Activision Boss Claims Game Pre Orders Are On The Decline

Written by Neil Soutter on Thu, Aug 7, 2014 2:30 PM
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Pre ordering games is on the decline according to Activision head honcho Eric Hirschberg, and even Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare isn't immune from the drop in demand. Less people than ever before are pre-ordering games, as the advent of digital downloads and growing consumer awareness has stifled demand for upfront purchases.

While exact figures haven’t been released by Activision, Hirshberg has warned investors to expect lower pre-order numbers than usual for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Destiny this year, as gamers wait it out for reviews or pick up a cheap copy later down the line.

We think that’s happening due to a number of factors, things like increased digital consumption, particularly on the next gen consoles, titles being widely available on day one and the decline overall for demand on previous gen consoles.’

It’s with a delicious sense of irony that I bring you this news, as publishers’ years-long war with gamers over pre-order bonuses and exclusive items has finally come back and bit them. Publisher’s bizarre baiting tactics have even managed to spawn an entire sub-industry, with gamers hawking their retailer-exclusive pre-order wares via eBay as hardened fans try to get the complete product.

In truth many gamers are probably still feeling sore from their Aliens: Colonial Marines purchase last year, with SEGA choosing to embargo reviews until the day of release. Pre-order campaigns have been getting ever-more ridiculous over the years, with Alien Isolation’s pre-order exclusive missions just the tip of the iceberg. Watch Dogs had 9 different versions at retail, all featuring different pre-order bonuses, while the Batman Arkham series has long offered unique costumes for pre-ordering from specific retailers.

Activision will be publishing Bungie’s Destiny on September 9th for PS4, PS3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360, while Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will be arriving on November 4th for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360. Have you found yourself pre-ordering games less? Do you bother to pre-order digitally? Any what do you think of all the exclusive bonuses? Let us know!

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14:29 Aug-08-2014

I was close very close to pre-order TitanFall after playing the Beta, but the FPS lock "cured" me. I'm glad I didn't fall in the trap even today. After 5 updates, the game is still not fixed.

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07:50 Aug-08-2014

I just don't understand the point to pre-order a game thats half finish.. Its 90% of the time full of bugs then you need to download a few gig of updates. whats point? Just get it digitally from the start..!?!

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02:59 Aug-08-2014

I only pre-order Metal Gear games, hasn't failed me yet.

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01:03 Aug-08-2014

Because after crappy releases of big games people are fed up. Sounds perfectly logica. The only game I will preorder is witcher 3.

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22:22 Aug-07-2014

Oh no! Who in the world would have guessed?

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21:05 Aug-07-2014

Pre-ordering was only, ever, necessary when you thought the game would be sold out everywhere on day one. Now, with digital distribution, what's the point? If anyone's says they pre-order because of exclusive content, well that's because the devs ripped the content out of the game and made it pre-order exclusive to get you to buy it. Pre-ordering games just perpetuates that behaviour.

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00:39 Aug-08-2014

From the looks of it, devs may be forced to put content back in games. I'm hoping the pre-order culture completely dies out.
I miss buying games that had everything already in them.

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10:53 Aug-08-2014

And had more than 5 hours of gameplay plus a challenging dif.

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20:35 Aug-07-2014

Pre-Order sounds like buying a fish in the sea!!

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18:31 Aug-07-2014

I love the idea of preorders and their exclusive add ons. However, people have been burned by doing so lately by preording over-hyped games that just turned out terrible. Preordering can remain viable through the use of open betas or demos.

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16:58 Aug-07-2014

Pre-order digital games ? Never seen the point.
Physical copies of Collector Editions that are limited in stock on the other hand :)

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20:45 Aug-07-2014

The point is to make more money.

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21:31 Aug-07-2014

The point from MY perspective haha

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02:34 Aug-08-2014

Yes I agree. I think the only other I WILL ever pre-order after watch dogs is Star Wars Battlefront. Also I only really pre-ordered watch_dogs for the dedsec :3

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16:55 Aug-07-2014

I gave up on pre-ordering a while back. Too many games bought that were just mediocre or just plain sucked. Even games I thought I was 100% sure were gonna be amazing still got me in the end (Watchdogs).

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16:51 Aug-07-2014

Last game i preordered is watch dogs and i kinda regret it, the game isnt so awesome.


The only game that i regret not preordering is wolfenstein the new order, because the game is rly awesome and i coudve played the beta of doom!

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16:29 Aug-07-2014

No more preorders for me after ive learned my lesson with SWTOR, Alien: Colonial Marines and Dead Island.

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16:19 Aug-07-2014

I pre-ordered no games this year and feel so much better. Then again, any game I ever did pre-order, turned out to be a really great game. I know I'm getting WWE 2K15 so that's the only exception to my pre-order.

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16:17 Aug-07-2014

Reason for bad pre-orders of CoD AW is Infinity Ward and their CoD Ghosts... Ghosts had and still has stupid SP story, MP and terrible optimisation. CoD AW will have amazing graphics and hopefully good SP too.

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16:42 Aug-07-2014

COD AW is developed by Sledgehammer not IW.

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17:43 Aug-07-2014

Yes, I know that. :) But Infinity Ward's fail is something that's keeping players from pre-ordering CoD AW. :)

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17:45 Aug-07-2014

Well, some people are too dumb to realise that IW has nothing to do with AW.

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07:52 Aug-08-2014

IW were only responsible for MW1 and MW2, which I thought were good games. Sledgehammer Games were mainly in charge of MW3 and Ghosts. Some original IW devs made them as well but the main/best ones had left to become the devs for Titanfall.

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16:17 Aug-07-2014

yup! thanks to Watch Dogs, we all saw this coming. and in other news - Ryse Son of Rome is coming to pc (:

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15:42 Aug-07-2014

Call of duty needs to die out... It got bad after modernwarfare 2...

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15:44 Aug-07-2014

What about healing the patient instead of letting him die?

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07:59 Aug-08-2014

I still LOVE MW3, IMO it's better in almost every way compared to MW2. But MW1 is still the best in my opinion :)

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15:40 Aug-07-2014

I have the Witcher 3 pre-ordered because I know they won't let me down. Not for all the tea in China would I pre-order a COD game, I'd rather spend a month in a room listening to Justin Bieber's music

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15:58 Aug-07-2014

Sure..................

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23:44 Aug-07-2014

As soon as GameStop opened orders for The Witcher 3 I put in my order for the collector's edition. CDPR is one of the few devs that I trust enough to pre-order from.

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15:40 Aug-07-2014

The idea of preordering games is as ridiculous as preordering tickets for movies that have not even released yet and or preordering a new model of car to be released before checking out reviews...

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15:31 Aug-07-2014

Yes, screw the pre-order culture! It's terrible. It doesn't make any sense to buy a game based just on the prestige of the title or whatever the reason people do it. Plus with the CGI trailers and the shameless devs nowdays they might as well release AC Unity with all it's prestigious cover and the actual gameplay being unoptimized Tetris. That [probably] won't happen but you get the idea. I always read the reviews of people who actually payed for the game (aka non Gamespot/PC gamer/IGN) before buying since those reviews tend to be more objective...

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15:23 Aug-07-2014

I have never made a pre-order, probably I would make a pre-order for GTA V for PC on STEAM i'm tired of Call Of Duty a game launched every year doesn't deserve my attention anymore.

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