Up For Debate - Pre-Orders And Exclusive Content

Written by Sam Welch on Sun, Dec 28, 2014 12:00 PM
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It's not exactly a new thing but 2014 has become a year synonymous for pre-order and exclusive content. The amount given away with specific versions of games from specific stores wasn't just bordering on ridiculous, it had erupted into a bizarre state of affairs, culminating in such insanity as Watch Dogs' 9 different versions.

Obviously developers want to entice as many gamers as possible to put money down on a game before it comes out, and pre-order bonuses only sweeten the deal for those who want the games they’re excited for as soon as possible anyway. It still comes down to paying full price for something before you know what it is, though. Not only can the games themselves disappoint, but the ‘bonuses’ have been known to stretch the definition. Is extra in-game content better, or physical merchandise? How annoying is it when that one bonus you really want is only available on a different platform?

Many pre-order bonuses eventually end up becoming available for anybody who owns the game, but not all. Also, many games eventually re-release as a ‘complete edition’ which offers all content so far produced for a lower price - the downside of course is you have to wait a few more months on top of the months or years you've waited since the game was announced. On the other hand, some bonuses really take the Mickey. What is the appeal of gold skins for players and/or weapons? Is it really worth the extra money just so that other players online know which version of the game you bought? And what was the use of that Day One achievement on the Xbox One? Let alone the very fetching dismembered chest you could snatch up alongside Dead Island: Riptide.

Saints Row IV took it upon itself to take ridiculous pre-order bonuses down a peg with the Super Dangerous Wad Wad Edition which famously cost $1 million and included suitably elaborate bonuses, but the package was estimated to be worth about $400,000 less than the asking price, which is a heck of a profit margin. No wonder it went unsold.

Pre-orders can add a lot to the experience of games we love, but they can also rinse us of our hard earned cash for underwhelming tat and games with no guarantee of quality. Should games arrive in just one format and have to be good to make their money rather than hoodwinking impatient people into splashing out on gimmicks? Or are pre-orders just a great way to make sure you can play that game you want as soon as possible and pick up a few choice special extras while you're at it?

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17:35 Dec-29-2014

For a long time, I didn't mind pre-order exclusives, especially if I knew I was going to get that game, anyway. However...I've learned my lesson since Assassin's Creed Unity. Never again, at least, never again with Ubisoft, not for a long while. I'm still interested in the AC series, but when the next one comes out, I'm going to wait a good long while before I even buy it, just to see if it suffers from the same problems.

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17:38 Dec-29-2014

I've got a feel that Ubisoft will have (hopefully) learned something from all this, too, about how ridiculous it makes them look to have that amount of DLC but to also have a game that releases in a somewhat unfinished state. And the whole 'online-only' chests is another gripe people have with that game. Anyways, sorry if I harped on ACU for too long. Having said all that, I'm definitely pre-ordering The Witcher 3. CDPR just seems to have the exact opposite mindset from Ubi.

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16:02 Dec-29-2014

I don't have a problem with pre-order. I have a problem with giving loads of "launch DLC" to those who do pre-order. Its essentially saying "You bought our game, however there's some stuff that you have to pay more money to gain access too"

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12:28 Dec-31-2014

That would only be applicable if you pay for collectors editions. Where I am, if you pre-order the standard game, it usually comes with a little something to say thanks. Though rarely is it anything worthwhile.

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03:02 Dec-29-2014

Well I don't mind them, but I problem I have is when the company's sell it for DLC later on instead of it being exclusive content. Like with watch hogs.

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18:50 Dec-28-2014

Pre-rder now to get a FREE HAT!

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14:57 Dec-28-2014

Any South Park fan will know that Cartman summed it up pretty well...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJpwUTMwiVY
I've been burned before (watchdogs), been satisfied (Wolfenstein: TNO) and I'm not doing it again with devs that I no longer trust (EA, Ubisoft and a few other franchise milkers and known money grabbers).

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13:32 Dec-28-2014

With so many games being hyped as hell, half the budget going to the marketing team and the end product being disappointing and full of bugs with day one patches all over the place, pre-orders are just ridiculous, exclusive content or not.

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13:09 Dec-28-2014

I will only preoder if the bonuses are like the soundtrack, map of the game, or maybe a book/guide and a figurine. That's a preoder worth doing.

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13:09 Dec-28-2014

I like this idea 'Up for debate' but I think you should probably also add option for us to pick what we prefer between the two things. For example , I think we could choose which one you prefer and then update the blog or something with the results of what Community prefers. It still is nice the way it is , just a tip!

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13:03 Dec-28-2014

Pre-order sucks! It totally ruined the way we "feel" the games.

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12:41 Dec-28-2014

I will never pre-order a game because its optimization is unknown before its release date ,you do not get it at a discounted price and system requirements are generally released 1 month before game's release date.

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12:30 Dec-28-2014

I HATE exclusive pre-order content, it's like saying "yeah, the game may suck, but still we'll rip you off and take advantage of your love of the series".


I understand pre-ordering dlc, but exclusive pre-orders? NO! It's destroying franchises and damaging the gaming industry. 2014 was a bad year, hope 2015 is better.

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18:33 Dec-28-2014

Exactly, unless you want an "incomplete" game you have to preorder, no place for responsible purchases only brainless consumerism.


I'm already boycoting preorder exclusives.

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19:16 Dec-28-2014

that has only happened to big games. thank god for indie games cause the crappy incomplete big release brought light to amazing underestimated indie games

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12:30 Dec-28-2014

Okay, so this is where it gets stupid, and I hate this kind of things, Instead of focusing on releasing a bug free game, they instead focus on marketing, by forcing the consumers to buy the game early in exchange for exclusive content, which they could have given to everyone for free, I mean there's nothing wrong if you will give exclusive content to a game your developing as long as your giving

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12:34 Dec-28-2014

the content you promised to your consumers, but yet Ubisoft decided "hey lets downgrade the graphics on PC so that we could make more money on both platforms", I mean seriously, how did they even come up with that? did they really think they would get more money from that? NO! because once people actually see the games graphics on YouTube or what ever, they will no longer buy the game, its stupid.

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12:41 Dec-28-2014

If you actually gave us the content you promised, then there will be no problems, your happy were happy, its an equivalent exchange, were equal, This is to EA, Ubisoft, and other gaming companies out there, Your nothing without your consumers, you will loose all your money without us, you will be bunkrupt without us, you will not be rich without us, all we ask from you is equality.

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18:20 Dec-28-2014

I was going to buy Watchdogs because not only did the game mechanics look good, but it was a game that looked beautiful, and I relished in the thought of the combination.
Then it was released.
Glad it's not in my library.

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12:19 Dec-28-2014

As long as it's skins or currency, or anything you can earn in-game, I'm fine with pre-order bonuses, but if it's something that will seriously impact your performance, it should be earned, not bought.

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12:06 Dec-28-2014

I haven't pre-ordered a game in a while (BF3 was the last one I think). If MGS V: Phantom Pain comes up available to pre-order on PC though, I will not hesitate twice, because we've had Ground Zeroes, and we know it's going to be amazing.
I'll also pre-order The Witcher 3. The developers haven't given me a reason to distrust them. Not like some bigger, sleazy companies.

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12:42 Dec-28-2014

Fully agree with you mate.

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