Is it just me or is the need to pre-order no longer there? In the past it felt like a must, mostly because I wanted the product on release day and didn’t want the risk of it selling out and having to wait for stores to restock. This isn’t really the case anymore as I’ve found that every time I’ve went looking for a particular game on its first day of release it has been easy to find. Last year I made one pre-order, Metal Gear Solid V - The Phantom Pain. This was due to the fact I thought there would be a genuine chance it could sell out quickly in stores. So while I was waiting on my pre-order to arrive on the day of release every store nearby had plenty of copies.
The reward for pre-ordering is slim. Mostly a few digital items or upgrades. I would be more inclined to pre-order if they offered a shiny special edition case or steelbook but this is a very rare occurrence. The price also is more often than not the same price on release day.
The pre-order in this era is mostly beneficial to the publisher. They can see from pre-order sales how well they think a game will do. This can partly be to blame for the growing trend of games being released without making sure everything works smoothly, instead having to offer updates to fix various bugs/issues that inevitably pop up.
Pre-ordering has even less value when you turn to the digital market. There has been a huge push to get consumers purchasing gaming digitally with so much being made of Playstation Network and the Xbox Game Store. Buying a game this way eliminates my primary reason for a pre-order, the worry that a game will sell out before I get a copy and to be honest that is rarely gonna happen nowadays. If purchasing digitally is what companies would prefer there will be a need for a rethink of how they plan to sell this to the customer. Getting to download a game the day before release has happened for a few games and I’m all for that but maybe make it a few days before instead of 24 hours? This would sway me more as it would need something dramatic to move myself away from wanting to buy the physical copy.
I think a shift is needed in how we and gaming publishers think. To start with, not offering people extra upgrades or maps for a pre-order when really this should always be in the finished product. Not rushing out a game just because you know your pre-order sales are high. With a bit of patience and not just constantly looking at profits get the game working, sort out any bugs and make sure your online servers can cope with the influx of gamers. This would take away a lot of the frustrations customers have. This all might be wishful thinking but unless there is a proper incentive (like Amazon’s 20% off a pre-order and new releases if your a Prime member) I can’t see myself rushing to click that pre-order button.
Though I keep looking at Uncharted 4 which is available for pre-order and this is on my wish list....nope...I’ll wait.