Up For Debate - Is Pre-Order Culture Dying A Slow Death

Written by Jon Sutton on Sun, Dec 11, 2016 4:00 PM
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Bethesda well and truly upset the apple cart a month or so ago when it said its new policy would be to withhold review codes until the day before a game’s launch. Only a select few hand-picked ‘tastemakers’ would be able to get hands on with the game before then. We first really saw this practice in action with Dishonored 2. Early sales figures suggest Dishonored 2 sales are down 38% on the original Dishonored. Could Bethesda’s new approach have backfired?

It’s certainly not because Dishonored 2 is a bad game. In fact, it’s one of the most highly rated of the year, pulling in an average score of 89%. We also need to factor in that sequels typically sell heaps more copies than the original. Brand awareness is much higher and the game is on everyone’s lips.

Now, the sales figures could be wrong. They only take into account physical copies sold, and console players may increasingly be buying their games digitally. SteamSpy doesn’t look too hot either there. There are an estimated 228,371 owners of Dishonored 2. That’s hardly setting the world on fire considering the original has amassed 2.8 million. It’s had a few years to do that sure, but it’s a base of nearly 3 million players which surely have a vested interest in the sequel.

When it comes to PC the finger of blame can be pointed at the myriad performance issues. On consoles, less so. Could gamers instead have been taking a wait and see approach for the reviews? Will interest pick up now the reviews are out there? Or did Dishonored 2 miss out on the all important launch day hype? I know myself I was hugely interested in the game. Without any prior knowledge of whether it was any good though I didn’t want to lay any cash down. Now that it’s been a few days however my hyped has cooled and I’m more inclined to wait until a sale.

Whatever the case, we could be seeing a cooling off of pre-order culture. After all, if every publisher did what Bethesda is doing we’d have no idea how good any game was until days after it launched. Would you really pre-order stuff in a situation like that? If everyone decided to abandon pre-orders the decision Bethesda made would really come back to bite it. If you’re confident in your product I see no reason why you wouldn’t let me people know about it before they part with cash.

So what do you think then, will holding back reviews potentially kill off pre-order culture? Or will the AAA hype machine trundle on regardless?

Do you pre-order games?

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09:19 Dec-15-2016

Developers should at least provide a demo before giving us a pre-order package.

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02:39 Dec-14-2016

It is, AND YES IT DESERVED TO DIE!!!

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20:43 Dec-12-2016

There used to be a purpose to preordering. If you wanted to get a game you'd go to your local games retailer. If you wanted to get your hands on the latest game on launch day without risking them to be out of stock, you'd reserve the game in advance or "pre-order". With the advent of digital distribution, preorders are a thing of the past. Preordering games digitally is an oxymoron.

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17:43 Dec-12-2016

I don't see pre-orders going down in a major way anytime soon with this insane hype culture we have going on right now. Places like IGN are now nothing more than hype machines for AAA games, whether they're good or not. Most gamers don't have the time, want, or care to stop pre-ordering games when all you see is stuff like "10 reasons you should be excited for blank" every other day by these "game journalist". It may be down, but nowhere near gone.

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14:25 Dec-12-2016

Last pre-order i did was Witcher 3 Collector's on PC,then again, did that with Witcher 2 back in 2011.Also "Hearts of Stone" and "Blood & Wine" mostly because of the card decks.Other than that i'm waiting for reviews and/or gameplay on You Tube.

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13:46 Dec-12-2016

i will never preorder anything after that mafia 3 screw up

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12:29 Dec-12-2016

A lot less than I used to. Hardly ever now. Last game I was serious about pre-ordering was Witcher 3.

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04:47 Dec-12-2016

I usually post-order games by getting bundles, freebies, or hefty discounts. Some of the freebies I got were Battlefield 1942, Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2, DiRT 3, Dragon Age: Origins, Left 4 Dead 2, Mafia II, Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, The Sims 2, and X-COM: Enemy Unknown

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04:42 Dec-12-2016

One Word


Reviews

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02:56 Dec-12-2016

Pre order has been kind of common (also important for some) with youtuber and game reviewer which they can get their hand first with the latest games and it won't go away anytime soon. But, pre ordering not as good as getting the game as release date, when we know how is the game running, so we can wisely buy.

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01:40 Dec-12-2016

I don't think the issue lays with pre-orders but with lazy unmotivated careless developers. Pre-orders seem to boost this culture which obviously makes it being pretty bad.No microtransactions, no Denuvo, No Pre Oders, customers happyness++

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01:32 Dec-12-2016

You do realize that low preorder sales in todays industry means less dev/publisher confidence in their product, which means they will spend less money on its production. I can promise that if Dishonored 2 had 0 preorders it'd be canceled.

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01:39 Dec-12-2016

I only say to this shine light on the good side of preorders. NEVER PREORDER EVER! is to general a statement to be applied to every situation. The key is moderation.Only preorder from devs you trust.

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12:28 Dec-12-2016

If the developers and publisers have no confidence in their own games, then why should we?
You need to be confident in the product you make every step of the way, and not only when it comes to selling it before its even released.

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01:07 Dec-12-2016

As what Eric Cartman would say it "Do you know what you get for pre-ordering a game? A Big Dick in your mouth." This is the line that should sink on every gamer

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18:48 Dec-12-2016

Loved that episode :D

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00:42 Dec-12-2016

Hate pre-ordering,dont wanna do it,never gonna do it except any TES game.


I am sorry but it is my GOD game so i will pre-order every other TES game when they are avaliable(and i will get my annual permit for it.)


Why? Because respect my dude...

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00:43 Dec-12-2016

You say ''no'' to that Mythology!

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00:22 Dec-12-2016

I'm for no release date being made until the game has gone gold. That way pre-orders won't effect the decision of a game being released too early. Developers don't need a public release date to hurry the product along and disappointing...

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00:25 Dec-12-2016

pre-order patrons of a set back and everyone with bugs, poor optimization, and/or frame rate issues.

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23:50 Dec-11-2016

Pre-ordered (the prefix "pre" adds nothing to this, by the way...) Wolfenstein TNO, DOOM, HITMAN, GTA V, Mafia III - no regrets so far (apart from the initial Mafia III 30fps fiasco). Otherwise I don't bother.

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22:54 Dec-11-2016

Only do it if I REALLY want the toy in a collector 's edition.

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13:44 Dec-12-2016

Not gonna lie, I pre ordered the Last Guardian just for the Trico staue, and I love this statue to death lol:D For the toys yes, but everything else hell no O_O

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22:51 Dec-11-2016

very rarely will I preorder. recently its been doom and fo4. before that the last game I preordered was portal 2 for xbox 360. haven't regretted it but I know I wont be talked into it or out of it by anyone.

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22:19 Dec-11-2016

the last games I pre ordered was Armored Core Verdict Day (PS3) and No Man's Sky, I absolutely love the games, if FromSoftware announced they will be releasing a new game in the series or the entire series on PC, I will pre order it, I do not care if it is a digital download, I will do so

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22:20 Dec-11-2016

FromSoft's DSIII is broken

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22:25 Dec-11-2016

I care about the Armored Core series far more, I cannot exaggerate this, it is responsible for making me the man I am today

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22:11 Dec-11-2016

I don't even buy guys on day 1 anymore, let alone pre-order, I make it a point not to give anybody my hard earned money until I see the product myself.

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