Up For Debate - Do Pre-Order Bonuses Kill The Hype For A Game

Written by Jon Sutton on Sat, Feb 27, 2016 4:00 PM
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Back when Creative Assembly first announced Total War: Warhammer it would be fair to say it sent the beardy masses into hype overdrive. After all, why not? It was the amalgamation of two of the most beloved strategy franchises in existence. A marriage of tabletop and virtual battlefields. Where fantasy became reality.

And then the Chaos happened. One of the most popular races in all of Warhammer Fantasy, Creative Assembly, cajoled no doubt by SEGA, took the unenviable decision of announcing Chaos would only be available in the base game to those who pre-ordered a copy of Total War: Warhammer. It was a bartering chip in a game of Russian roulette, and in the months after it has felt like Creative Assembly pulled the trigger on its own head.

Take a cursory glance at the last few Total War games and they have been iterative, one and all. Total War: Warhammer is without doubt the largest leap forward the series has ever taken. Rid of the shackles of history, Creative Assembly has been given its best opportunity to stretch its legs yet. Underneath the ever watchful eye of Games Workshop, of course.

It’s a massive undertaking, and it’s got all the hallmarks of a truly brilliant real-time strategy outing, but all this is at risk for something as simple as pre-order bonuses. You don’t need to be a market analyst to see there’s plenty of pissed off people, pitchforks at the ready, miffed that they’re being forced to pre-order a copy of Total War: Warhammer in order to get access to what many perceive to be the most sought after race. I’ve read countless comments from people who’ve cancelled their pre-order, there's a petition dubbed Total Fail with 15,000 sigs, and it doesn’t help when Creative Assembly try to spin it as if they’re doing gamers a favour. This is a £50 game that by default only comes with four playable races, in comparison to Total War: Attila which had 10 playable factions.

This isn’t just to take a stab at Creative Assembly or SEGA either; this is just one game of hundreds driven by pre-order bonuses that seem to often turn as many people on as off. I remember taking one look at the litany of pre-order bonuses included with Evolve and I felt a migraine coming along. And, uh, well I guess we all know that particular saga turned out.

My point being the endless barrage of pre-order bonuses seems to have a cooling effect on hype. I just want the game. The finished article, whole and complete. I don’t want to be forced to put down my money without even knowing whether a game is good or not. I’m not willing to throw away £50 on a whim. Now I’m pretty sure Total War: Warhammer will be great, but I had serious doubts about Evolve, and if I’d pre-ordered that I’d have felt ripped of.

What do you think, do the incessant pre-order bonuses for today’s games actually kill your hype? Or do you actively encourage you to lay down your cash ahead of launch?

Do pre-order bonuses kill hype?

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12:37 Feb-28-2016

I don't know why these hype trains exist, ill be excited a new games coming out sometimes but I don't board the hype train or people tell me OMG OMG THE NEXT BF OR COD OR ASSASISNS CREEDS COMING OUT OR remember this? OMG THERES THIS AWESOME GAME CALLED EVOLVE COMING OUT EVERYONE BOARDS THE TRAIN CHOO CHOO or watch dogs the list continues then they talk about it for months on end then buy it on release date then say its broken or its boring its like well that's why you don't board those trains. Whenenever someone tries to get me to the board the hype train I'm like no I don't care lol ill wait reviews then a steam sale ;) ill wait as long as it takes I'm very patient when it comes to games.

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14:51 Feb-28-2016

Me waiting for steam sales : God give me strenght :D

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18:23 Feb-28-2016

BF coming out hype
New BF coming out oh cool! "hype"
New BF coming out cool
New BF coming out eh will see, might try it out
New BF coming out again?
New BF coming out really?!


BF is just a given example here, nothing for or against BF.

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10:51 Feb-29-2016

with the way CA games are going , there is nothing wrong with waiting for a offer on their games, doesn't take that long for them to be on sale

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09:16 Feb-28-2016

Less Hype = Less Disappointment if the game would be bad.

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07:30 Feb-28-2016

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa xD

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07:34 Feb-28-2016

this is my reaction for preordering after BAK. But if you like any game before it's out and the dlc they announce you like, if you have the money and you want it, why don't you preoder?

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05:11 Feb-28-2016

Pre-Order itself should die.

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03:56 Feb-28-2016

Well Generally all the Pre-Order Bonus at some point comes as a DLC so it comes down to whether you want to take a risk by pre-ordering or do you want to play it safe and end up having to pay more for the DLC (if you like it)

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23:54 Feb-27-2016

Pre-order bonuses are killing the whole gaming industry,not just a hype for specific game

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22:02 Feb-27-2016

One could argue, is it really a bonus?
You pay the set price for the game with the "bonus" as a pre-order.


Once the game is out, the bonus content is sold as a seperate dlc package - but the price of the game drops. Eventually, those buying the dlc package with the game at a later stage, just pay the same price.

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21:39 Feb-27-2016

what really kills my hype in not the pre-order bonus but the feeling that a certain game might be starved of content because of all the DLC (including pre-orders) plans announced before the game is even released.

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21:36 Feb-27-2016

When it is some cosmetic behind pre order I don't mind, I ignore it but when they lock CONTENT behind pre orders...I go mad

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20:31 Feb-27-2016

They're only pre-order bonuses at first.
They always become dlc everyone can get later for a few extra drakes.
Basically what they're saying is not: "only people who pre-order the game will ever be able to get this dlc".
What they're saying is: "Everyone who pre-orders the game gets this dlc for free".
(Whether or not the the "dlc" should have been included in the base game I will leave to debated.)
My point is, I don't know of a single pre-order dlc that hadn't been made available later to all gamers, so what is the hate really about?
People who really want to play the game when it comes out, pre-order.
People who can wait a while get the game in its GOTY version or on a sale, all DLC included.
As far as the hype goes, I voted no, following this train of thought.
If you care enough about a game you're not going to be any less hyped because of marketing tactics like these.

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20:20 Feb-27-2016

BIG time...

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19:44 Feb-27-2016

I used to think that but after actually playing some of them the only ones that really have ever held any weight are Black ops nuketown bonus maps, it's a fun map to play so I don't mind dropping a preorder a week before to preload

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19:23 Feb-27-2016

Pretty much everyone hates pre-order bonuses at this point.

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19:06 Feb-27-2016

For me PERSONALLY, these "open alpha" stages kill the hype more than the above. Plus the sometimes (very) early announcement and the huge empty space inbetween.


I don't want to hear about some game coming out in here and 1.5 - 2y. By the time, I'm already hyped for another game - with or without pre-order bonus.

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18:57 Feb-27-2016

I was really excited about this game but after finding out this is not gonna support mods, this game is just gonna be DLC after DLC and most of it will probably be paid. In the UK it is £49.99 on steam for the base game which gets you four factions (Vampires, Green Skins, Dwarfs and Empire). All that killed my buzz for the game so skipping this I think until they at least add modding.

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20:12 Feb-27-2016

This debate is about PRE-ORDERS not about mod support.

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18:33 Feb-27-2016

Pre-order bonuses mean the Developers doesn't stand behind it's own product.


If they need to give bonuses to people for them to pre-order you product that's lack of confidence, even pre-orders themselfs are. Since they will get money upfront, before reviews may point out the game is bad...

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18:25 Feb-27-2016

I'd say it kills the reputation in eyes of gamers,
pre-order bonuses are like saying "fck you you ain't getting what we made unless you pay extra money", which isn't that bad actually IF those bonuses are something of additional value but not really important in the game, something primarily made for enthusiasts - but it's bad when they release the game with shtload of bugs because at that moment you realize they wasted effort of that bonus content without finishing development of the actual fcking base game :P

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18:39 Feb-27-2016

oh and I voted "I ignore them" because I ignore any&all preorders :|

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18:22 Feb-27-2016

If they affect gameplay in any way then yes.

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17:27 Feb-27-2016

"So if you opt.to pay us early you will get these awesome shiny things, but if you are 1 week late to the party..... No shiny things for you. But please buy the DLC season pass ASAP, Only £50 for 2 new outfits and maps!!"


You tell me that doesn't kill the hype... Please.

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17:03 Feb-27-2016

Yes, it kills the hype for me. Putting pre-order bonuses in a game is another way of saying "We don't care if you enjoy our game or not, we only want your money.". This mentality is reason of almost everything wrong with gaming industry.

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