign, but with all the exclusivity nonsense, it was a complete disaster (not nearly as bad as what they did at launch, though).

In the end, you’re taking the risk for a publisher’s peace of mind, and if you’re feeling safe about a purchase, there’s nothing wrong with that. For every No Man’s Sky, Arkham Knight, or Mortal Kombat X, there’s ten more Vanquish HD’s, Overwatches, and [insert successful game here]s.

As for me, I’d never preorder a CoD game as the PC ports are generally trash, but I’m going for Payday 3/RAID/Psychonauts 2 the moment they appear on Steam. There’s nothing that could POSSIBLY talk me out of any of those, or really anything Starbreeze is releasing next year. There are tons of other games that I have no issues preordering, maybe even preordering twice, simply because I know they’ll be good.

1 Like

Yes, well said. I wasn’t really thinking about physical editions and it doesn’t matter if it’s physical or digital a nice discount will help either way the game turns out, plus i assume you’re getting console physicals and you can trade those in or resell them, right? One of rare things consoles have over PC these days.
I like your points and i know ‘em just wasn’t thinking about them when responding and like i said previously nothing wrong with it just don’t react negatively (not talkin’ bout you but in general :stuck_out_tongue: ) when the thing you paid for in advance isn’t working for one reason or another cuz it was rushed out the door to meet a deadline.

@CptMold Was the Bioshock Infinite thing a steam pre-order completion bar cuz i think i remember something like that hazily and idk if it was like that for consoles in a way. If it is what i think it is it wasn’t unique in that, at least Defiance did it too before launch.
Pre-order all you like mate good for you but you do NOT know it will be good, never trust so completely…hope for the best prepare for the worst sorta thing and you’re golden in my opinion. :slight_smile:

1 Like

You weren’t thinking about physical copies, I wasn’t thinking about digital. huh.

Yeah honestly I wouldn’t be able to vouch for digital unless you’re getting everything you would for a physical equivalent, except for, ya know’ the physical part of it.

Yup, I miss that preorder bar… and trust me, I know to be careful. I also preordered Fallout New Vegas and Necropolis, a rather unfortunate learning lesson in how your favorite developers can be let down thanks to publisher nonsense (and inexperience in some cases).

That said, with Amazon giving 20% off for PHYSICAL preorders and the patches-later mentality at least guaranteeing a playable game later (except for Necropolis…) from most AAA developers, the risk has decreased quite a bit from the days of old. I mean, even Steam refunds are an option, assuming you don’t make an Amazon physical purchase like I do. I have no regrets for my boxed copy of The Division and Overwatch whatsoever.

Bought only like 3 pre-orders in my life:
Killer is Dead
South Park: The Stick of Truth and
Dead Rising 3

Killer is Dead is a mediocre port from japanese devs porting to the PC for the first time so i was just kinda glad it’s not completely broken. :grin:
Some people had save wipes with South Park on launch if i’m not mistaken, luckily i wasn’t one of them so i only really got burned on Dead Rising 3 as i bought it before the specs were even released and as we later saw it was unoptimised. But hey, between it being discounted as a daily deal or whatnot during a steam sale and me buying it through a brazilian i paid like 20 euros for it.

On the kickstarter side of thing i backed:
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night cuz i got swept up in the hype, i doubt it will be anywhere near a Mighty No.9 disaster but we’ll see if it’s the Magnum Opus of the man behind the most beloved Castlevanias
Dies Irae (kickstarter) (steam page) because of how people who read/play visual novels gush over it as it’s this incredibly well written work that isn’t about the end so much as the journey and the characters along the way. This is a translated line from the VN by a guy who ended up on the official translation team later
“Dear ladies and gentlemen, if you would be so kind as to behold my finest opera, now in the making. Its script is the height of cliche, I am forced to admit, and yet… its actors are of the finest fold; beyond exquisite. As such, I do believe it will be a dance for the ages.” Before adding “And that couldn’t be truer in the case of Dies, a story that doesn’t necessarily build upon its crazy, unpredictable twists, but rather creates a fascinating universe and populates it with well-developed, iconic characters you simply cannot take your eyes off of — the stage is set, the players play their parts, and the reader is spellbound.” So how can i not look forward to reading it? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

So we’ll see how i’ll like them. What did you regret about New Vegas and are there any other things you got burned on? How about you, @th4tNewfie and @SSepiroth …anything you guys regret pre-ordering/backing?


Preordering is just stupid. No one has ever played the game but you’re going to shill out $60.

there is no debate, pre ordering is never a good idea unless your going to play the game even if its a steaming pile of manure


The only time I preorder is for a game that I know I am going to purchase no matter what, that I know I wont believe negative reviews until I see it with my own eyes. I got burned by EA on SimCity, which was the last game I will ever preorder from them. Bethesda’s games suck until modders have had a few months to fix them, so I would never waste my time preordering their stuff. Ubisoft is Ubisoft. The only potential future games I could see myself preordering would be the collector’s edition of Starcraft 3, Warcraft 4, or Diablo 4. I also have reasonable faith that Blizzard will deliver a solid experience, so I don’t feel like preordering is as big a risk as it is with EA, Activision, or Ubisoft.


Yep, yep, yep. It all comes down to who you’re willing to trust but you can still get burned and you should keep that in mind. And sure it’s not really a good idea but hey, people can spend their money however they want.

1 Like

H-h-how can you regret pre-ordering F:NV? That game is like the second coming of christ for me, honestly i’d really like to know what made you regret that haha.

1 Like

I was fortunate enough to avoid getting burned on pre-orders, the only thing i ever pre-ordered was Halo 4 back when i was in high school, fortunately it was a decent game. I did feel a little burned when i backed Elite Dangerous though, i backed it early and played a bit of the early version. It just couldn’t hook me in it’s incomplete state and now it’s just kinda prevented me from returning to the current version.

1 Like

Pre-orders are an archaic thing of the past. I pretty much stopped pre-ordering games when I noticed the pre-order “exclusives” always show up as DLC and in a GOTY edition. They’re never exclusive.

I did pre-order Rising Storm 2, but that’s a bit different. I’m a Tripwire fanboy, and played it during the beta waves.

1 Like

Well the point is in your second paragraph. :wink:

Again, pre-ordering is mostly a bad idea, but you’re gonna be fanboying about some games, maybe get to play them before they’re released and see that you like what is there and so you’ll get it for immediate or early access (playing before it officially launches). Most people prolly aren’t pre-ordering for a couple of skins or a mission they’ll be able to get in another way.

I would’ve probably pre-ordered Titanfall 2 because it seemed kick-ass and a great improvement over the first one if i had a better computer. Sucks that it struggles with a player base, at least on PC.

1 Like

I think that pre-ordering per se is not inherently bad, I remember that before Steam and digital distribution in general became a thing, pre-ordering was already common practice: one would simply go to the store and ask them to reserve a physical copy for you, probably paying a part of the full price in advance as a reservation cost.
Even then, no review was out, no one had played the game so quality was not assured, and for both consoles and PC patching post release was almost non existent (man I feel old :stuck_out_tongue: ). The thing is, the information and the money you paid for your preorder remained in the store, devs and publishers had a rough idea sure, but were not directly informed of your preorder.

In my opinion the problem with pre-ordering now is that the publisher and developers are informed, they know exactly how many people pre-ordered, and have already cashed in. This leads to trailers that do not represent the final quality of the product, either in terms of graphics and/or gameplay to pump hype that directly translates in easy money even before people can warn others that the quality is not as advertised.

Eventually you reach a “good enough” phase where the game is not complete, but thanks to pre-orders devs and publishers already made some (or all) of their cost back, so why would they push back release date for an unfinished product? something is not yet completely done? that will become DLC. Something else kinda works but there are still some bugs? no problem they will fix it on a later patch (maybe, kinda), as they already have the money in their pocket.

All this long winded post was to summarize one concept, while pre-ordering does provide some benefits (both in the digital and in the physical world) we as consumers may have to change our habits just as the delivery method of games has drastically changed, as I feel the only thing that can ensure a quality product is the promise of money.

Of course this is just my opinion, I could very easily be completely wrong :smiley:

1 Like

Coming in late to add the perspective of someone who organizes a lot of real-life events: knowing how many people want your product in advance is an absolute blessing. It allows you to plan ahead and have a clear picture of what you are dealing with. I’m sure for game developers it’s the same.

1 Like

Well, it’s an Obsidian game, so take a wild guess? :wink:

Let’s just say my brother and I know the intro sequence by heart. Still by far the best Fallout game to date, but that’s AFTER the patches rolled in to make it playable.